Shillinglaw House Heritage Site
Shillinglaw House, built in 1882. Source: Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005.
Shillinglaw House was associated for more than 75 years with one of Brandon’s most influential early citizens, Walter Shillinglaw.
As an architect and city engineer (1896 to 1909), Shillinglaw was instrumental in shaping Brandon’s physical development during the community’s first half century.
His portfolio encompassed projects such as Villa Louise, St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church and the Federal Building, among many other residential, commercial and institutional buildings throughout southwestern Manitoba.
The structure was built by James Shillinglaw and his son Walter in the summer of 1882 at a cost of $3,500.
During 1906, Walter added a north wing to the house which included a large exterior chimney, a main floor library, and a second floor sitting room.
This house was made in the prevalent Italianate style, with a low-pitched roof, triangular window caps, bay windows, and a small two-storey porch in the “ell” formed by the joining of the front parlour wing to the main body of the house.
The structure is of wood frame construction and was the first home in Brandon to use a stone foundation.
It is one of the oldest surviving structures among the early houses of Brandon.
Stained glass windows and oak woodwork, stairs, and door casings are just a few of the interior elements still intact inside the building.
Born near Stratford, Ontario on 29 September 1864, Walter was educated in Missouri before moving with his parents to Brandon in 1882.
He attended the School of Science in Toronto.
His father was a builder, and together they erected their home in the east end of Brandon where he lived all his life.
From 1906 to 1910, Walter was civic engineer for the City of Brandon and designed the First and Eighteenth Street bridges.
Returning to his private practice, he joined David Marshall in the architectural firm of Shillinglaw and Marshall.
[The firm] was responsible for the design of many important buildings in Brandon, including the Exhibition Building for the 1913 Dominion Fair and Maley House (1912).
After military service in the First World War, Walter designed First Presbyterian Church (1928) and the Federal Building (1930).
He was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Brandon Curling Club.
Walter Shillinglaw ranks as Brandon’s most important early architect as well as its longest-lived practitioner.
He died on 20 November 1957, at the age of 93, and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery.
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