Doherty House

A Celebration of Curves

The home of 63 Rochester Street is in the Victorian Italianate style with rare porch features that celebrate the curve form. The house was built twice by Michael Joseph Doherty. Once in 1896 and again in 1900 after being destroyed by the great fire in 1900. Doherty was a CPR railway engineer for some 52 years. He was born in Belleville 1862, and raised 6 children. He originally bought the vacant lot in 1896 for $400, which was part of the original holdings of John Rochester, a mayor of Ottawa in 1888. The house remained in the family until 1950. Like so many other railway employees, he lived in Rochesterville (which extended from Lorne Avenue west to Hintonburg) because the Broad Street Station (which closed in 1918) was only a block away. Mr Doherty’s record was widely known in railway circles, including the Brotherhood of Engineers. He participated in the wheat rush in Schrieber, Ontario in 1887 and also drove a train for the Prince of Wales tour in 1928.

The front top and bottom bases and turned columns along with second floor deck and railings were rotten and replaced with exact copies of the originals. This included over 80 curved pregnant lady square-cut balusters and a rare curved front railing rejuvenating the elegance and style of this beautiful porch. Also replaced were the top and bottom floors’ unique curve fascia and crown. New curved front stairs were designed and installed to complement the design of the first floor decking. With framing and foundation on the first floor replaced, an enhanced look and feel are complete, ensuring this historical beauty will live on.

An appealing aspect of the porch are the three sizes of dentils mouldings used in its composition. The largest dentils are in the first floor soffits, medium sized dentils are in the top floor soffit and pediment and the smallest dentils are in the two doors that open to both floors. In the pediment of the top roof near the peak, there is a small train wheel flanked by flourishes.

On countless occasions, the homeowner has had passers-by thank her and marvel at the home’s transformation, bringing her closer to those around her. A neighbourhood couple even volunteered to assist her with the landscaping. All said and done, this restoration has not only transformed the house, but also the community in which it lives.

“… Your experience, attention to detail, and innate sense of what was right more than brought that vision to reality… You took a personal interest in the personality and integrity of the house and as a result I knew I could rely on your instincts… Lynn

This project involved restoring original woodwork.




LeBreton Flats, Ottawa