-
Welcome to Summerside.ca โ€“ Official Site of the Municipal Government
Wyatt Historic House Museum

Experience for yourself why this historic house museum is described by visitors from around the world as “one of the best museum experiences ever.”

The personal and interactive guided tours (choose between oddity and historic) of the 1867 family home give a close up view of the intriguing artifacts collected over a century by the prominent Wyatt family, while revealing the stories of the times.

Enthusiastic, engaged, and knowledgeable interpreters will show you through the Wyatt House Museum describing the lives of the original family members and answering your questions. In the space of a fleeting 45 minutes you will discover how your interests overlap with the life and times of the Wyatt Family, reflected in the collection and through the medium of your interpreter.

The thousands of artifacts you’ll see were collected and used by the Wyatt family over the course of a century – 1890s to 1990s. 

If you are interested in people and things, you will appreciate one of the finest ‘in situ’ historic house collections to be found in Canada with a walk through Wyatt House. Your visit will end at the Lefurgey Cultural Centre, the crown jewel of Summerside’s 1860s architecture, located on the far reaches of the Wyatt House lawn.

History of the Wyatt Property

Constructed in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation, this outstanding old house was the family home of Wanda Lefurgey Wyatt until her death in 1998, at the age of 102. It is a remarkable heritage building that has been faithfully restored to its Edwardian beauty and authenticity. (Guided House tours are available year round)

Robert Alder Strong, a local merchant, had the house constructed and lived in it until 1876 when he and his family moved to Charlottetown where he took the post of Assistant Commissioner of Public Lands. It is believed that his brother Charles, the Summerside Customs House agent, then took occupancy. In 1887 when the house went up for auction as part of the “Allison Estate,” the resident was Mrs. J. C. Pope, widow of a former Prince Edward Island premier. The Allison in whose name the property was registered because of a mortgage was the late Milcah Allison, widow of the Hon. Charles Frederick Allison, the founder of Mount Allison University. Milcah had been a sister to Mrs. Robert Strong (nee Sarah Trueman).

The highest bidder for the house was the Hon. John E. Lefurgey, the purchase securing him the whole block around his fine residence next door at the corner of Prince and Granville. One of his daughters, Cecelia, married a young lawyer from Charlottetown named James Edward “Ned” Wyatt and the house was conveyed to the young couple in 1893. Mr. Wyatt served two terms in the provincial legislature as a Conservative MLA, and was Speaker of the House from 1912-1916. The couple had three children but the youngest, Ivan, died at the age of two in 1898. Their daughters, Dorothy (b.1893) and Wanda (b.1895), never married and spent their whole lives in the house of their birth.

The house was very plain in its early years and was embellished by the Wyatts. The Palladian windows in the attic facing east and west, the side entry porch and the classically inspired front porch are early twentieth century additions. Miss Wyatt wrote about her home in a 1973 issue of the I.O.D.E. (Imperial Order Daughter of the Empire) magazine Echoes: “It is a rambling house with many little things to attest to its age. The stone foundation, the steps that carry you from one level to another, the floors, with hard pine boards from ships masts, are interesting. The furnishings are mostly antique and the house itself has an atmosphere of the past. Many outstanding and famous people have been entertained under its roof, among them three Prime Ministers of Canada (Robert L. Borden, Arthur Meighen, and R. B. Bennett). There are many memories over a hundred years.”

The Wyatt Historic House at 85 Spring Street is a Designated Heritage Building, protected by the municipality and included in the provincial and national registers of historicplaces.ca and PeiHistoricPlaces.ca It is the recipient of a PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation architectural preservation award.

Wyatt Historic House Renovations

Restoration of the Wyatt residents began in March 2001 and was completed in June. On the exterior, the cedar shingles, which had served for many years, were replaced with new ones on the north side. During the work, birch bark was found on the exterior, apparently used as an insulator. At an undetermined date, clapboard siding had replaced the shingles on the other sides of the house, and is still in place. The Wyatt family had also made exterior changes by adding the front and side entrance porches and the Palladian windows in the attic around 1928. In the same renovation, they enclosed the garden entryway as a sun parlour.

Wooden shutters, which were modeled after old ones that had been removed years earlier, were placed on some of the windows. The exterior of the house was painted a pale yellow colour, and the shutters green. The roof was re-shingled with cedar shingles in the summer of 2000.

On the interior of the house, no structural changes were made during the restoration process. The Wyatts themselves had made some changes decades earlier. They moved the front staircase back to make a larger hallway on the main level and they also changed the back staircase, which necessitated a new entry to the attic. Interior changes had also occurred over the years as central heating, plumbing, and electricity were added. During the restoration, the house was rewired.

Plaster was repaired and the original lathe work was found to have horsehair embedded in the plaster mixture. Wallpaper was carefully peeled off and the walls were covered with paper that resembled as closely as possible the colour and design of an earlier time. Woodwork was painted, the floors were polished, and window coverings, where needed, were carefully chosen.

The house is decorated as it would have been in the early twentieth century, with the exception of the kitchen and upstairs bathrooms, which were renovated by the Wyatt sisters in the 1950s. Those two rooms reflect the typical décor of that decade.

In 2005, additional restoration was carried out with major funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The floors on the main level were reinforced and an air exchange system was installed. Some refurbishment was also done to the garage that stands on the property.

For more information about the Wyatt Historic House Museum, contact:

Jean MacKay
Archives/Curatorial Assistant
jean.mackay@city.summerside.pe.ca
902-432-1332
Culture Summerside, 205 Prince Street, Summerside, PE C1N 2Z5

Related City Documents:

City of Summerside Cultural Plan

Related External Links:

PEIHistoricPlaces.ca

Trip Advisor Reviews

 

City of Summerside | All Rights Reserved | Powered by CivicLive | © 2018 West Corporation.