The ‘purple house’ of East Kildonan
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/01/2022 (394 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There’s a purple house in East Kildonan that for many years has come to be known not only for its vibrant exterior colour but for its historical charm, lush garden, and accompanying stories. Attracting attention from passersby, neighbourhood children, and others from different areas wanting to view the often talked about structure, the landmark house at 115 Linden Ave. celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Laurie Goetz, mother, grandmother, and thrift store manager is the proud owner of the much-loved purple house.
Goetz first noticed the house for sale in 1990. Pregnant with her second child and envisioning it as her ‘forever home’, she and her then-husband made an offer of $82,500.
“I felt certain it was to be ours, only to lose the bid to a family with the same offer but with a possession date one month sooner,” Goetz said. “I was devastated. We had looked at many other homes in the area, but none could match its character and uniqueness.”
Seven years later, Goetz learned that the house was once again for sale but the owners were having trouble selling it and had taken it off the market.
“My heart skipped a beat, but I was afraid to get too excited about it. I literally knocked on their door and asked if they were still wanting to sell,” she said. “They gave me a tour of the home and I fell in love all over again. We purchased the home privately for the same price we offered seven years earlier, $82,500 and it was ours. I was in heaven.”
With its interior and exterior paint peeling, the century old house needed numerous renovations, such as foundation work and windows replaced, but Goetz saw the potential.
The story-and-a-half house on a large double lot with mature trees and a wrought-iron fence sits on top of a hill. It has a detached garage complete with a chimney. Goetz was enchanted by its charm, including a four-season front porch with a French door leading into a large living room with hardwood maple floors and a fireplace.
“The potbelly wood stove in the kitchen captured my heart, and my new kitchen renovation was tailored to keep that as a centrepoint. I used to warm my kids’ flannel pajamas before bed.”
Goetz also put in a large perennial garden, one, which she expands every year. The garden has won many awards and been featured in magazines and newspapers.
The year after they bought the house, Goetz designed a new stone/concrete patio and winding path and decided on aubergine (eggplant) as its new exterior colour.
In the summer of 2009, Goetz noticed a woman taking pictures of the house from the sidewalk.
It turned out she had grown up in the house in the 1940s and her father, Ralph Erwin, founded the Salisbury House restaurants in Winnipeg in 1931.
“Phyllis Erwin Ketcheson deepened my love for this home,” Goetz said. “(She told me) young airmen training from overseas stayed in the home during (the Second World War). Some of the letters they later received are now at the Canadian war museum.
“When she left, we exchanged our contact information and I made her promise to put these memories in writing. And she did, along with pictures which are now invaluable to me. She is now 88 and we still keep in touch.”
For the last 25 years, the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home decorated with antique, vintage and old world pieces has brought joy and cherished memories to Goetz and her family. The purple house has been an idyllic setting for weddings, garden tours, historical home tours, and many gatherings.
“It seems like just yesterday I was the young mom with a dream to share my life with my growing family and community in this big old house,” Goetz said.
“I would never have imagined how far that dream, and a little purple paint, would go.”
St. Boniface community correspondent
Janine LeGal is a community correspondent for St. Boniface who also writes the These Old Houses column for our Community Homes section.