Stepping Back in Time: A Visit to Merritt’s Baillie House

It’s been a quiet week on the blog front, thanks, in part, to a bout of illness (everyone’s had a turn), a weekend road trip, and keeping the Pear Tree House running in between times.

But we’re back and getting settled into our routine again, and have some fun pics to share.

Last weekend me, my mum and the kids went for a little road trip to visit my niece’s school, near Lillooet (watch for more on that adventure Friday). On the way, we made a stop at the Merritt Information Centre, and discovered Baillie House.

Baillie House is a beautiful, 1908 house with an interesting story.

According to a brochure in the Information Centre, it has a tragi-romantic story around its beginning. Built by a man named Cosam Bigney, it was to be a home for him and his fiancee, when she joined him from wherever they came from (the information didn’t detail where). However, on the voyage to Canada, she fell in love with another man and never arrived.

Bigney never did marry, but lived in the house with his business partner, Emiley Weatherbie until their deaths in 1933 and 1935.

The house was later purchased by Melville Baillie, who lived in it with his wife, Pauline, and their six kids. It looks like the kind of home that should have lots of children, running up and down the stairs and banging the screen porch, doesn’t it?

The house is open for free tours, but unfortunately our time was limited and I didn’t get to take a peek inside. I definitely want to come back and snoop!

In the mean time, though, we had a little picnic on the lawn, which is outfitted with tables for visitors. I think if I lived in Merritt I’d be hanging out there all the time!

My kids got a kick out of the little carriage parked in front of the house. I had a hard time talking them down once they got comfortable up there.

The little square building that houses the Information Centre was originally a soda bottling business built around 1912 by Bigney and Weatherbie. It was later turned into a small residence. In addition to being an Information Centre, now, there is also a number of antiques for sale, both upstairs and in the basement.

I loved those old boots, repurposed into planters. I might have to try that myself.

I think that, so far in my experience, the Merritt Information Centre is one of the nicest info centres I’ve visited. In addition to its interesting location, it also has the friendliest staff I’ve encountered. When we arrived, we were greeted with a welcome and an offer of some complimentary lemonade.

Thanks to the lovely ladies who help make the place what it is!

– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier

Bookmark the permalink.

One Comment

  1. Stephanie Moore

    Love it! It is truly one of Merritt’s treasures! I am originally from Merritt and I know the effort that went into keeping the Baillie House. Yes, you have to go back to look inside and then you have to check out a couple of other treasures – the Quichena Hotel and a stop at Nicola Gifts on your way out there….

Comments are closed