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884 Howard – Arsene Dupuis Home

Again, another inner-city house falls to make way for a vacant lot, and a little more density is removed from the core areas of the city. This house above at Howard south of Elliott, fell to the wrecking ball last week for no apparent reason. When the demolition request came before council, despite administration’s recommendation to deny demolition, council in all their wisdom told the owner to go ahead.

After the house came down last Wednesday (these photos are from last Tuesday), I headed over to the library to peruse old directories to see what stories the house had to tell.

As best as I could tell, the house was first built around 1903, and was originally known as 34 Howard Ave (it became 820, before being renumbered in 1937 as 884, the address it held until last week). Arzen Dupuis is listed as a Labourer and and resident at the house. I believe that Arzen is a spelling error, and is actually the French name Arsene.

Through the early years, his occupation ranges from Labourer to Worker at the Canadian Bridge Company to Carpenter. By 1919 he’s listed as a machinist, and shortly there after he is listed as being a worker at the Ford Motor Company.

In 1926, the house to the right at 888 Howard is listed as vacant, and the next year Mr. Dupuis is listed as living there, with the house at 884 becoming a four-plex.

I can only surmise that Arsene bought the neighbouring house, and changed the other one into a boarding house. In 1937 he is still listed as a worker at Ford’s, but the next directory I found in 1940, lists the resident as Adeline Dupuis (widow).

In 1963, the directory lists Peterson’s TV Repairs as operating out of 884, with Mr. Peterson being the owner. We previously saw Peterson’s in this 1957 photo, operating a block north.

Mrs. Dupuis is still listed as living at 888 through 1969, when I can only assume that she passed away.

Between the two houses in the photo above, there was either Arsene or his wife Adeline Dupuis living in them from 1903 through 1969. That is simply amazing.

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