Lamb House

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McLean Street

Lamb House is an attractive single storey wood frame house built in 1937 located on the east side of McLean Street in North Quesnel, BC. The historic place includes the building and the parcel of land it occupies.

Heritage Value
Lamb House is located in North Quesnel which is an older residential neighbourhood in the city. While not in its original form, the house is a physical reminder of the people who shaped the development of Quesnel. The house was built by local contractor A. P. Anderson.

The house is named for Horace and Iris Lamb. Horace was encouraged to come to Quesnel by his cousin Bert Allcock who was employed by the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. After the completion of the railway line in 1921, Quesnel experienced rapid growth and there were plenty of employment opportunities. Horace arrived in 1922 and soon began his career in the construction industry. In 1945, Horace and Iris Lamb sold the house to their next door neighbours, John and Nina Cowan.

John and Nina Cowan came to Quesnel from Ontario to purchase the Reid Estate holdings company from John’s Aunt. John became known locally as ‘Jack’. When he bought the James Reid Estate General Merchants business, he renamed it Cowan Supply Company. Unfortunately, his business was one of the eight buildings on Front Street that was destroyed in the fire of 1916. Luckily, most of Jack’s stock was saved during the fire. He moved his business to an empty store down the street. In 1923, this building also caught fire when a bucket of tar being heated on the stove exploded.

Jack had a brick building constructed on the old Cowan Supply Company property. Jack installed a light and water plant in his new store. Jack then made a business arrangement with the other merchants in town where he would sell hardware items only if the other stores sold everything but hardware products. Once the other merchants agreed to Jack’s proposal, he renamed his store Cowan Hardware. Besides being a successful business owner, Jack was an undertaker and in the winter he used a homemade plough to clear the snow from the streets as a community service. When Jack retired he sold the hardware store to Dave Smith who then changed the store name to D. H. Smith Hardware.

Later, Jack and Nina Cowan sold this house to Elizabeth Beath and Anne Ewing. Elizabeth and Anne were the daughters of pioneers, Thomas and Margaret Douglas who came to Quesnel from Ontario to raise cattle. Anne married Ernie Ewing who was the son of pioneers, William and Charlotte Ewing who owned the Quesnel Hotel. Ernie spent all of his life in Quesnel with the exception of attending trade school and serving for four years in the army. He was a machinist, electrician, and mechanic who worked for the Department of Highways. He was an avid hockey player, volunteer firefighter, and legion member. Anne and Ernie had two daughters. Ernie died in 1970. The Beath and Ewing families are recognized for their contribution to the development of the community with streets named in their honour.

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of Lamb House include:

  • a shared style, form, proportion, and siting with its neighbouring dwellings;
  • a single storey wood framed building with central entrance;
  • an attic space with a small square window on the facade under the bracketed eaves in the peak of the gable roof;
  • a sympathetic addition was made to the rear of the house in 1962;
  • a brick chimney;
  • a symmetrical façade;
  • double sash windows on façade.