Memorable Manitobans: James Chisholm (1841-1920)
Born at Paris, Ontario on 25 December 1841, he trained as an architect before coming to the Red River Settlement in the spring of 1877 to work for John Sifton as a timekeeper on construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway between Winnipeg and Whitemouth. He worked as an architect at Superior, Wisconsin and St. Paul, Minnesota for 12 years before returning to Winnipeg in 1901 where he was head of the architectural firm of James Chisholm and Son, in partnership with his son Colin Campbell Chisholm. It is said that he supervised construction of the Old Winnipeg City Hall after architect Charles Arnold Barber was fired for incompetence.
On 22 February 1864, he married Elizabeth Goodfellow, at Brantford, Ontario. They had six children: Anna Alexandra Chisholm (1865-?, wife of Frank Heatly), Jeannette Campbell Chisholm (1868-1870), Gideon Goodfellow Chisholm (1870-1944, husband of Elizabeth Dundas), John James Chisholm (1874-1953, husband of Lillian Gertrude Spink), Helen Margaretta Chisholm (1878-1961, wife of Frederick Duffield Halpenny), and Colin Campbell Chisholm. He was a member of the Masons, Zion Methodist Church (where he was Superintendent of the Sunday School), and the Winnipeg School Board, one of the founders of the Strathcona Curling Club, and an honorary member of the Manitoba Curling Association.
He retired to California and died at Ocean Park on 14 October 1920.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:
“Died at Ocean Park, California, Thursday,” Manitoba Free Press, 16 October 1920, page 5.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Obituary [Helen M. Halpenny], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 July 1961.
Crescentwood, A History by R. R. Rostecki, Winnipeg: Crescentwood Home Owners Association, 1993.
We thank Matthew Chisholm, Susan Bracken, and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 February 2023