Browne, George Creeford

BROWNE, George Creeford (1852-1919) was a successful architect in Winnipeg, Manitoba from 1882 until 1904. Born in Montreal on 3 May 1852, he was the youngest son of the eminent architect George Browne, and was educated there at the Montreal High School before entering his father's office to work as an apprentice. Unlike his brother John James Browne, who chose to remain in Montreal in the employ of his father, George C. Browne moved to New York City in 1870 and joined the office of Russell Sturgis (1836-1909), who at this time was completing designs for Farnham Hall, his High Victorian Gothic masterpiece at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. In 1873 Browne departed for Europe and studied the different styles of architecture in England, Ireland, France, Italy and Switzerland. He enrolled briefly at the South Kensington School of Art in London, and is said to have been awarded prizes at the International Competition for the class of design. In June 1877 he returned to Montreal to practice there for two years, and in 1879 moved to the Tiger Hills district near Holland, Manitoba to farm a 320 acre homestead. His career as pioneer farmer may not have offered the rewards he had expected and in December 1881 he moved to Winnipeg to resume his architectural practice. He married Louisa A. Nicolls in 1883, and in 1907 he petitioned the Manitoba government to change his name to George Creeford Browne (Manitoba, Statutes of Manitoba, 1907, Chapter 51, 11). Browne was a prolific designer who had a substantial impact on the architectural face of Winnipeg and on several towns in Manitoba. He competently handled commissions for institutional, civic, ecclesiastical and residential buildings, and produced schemes for retail stores, banks, factories and schools. Unlike the ornate and occasionally flamboyant quality of work produced by his Winnipeg rival Charles A. Barber, or the robust and forceful designs executed in stone by Charles H. Wheeler, Browne most often employed brick in his symmetrical compositions; his works such as the Massey Harris Warehouse, 1885, or Strevel Terrace, 1889-90, and the YMCA Building of 1898-1900 can be recognized by their absence of applied decoration and by the projecting horizontal band courses of brick that surround his buildings. His most distinctive and accomplished design is that of Wesley College, 1894, executed in collaboration with S. Frank Peters, a commission which he boasted '....showed a greater advance in architecture than had any building yet erected in Manitoba... and which could be viewed with pleasure from any side, having avoided the common error of making the building Queen Anne in front and Mary Ann behind' (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 30 Nov. 1894, 4; C.A.B., vii, 1894, 152). In his early career he had expressed a disdain for architectural competitions, and when invited by the provincial government to submit plans for the Manitoba Home for Incurables in 1889 he refused, ' I have decided to prepare plans only for work entrusted to my care without competition, unless I am paid the usual commission whether my plans are accepted or not' (MPA, RG 18, A2, Correspondence). By 1893, however, he had changed his mind and submitted competitive plans for the new Court House at Winnipeg, but his design was passed over in favour of one by Charles H. Wheeler (C.R., iii, 4 Feb. 1893, l). This loss did not deter him, for just four months later he was again competing for the commission for Wesley College, Winnipeg, and his design was selected ahead of the scheme proposed by his rivals Barber & Barber (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 13 July 1893, 6). He retired from active practice in 1904 and took up residence at 'Brownleigh', his estate on the Hudson River at South Nyack, N.Y. (C.A.B., xvii, May 1904, 85). He died there on 12 March 1919 (obituary in New York Times, 13 March 1919, 3; Gazette [Montreal], 15 March, 1919, 3; biography and portrait in C.A.B., x, Jan 1897, 4; W. Cochrane, Canadian Album: Men of Canada, 1893, iii, 222; biography in G. Bryce, History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People, 1906, 483-84; H. Morgan, Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 1912, 158; inf. R. Rostecki, F. Thompson, Winnipeg).


Commercial & Industrial Works

MASSEY WAREHOUSE, William Avenue at Princess Street, 1885 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg] 18 April 1885, 4, descrip.)
MILLER, MORSE BLOCK, Princess Street, 1887, with addition 1892 (Winnipeg Sun, 21 July 1887, 4; Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Oct. 1892, 3, descrip.)
CITY MARKET BUILDING, Market Square, 1889 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 21 May 1889, 4; C.A.B., ii, May 1889, 56; ix, Jan. 1896, illus.)
PRINCESS STREET at Markham Street, warehouse for H.S. Wesbrooke, 1892 (C.R., ii, 30 Jan 1892, 2)
McGREGOR BLOCK, Princess Street at Jemima Street, 1892 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 12 May 1892, 8)
HOLLAND BLOCK, Princess Street, 1892 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 3 Aug. 1892, 5, t.c.)
HART DAVIES BLOCK, Market Street at Princess Street, 1892; demol. c. 1964 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg] 8 Oct. 1892, 3, descrip.)
HUDSON BAY COMPANY WAREHOUSE, York Avenue, extension 1893, with addition 1895 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 18 Sept. 1893, 8; drawings at MPA, 543/1, fos. 14-20; C.R., vi, 18 July 1895, 2)
MERRICK, ANDERSON & CO. WAREHOUSE, Market Street East, 1895 (C.R., v, 31 Jan. 1895, 1)
JOHN DYKE BLOCK, Main Street at Graham Avenue, 1896 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 11 June 1896, 6, descrip.)
TRUST & LOAN CO. BLOCK, Portage Avenue at Fort Street, 1898; demol. (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 20 May 1898, 7, descrip. & illus.)
MANITOBA TRUST CO. BUILDING, Main Street at Pioneer Street, 1899-1900, in collaboration with George W. Gouinlock; demol. 1974 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 27 Jan. 1899, 2, t.c.; Winnipeg Telegram, 14 August 1900)
GAULT BROS. BLOCK, Arthur Street at Bannatyne Avenue, 1899-1900 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 20 July 1899, 2, t.c.; Leonard K. Eaton, Gateway Cities & Other Essays, 1989, 96-7, illus.)
HUDSON BAY CO., Main Street, addition to retail store, 1899; demol. 1932 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 12 July 1899, 3)
STRATHCONA BLOCK, Main Street, 1902-3; burned 1976 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 22 Feb. 1902, 1, illus.; C.A.B., xv, Oct. 1902, 128; xvi, May 1903, 81, descrip.)
FORMAN BLOCK, Fort Street, 1903 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg] 14 Nov. 1903, 18, illus.)
AMERICAN-ABELL ENGINE & THRESHER CO., Dufferin Avenue at Sinclair Street, office and warehouse, 1903 (C.R., xiv, 25 Feb 1903, 3)
OSBORNE STREET, stores and apartments for J.S. Atkins and George A. Muttlebury , 1905 (C.R., xvi, 24 May 1905, 6)
MORRIS BLOCK, Main Street, additions and alterations, 1906 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 6 Dec. 1906, 38)

Institutional & Ecclesiastical Works

ST. GEORGE'S CHURCH, William Avenue at Lydia Street, 1884 (Canadian Church Magazine and Mission News, ix, June 1895, 121-22, descrip. & illus.)
CHRISTIAN WOMEN'S UNION HOME, McMicken Street, 1890 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 17 July 1890, 8, t.c.)
CHRIST CHURCH, Princess Street, a new Sunday School, 1890 (Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 9 Oct. 1890, 4)
WOMEN'S INDUSTRIAL HOME, McDermot Avenue at Lydia Street, 1891 (Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 12 March 1891, 2)
FIRST GERMAN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, Fountain Street at Henry Avenue, 1891 (Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 10 Aug. 1891, 4, descrip.; Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 3 Dec. 1891, 5, descrip.)
GRACE METHODIST CHURCH, Ellice Avenue, a new parsonage, 1892 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Oct. 1892, 6, descrip.)
NORTH CENTRAL SCHOOL (later Norquay School), Euclid Avenue at Lusted Street, 1892; demol. 1956 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Oct. 1892, 3, descrip. & illus.)
MANITOBA COLLEGE, Ellice Avenue, addition of classrooms, gallery, gymnasia, and meeting rooms, 1892-93; demol. c. 1962 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Oct. 1892, 3, descrip.)
MULVEY SCHOOL, Boundary Street, 1893-94; burned 1895 and rebuilt 1895-96; demol. (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 16 March 1893, 5, descrip.; City of Winnipeg b.p. #890, 1895)
WINNIPEG CANOE CLUB, at Norwood, Man., 1893; demol. (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 18 April 1893, 8, t.c.)
ST GEORGE'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, Bannatyne Avenue at Isabel Street, 1893-94 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 14 June 1893, 6)
ABERDEEN SCHOOL, Flora Avenue, 1893-94; demol. (City of Winnipeg b.p. 495, 1893)
WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Notre Dame Avenue at Charlotte Street, 1893-94; demol. (J.D. Sinclair, Westminster Church Silver Jubilee Souvenir, 1937, 10, 12, 39, illus.)
WESLEY HALL (now part of the University of Winnipeg), Portage Avenue, 1894-95, with S. Frank Peters (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 13 July 1893, 6; 30 Nov. 1894, 4)
MASONIC TEMPLE, Donald Street at Ellice Avenue, 1895 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 20 Dec. 1895, 1, descrip.)
YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION, Portage Avenue at Donald Street, 1898; altered 1914 by Percy Nobbs (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 12 August 1898, 6, descrip. & illus.; Winnipeg, 1991-The Year Past, 1993, 43-6, illus.)
MANITOBA CLUB, Garry Street, addition and alterations, 1899 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 28 June 1899, 2, t.c.)
UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA, Science Building, 1899-1900 (C.R., x, 4 Oct. 1899, 3)

Residential Works

MAYFAIR AVENUE, residence for T.J. McBride, 1887 (Winnipeg Sun, 21 July 1887, 4)
EDMONTON STREET at Ellice Avenue, residence for R. A. Harvey, 1887 (Winnipeg Sun, 21 July 1887, 4)
DONALD STREET, residence for John C. Gordon, 1888; demol. 1920 (Winnipeg Sun, 12 Oct 1888)
MAYFAIR AVENUE, residence for R. H. Agur, 1889 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 28 Feb. 1889, 4, t.c.)
ASSINIBOINE AVENUE, residence for R. H. Bryce, 1889 (Winnipeg Sun, 8 April 1889, 7, t.c.)
CLEMENTS TERRACE, Carlton Street, for George Clement, 1890 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Feb. 1890, 8, t.c.)
STREVEL'S TERRACE, Donald Street, a terrace of houses for George H. Strevel, 1890 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 4 April 1890, 6; C.A.B., xii, May 1899, illus.)
GRAHAM AVENUE at Donald Street, residence for George Strevel, alterations and additions, 1890 (C. Cameron & J. Wright, Second Empire Style in Canadian Architecture, 1980, 216-17, illus.)
DONALD STREET, residence for Hugh J. MacDonald, 1890 (Winnipeg Tribune Souvenir, 1891)
DONALD STREET at St. Mary's street, residence for G.T. Orton, 1891; demol. 1945 (City of Winnipeg b.p. 21 May 1891)
KENNEDY STREET, residence for A. Wickson, 1892; demol. (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Oct. 1892, 6, descrip.)
MAYFAIR AVENUE, residence for Thomas Young, 1892 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Oct. 1892, 6)
HARGRAVE STREET, residence for W.H. Dingle, 1892 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 8 Oct. 1892, 6)
COLONY STREET, residence for W.J. Watson, 1893; demol. (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 16 Feb. 1893, 6)
COLONY STREET, residence for Rev. A.B. Baird, 1893 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 16 Feb. 1893, 6)
COOPER AVENUE at Colony Street, residence for William Clark, 1893 (C.R., iv, 20 April 1893, 2)
KENNEDY STREET, at Broadway, a pair of houses for Mrs. Clark, 1894 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 3 Nov. 1894, 1)
COLONY STREET, residence for William Blackwood, 1896; demol. 1937 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg] 11 June 1896, 6, descrip.)
EDMONTON STREET, residence for W.H. Culver, 1896; demol. c. 1960 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg] 11 June 1896, 6, descrip.)
EDMONTON STREET, residence for Harry Belcher, 1900 (City of Winnipeg b.p. 146, 1900; L. Maitland, Queen Anne Revival Style in Canadian Architecture, 1990, 153, illus.)
ASSINIBOINE AVENUE, residence for J. Somerset Aikins, 1900; demol. (City of Winnipeg b.p. 147, 1900)
DONALD STREET, residence for Dr. S.W. Prowse, 1900 (C.R., xi, 23 May 1900, 2)
NASSAU STREET, residence for W.E. Robinson, 1903 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 25 April 1903, 8)
BROADWAY, pair of houses for Fred Stobart, 1903 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 25 April 1903, 8)
STRADBROOKE PLACE, residence for T. Seaton Ewart, 1903 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 30 May 1903, 3)
ASSINIBOINE AVENUE, residence for Louis Verhoeven, 1903 (C.R., xiv, 9 Sept. 1903, 2)
EDMONTON STREET, residence for W. Sanford Evans, 1904 (C.A.B., xvii, Oct. 1904, illus.)
WELLINGTON CRESCENT, residence for Capt. Scarrell A. Cape, 1905 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg] 30 Oct. 1905, 28, descrip.)
HARVARD AVENUE, residence for Prof. Frank Allen, 1905 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 30 Oct. 1905, 28)


MORDEN, MAN., Registry Office, 1887 (Morning Call [Winnipeg], 30 Sept. 1887, 4, t.c.)
MANITOBA, at several locations, Bonanza Farm buildings for Sir John Lyster Kaye, 1888 (Manitoba Sun [Winnipeg], 3 Aug. 1888, 4, t.c.)
KEEWATIN, ONT., housing for mill workers of the Lake of the Woods Milling Co., 1888 (inf. Ms. J. Mather)
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MAN., Imperial Bank, 1890 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 16 April 1890, 8; 15 Aug 1893, 8)
MANITOU, MAN, Hudson Bay Co. Store, 1890 (Manitou Mercury, 23 Aug. 1890, 3)
FORT WILLIAM, ONT., Hudson Bay Co. Store, 1891 (Journal [Fort William], 31 Jan. 1891, l, descrip.)
EDMONTON, ALTA., Hudson Bay Co. Store, Jasper Avenue West at Third Avenue; 1892 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 31 Aug. 1892, 8)
KEEWATIN, ONT., 'Erin Castle', residence for R.J. Whitla on Coney Island, 1893; demol. c. 1910 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 6 May 1893, 6)
KEEWATIN, ONT., 'Lone Pine Lodge', residence for D.K. Elliott on Coney Island, 1893 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 6 May 1893, 6)
KEEWATIN, ONT., addition to the Hudson Bay Co. Store, 1893 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 6 May 1893, 6)
GRENFELL, SASK., Skrine Block for Osmund P. Skrine, 1893 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 10 July 1893, 8)
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MAN., Newman Block, 1893 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 12 July 1893, 6)
VANCOUVER, B.C., Hudson Bay Co. warehouse, 1893 (Winnipeg Tribune, 25 Sept. 1893, 8)
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MAN., the East Ward, North Ward and West Ward Schools, 1894 (C.A.B., vii, May 1894, 66; ix, May 1896, illus.)
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MAN., Court House and addition to the Jail, Duke Avenue, 1894-95 (C.A.B., vii,, April 1894, 55, descrip.; xi, Jan. 1898, illus.; M. Carter, Early Canadian Court Houses, 1983, 146, 224, illus.)
KENORA, ONT., Court House, 1894 (C.R., v, 12 April 1894, 2)
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MAN., Hudson Bay Co. Store, Saskatchewan Avenue, 1895 (Manitoba, Early Architecture of Portage la Prairie, 1983, illus.)
MOOSE MOUNTAIN, SASK., residence for the Presbyterian Mission, White Bear Reserve, 1896 (Winnipeg Tribune, 4 May 1896, 8)
MINNEDOSA, MAN., schoolhouse, 1897 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 17 July 1897, 5, t.c.)
NEEPAWA, MAN., Union Bank, 1898 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 22 Aug. 1898, 5, t.c.)
CARBERRY, MAN., Union Bank, 1901 (C.R., xii, 15 May 1901, 3)
HAMIOTA, MAN., Union Bank, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 4 June 1902, 2)
GRETNA, MAN., Union Bank, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 20 Aug. 1902, 2)
ARCOLA, SASK., Union Bank, 1902-03 (C.R., xiii, 8 Oct. 1902, 2)
HOLLAND, MAN., Union Bank, 1903 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 25 April 1903, 8; C.R., xiv, 6 May 1903, 4)
INDIAN HEAD, SASK., Union Bank, 1903 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 30 May 1903, 3)
YORKTON, SASK., Union Bank, 1903 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 30 May 1903, 3)
MINNEDOSA, MAN., St. Mark's Anglican Church, 1904 (Canadian Churchman [Toronto], 1 Dec. 1904, 729-30, descrip.)