The J.P. Brown Residence
For thirty years, 2305 Smith St. was known as the House of David, and Exlusive Boarding house for young gentlemen. The McKenzie and Jones Construction Company built the Arts and Crafts-style house around 1912 for Jacob P. Brown, cheif clerk with the Board of Highway Commissioners.
Originally the two and a half storey, 3500 square foot house of brick with stucco finish featured a main entrance enclosed by a large screeened sun porch on the west side. Subsequent renovations relocatd the entrance to the north side of the house and enclosed the porch. A sleeping porch on the second storey at the rear of the house has also been enclosed.
Light golden oak and beveled glass highlighted the house's interior. The front hall contained the main staircase and two sets of French doors, one led into the parlour and the other to the dining room. A swinging oak door led to the kitchen from which a narrow, steep staircase led to the third level containing the servants' quarters.
The elegant and charming house caused some idle speculation about how a civil servant could afford it, but local musings were turning to the coming war in Europe. By 1914 local papers regularly were running stories of the Civil War.
On January 18, 1916, the press covered the opening of the third wartime session of the Saskatchewan Legislature, led by Liberal Premier Walter Scott. Leutenant Governor Richard Lake read the Speach from the Throne. Premier Scott's speech took everyone by surporise when he referred to scandals involving his government. Those scandals were soon detailed by the opposition: allegations of MLAs receiving bribes; allegations of graft in the building of the North Battleford asylum; and allegations of serious irregularities in expenditures of public money for road work in south-western Saskatchewan. Scott's government, one that earned the public trust, faced a major issue that threatened its credibility.
The opposition levelled charges that the government had paid out more than $50,000 on various ficticious contracts for roadwork that had never been carried out. That demanded a royal commission. At first, Mr. Scott referred the fraud charges to a Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Printing, but later turned over the work of investigating the road frauds to a royal commission.
On February 18, 1916, it was revealed that a trusted employee of the Board of Highway Commissioners had disappeared suddenly. It was reported that the government had reason to believe the person was connected to allegations that sums of money had been taken fraudulently from the public treasury. That person was J.P.Brown.Authorities tracked down Mr. Brown in San Antonio Texas, in mid March. In Regina District Court in June of 1916, he was found guilty of forgery, uttering forged documents and fraudulently obtaining some $59,000 from the public treasury. He was sentenced to seven years in the penetentiary of Prince Albert.
A year later, Mrs. Brown, who had trained as a nurse, was supporting herself and her family by operating 2305 Smith Street as a cottage hospital. In 1921, the Brown's house sold to Miss Muriel Fabert Davies, who turned it into Regina's most reputable boarding house known as the "House of David". Under Miss Davies care, the house gained a reputation as an elite establishment, catering to gentlemen who were pursuing professional careers and were of good character.
Miss Davies required references before allowing young men to become residents of the House of David; room and board was $75 per month. Meals, prepared by a cook who purchased only the best quality food from local suppliers, were served in the dining room at precise hours. To be late or to be inappropriately attired was unforgivable. A young man who missed curfew found himself without accommodation.
Miss Davies presided over the House of David until 1951, when she moved to the west coast. Mr. Mowdot Tom, whose culinary skills had contributed to the preferred status of the House of David for many years purchased it. He continued to run 2305 Smith Street as a respectable boarding house but as people began to prefer apartment living to rooms in boarding houses, 2305 Smith Street gradually lost it's elegance. in 1970, it was divided into suites.
The house resumed its role of catering to the residents of Regina when it became a restaurant in 1979. Within this house various restauranteurs have served their offerings of fine cuisine to Reginans, continuing a tradition established in the House of David. Those Restaurants included:
Upstairs/Downstairs Ma Barkers , La Scalla, Martini Brothers , The Old Spaghetti House , Casa Ricci
Fireside Bistro (since June 2003)
The Fireside Bistro invites you to experience
Dining Beyond The Usual !
Originally the bistro was built as a private home in 1913 for Jacob P. Brown, this historic building has catered to Regina residents as a restaurant since 1979.
The Fireside Bistro is locally owned and operated by Scott Aspelieter and his wife who also owns Zoe's Boutique located on the main floor of the Old City Hall building on Scarth Street and 11th Avenue, across from the Cornwall Center.
The Fireside Bistro is open 7 days a week including Saturday and Sunday Brunch, features a beautiful fireside patio, a casual lounge, and private & semi-private meeting and dining rooms. Reservations are recommended.
Call us to reserve your special table : 306-761-2305
We look forward to seeing you soon !