Wyatt House History
Constructed in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation, this outstanding old house was the family home of the late 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.
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.”
For details about the restoration of the house in 2000 click here.
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 historic places www.historicplaces.ca and www.peihistoricplaces.ca. It is the recipient of a PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation architectural preservation award.
For additional information about this building and others of heritage value in Summerside go to www.peiancestry.com and browse the Heritage Properties.