The thing I love about living in the West End is that once you walk in a block from the bustling Robson or Davie Streets the sound of cars and crowds turns into lawn mowers and birds chirping. Green grass grows in small corner parks like urban savannas while sunbathers find a level surface on which to stretch out and avoid the game of frisbee being played over their head. One of such metropolitan refuges is Barclay Heritage Square and one of its main features is Roedde House.
Roedde House at 1415 Barclay was built in 1893 for Vancouver’s first bookbinder, Gustav Roedde. In 1927 the house was sold by Gustav Roedde in 1927 to H.W. Jeffreys and it later became a boarding house called the ‘Oehlerking Rooms.’
The City of Vancouver bought the Gustav Roedde House [in 1966] and made it the centrepiece in what came to be called Barclay Heritage Square, bounded by Barclay, Nicola, Haro and Broughton Streets in the West End, and which features nine historic houses built between 1890 and 1908.
In 1990 the restored Roedde House Museum opened its doors for community events and tours. Having done many tours of Victoria during our girls weekends, I’ve become pretty familiar with the architects that formed our big coastal cities in BC, however I had no clue that there were murmurs that Francis Mawson Rattenbury built Roedde House. Rattenbury being the designer of the Vancouver Art Gallery (former Court House) and Victoria’s Parliament Buildings and Empress Hotel [VancouverHistory].
John and I have yet to make our way over to Roedde House for a tour (Tuesday to Friday, 2:00pm to 4:00pm), or even Sunday tea (served from 2:00pm to 4:00pm) but it’s definitely on our list of things to do. They also do group tours by appointment, lecture series, musical evenings special events, and you can book the entire house for a small dinner party at a per hour rate.