Penticton city council approves covenant to preserve Riordan House | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton city council approves covenant to preserve Riordan House

Penticton's historic Riordan House, at 689 Winnipeg Street.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Penticton
February 02, 2021 - 5:35 PM

Penticton city council approved a covenant to preserve the heritage aspects of Riordan House today.

Local historians Randy Manuel and Anna Hargrave provided council with an overview for a request for heritage protection of Riordan House today, Feb. 2. At the centre of a council discussion that followed was a recommendation from city staff for council to authorize the registration of a heritage covenant on the title of the heritage property at 689 Winnipeg St..

The covenant, city planner Blake Laven explained, would restrict use of the property, preventing demolition of the house and certain types of development. It would go on title and transfer with ownership, and would be up to the city to enforce.

Laven said there would be no financial impacts to the city.

Riordan House was constructed in 1920-21, built in the California craftsman/Tudor revival style of the era.

The property is currently listed on the City's Heritage Registry, a document which recognizes properties with historic and cultural significance.

Councillor Judy Sentes noted it was the property’s owners who were originally behind the staff recommendation for a covenant, calling the move “an opportunity for protection, coming at the request of the property owners.”

Council had no issues and approved the covenant.

Council also discussed heritage concerns at length in discussions surrounding Heritage and Museum Advisory Board Committee recommendations which included seeking a grant from Heritage B.C. to create a plan for a public education campaign on heritage matters.

Manuel’s presentation included a history of Riordan House, which revealed a number of interesting facts about the heritage property.

The building’s first owners were Dave and Alice Riordan.

Riordan owned the B.C. Hotel on Front Street and was known as an astute businessman, involved in church and charity and possibly a teetotaler, but he also had a reputation for allegedly being Penticton’s most notorious bootlegger. The house also served as a doctor’s residence and a tea house before being purchased by Donna and John Ortiz in 1991.

Architecturally, the house plan was traced to Los Angeles architect Henry Wilson, whose “Bungalow Book” shows a photo of a similar house in Los Angeles.

Riordan House is considered historically significant because it connects Penticton to many aspects of history.

The house was built in what was, at the time, Penticton’s own upscale ‘suburbia,’ away from the downtown and waterfront. It’s construction, which included amenities for an automobile, are reminders that the proliferation of single family homes during the early part of the 20th century was also related to an increase in personal automobile use.

The house was constructed by skilled tradespeople and has withstood the test of time, as much of the interior and exterior has remained in its original condition.

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