Everyone’s favourite downtown eyesore, Somerset House, was in the news again this week. For as long as I’ve lived in Ottawa, the building has been in a state of disrepair, and it got me wondering what this building looked like in its heyday. I managed to dig up this old picture courtesy of OttawaStart.com.
Somerset House circa 1900 (Image via Heritage Ottawa)
Somerset House was originally built in 1899, and over the years was a dry goods store, a hotel, and a pub. Unrelated to the building, but worth noting, is in the picture above, the person to the right in the foreground appears to be riding a donkey.
You can see a sliver of the building in this later photo of the corner of Bank and Somerset. The building in the centre of this photo was the Bank of Montreal, and is currently part of the Your Independent Grocer (known more commonly, of course, as Hartman’s) – you can still see this outer facade on the Somerset side of the building.
(Bank of Montreal exterior, 1954. Image MG393-NP-30364-001, copyright held by the City of Ottawa Archives)