VIEW-15338.0 | Harrison Stephens' house and orchard, Dorchester Street, Montreal, QC, 1850-60

Harrison Stephens' house and orchard, Dorchester Street, Montreal, QC, 1850-60
Anonyme - Anonymous
Copied in 1915, 20th century
Silver salts on glass ? - Gelatin dry plate process
12 x 17 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

The Victorian home was a haven from the chaotic public world of politics and business. Houses were given names that suggested a retreat, such as Homestead. Women who could afford to do so created a series of barriers that separated the cosy domestic interior from the harsh public world. Ideally, a house was set back from the street by a garden or lawn. Front steps led to a veranda; the door opened onto an entrance hall. Only carefully screened members of the public were admitted to the parlour to meet with the family. Inside, soft furnishings created a nest. Doorways were hung with portières, windows with heavy drapes; plush fabrics, patterned wallpapers and elaborate furnishings cocooned the inhabitants.

  • What

    This Italianate house was built of local limestone. Homestead was the first Montreal house to have a smoking room--a masculine retreat from feminine domesticity.

  • Where

    In the midcentury, Dorchester Avenue (now René Lévesque Boulevard) was the most prestigious of addresses for the merchant princes of Montreal.

  • When

    The house was built in the late 1850s and torn down in 1929 to make way for Canadian National Railway developments.

  • Who

    American-born Harrison Stephens built Homestead. Stephens was a wealthy tobacco and tea importer who was able to retire at the age of 40.