Haunting history: Historic P.E.I. home celebrates 150 years
Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017 3:41PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 11, 2017 3:46PM ADT
Just like Canada, the historic Wyatt House in Summerside, P.E.I. turns 150 this year.
The home was given to prominent lawyer and politician Ned Wyatt and his wife Cecilia as a wedding present.
The Wyatts had three children – Dorothy, Wanda, and a son who died at the age of two.
“The house is certainly associated the most with Wanda Wyatt, who died in 1998,” says Jean MacKay of Wyatt Heritage Properties. “She was born in this house in 1895 and she lived to be 102.”
The house is now a museum, telling the story of how the Wyatts lived through its rooms, antiques and personal artifacts – some of which were collected by Wanda during her travels.
“That's an authentic Bengali tiger that Wanda acquired in Calcutta, India in 1929 when she was on her world cruise,” says MacKay. “Everything in the house belonged to the family and, also, it's unique in that we tell the story of the home through the lives of the women that lived here, where most historic houses are about the famous men.”
Wyatt House draws visitors with a variety of interests; some are curious about the furniture, while others are history buffs. Some visitors are interested in the paranormal stories surrounding the home.
“There's a story that goes with Aunt Jessie (Ned Wyatt’s sister). We had a guide coming through and she kind of made a disparaging remark about Aunt Jessie's looks and, as she continued on with the tour up the stairs, the attic door actually flew off its hinges towards the guide and there's actually still a mark on the bannister and on the floor where the door hit,” says Megan Leforte of Wyatt Heritage Properties. “When we had the construction worker come in to repair the door he said there's absolutely no reason the door should have fallen in that direction. It should have fallen straight forward instead of on a diagonal.”
A painting of Aunt Jessie still hangs in the historic home.
“The painting of Aunt Jessie was painted by Robert Harris. He's probably P.E.I.'s most famous painter historically,” says Leforte. “Robert Harris is famous. I'm sure maybe some of the viewers are familiar with the Heritage Minutes, the meeting of the school board trustees, he was responsible for that painting as well.”
The home has even welcomed some famous guests over the years, including three prime ministers – Robert Borden, R.B. Bennett, and Arthur Meighen.
“It is a very unique museum and I think Prince Edward Islanders, particularly people in Summerside, should be proud of this museum,” says MacKay.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jayson Baxter