Marsh Cabins are three small log dwellings built in the 1930s that were moved to this large parcel of land located on the west side of West Fraser Road in West Quesnel, BC. The historic place is confined to the footprints of the cabins.
Marsh Cabins are located in West Quesnel which developed as a rural community with small houses and family farms. The growth of West Quesnel was moderate until a single-lane bridge across the Fraser River was constructed in 1929. The bridge provided a permanent link between the two Quesnel communities. These communities were amalgamated into one city in 1958. In 1971, the two-lane Moffat Bridge was built and growth in West Quesnel increased steadily. Many houses of pioneering families have been moved to new locations in Quesnel as the community has experienced growth. While not in their original form or location, the cabins are a physical reminder of the people who shaped the development of Quesnel. The cabins are named for and built by pioneer Ruric Marsh in the early 1930s.
Ruric and Josephine (Boucher) Marsh once owned much of the land in West Quesnel. Ruric came to Quesnel in 1909 from Vermont. He was affectionately known around the area as ‘R. L’. The couple had a homestead at Forestdale Ranch, but when money became tight, Ruric moved to the United States for work, only to return to Quesnel in 1919. The second time Ruric arrived in Quesnel he moved to a meadow area on a lake which is now known as Ruric Lake. In 1924 Josephine and Ruric moved to West Quesnel so that their children could attend school.
Ruric had a livery stable, trucking business, and started the Cariboo Log Cabin Camp in 1929 on the west side of the Fraser River. These three cabins were once part of a group of twenty-two small log cabins. Ruric built the Cariboo Camp Store that was the first store in West Quesnel. It was later relocated and used as the office of the Blue Star Motel. Ruric also owned an ice business and was an avid fisherman, hunter, trapper, guide, gardener and photographer. Josephine and Ruric were members of the Quesnel Rod and Gun Club. Josephine was also active in community organizations. She was the Honorary President of the Legion Ladies Auxiliary and the Quesnel View Women’s Institute.
Their son Richard and his wife Myrtle (Lattman) Marsh relocated the cabins to their property on West Fraser Road. Richard worked with his father cutting and hauling wood, delivering ice, and baling hay. He started his own successful business, Marsh Sand and Gravel, which he later sold in 1959 to Quesnel Redi-Mix. Myrtle and Richard then owned and operated a small grocery store across from the Quesnel High School and Richard drove the school bus. Later he owned and operated Quesnel Appliance and Refrigeration until his retirement in 1978. The Marsh family is recognized for their contribution to the development of the community with streets named in their honour.
The character-defining elements of Marsh Cabins include:
- three log structures of simple design;
- their heritage value for architecture and historical association;
- the siting of the cabins in a clearing of trees on a large parcel of land;
- the log construction, gable roof, off-center front entrance, and central chimney;
- a unique contribution to the streetscape;
- a rare example of buildings along the street;
- heavily framed windows.