19. Sycamore House


178 Cambridge St. N. “The Sycamore”

A ‘Queen Ann’ style house characterized by multiple materials, bay windows, gable ends and a turret.  A crest inscribed “The Sycamore” embellishes the front facade.

The Sycamore Crest

The house was built in 1889[1] in the area once known as Mount Sherwood, by Herman Hayner, a carpenter/builder who lived there until 1900.[2] That the house has a name, is named after an American tree, has imported wood trim unique to Ottawa[3] and was left to the original owner’s nephew, an American architect[4], suggests that the nephew had a hand in the original design.

A one storey remnant of squared timber construction from the c1875 predecessor house supports the back of the 1889 house[5]. The ground floor brick cladding  is orangey-pink under the red paint. The second floor stucco was originally pink[6], and the wood trim was once painted in maroon and cream. The roof was originally cedar shingles[7]. The ‘Classical’ style double columned and pedimented front porch and also the carved symbols on the oak front door suggest a link with the Masonic order[8]:

front door window

front door window

The Vaughan family owned the house from 1905-46[9]. In 1954 the house was divided into three apartments. In 1982 the present owners converted the house back to a single family dwelling.

[1] Construction evidence, Fire Insurance maps and City Directories

[2] Ottawa City Directories

[3] Eric Cohen; architectural collector

[4] Ottawa City Directories

[5] Construction evidence

[6] Rear is still pink stucco

[7] Removed from under asphalt shingles 2004

[8] Masonic historian

[9] Ottawa City Directories


Story and Photos by David Seaborn


About westsideaction

Eric Darwin is a community activist involved in planning, transportation, streetscaping, and cycling issues in Ottawa, Canada.
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