Today the City of Thunder Bay, together with the Heritage Advisory Committee, celebrated the 100th anniversary of completion of the James Murphy Residence. To commemorate the 100 years of history, a certificate was presented to Mr. Bruno Valente, the current property owner, during a ceremony at the 431 Selkirk St. S. residence.

“The James Murphy Residence has a long history in our community and is a Designated Heritage Property on our Municipal Heritage Registry,” said Laurie Abthorpe, Heritage Researcher, City of Thunder Bay. “It’s important to recognize and preserve our local history, and the James Murphy Residence brings 100 years of history to life through it’s architecture and past ownership.”

Construction began on this home in 1914, but due to WWI it was not completed until 1919. James Murphy, for whom this home was built, was a renowned businessman best known for establishing the James Murphy Coal Company and as president of the Superior Printing Company, publisher of the Fort William Daily Times Journal. James Murphy was elected to Fort William Town Council in 1905. He became Mayor in 1907 when Fort William incorporated as a city, giving him the honour of being the first Mayor of the City of Fort William.

This three-and-a-half storey home was designed by architect, Robert Ethelbert Mason. It has characteristics reminiscent of both Late English Gothic and Chateau styles, including its high pitched roof with parapet gable walls and distinctive green glazed terra-cotta tile roof. The entire main level, second storey bay and the full height of the home’s chimneys are all constructed using Simpson Island stone. The symmetrical façade features an impressive projecting portico leading to the main entryways. Corbelled brickwork in an arcade pattern decorates the central recessed portion of the façade above the portico.

In 1985, the James Murphy Residence became the first private residence designated by the City of Thunder Bay and placed on the Municipal Heritage Register.

For more information about our city’s heritage, visit

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Contact: Laurie Abthorpe, Heritage Researcher, City of Thunder Bay, 625-3197,