Martello House is an attractive single storey farm house built in 1935 located on the south side of Hill Street in West Quesnel, BC. The historic place includes the building and the parcel of land it occupies.
Martello House is 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. While not in its original form, the house is a physical reminder of the people who shaped the development of Quesnel.
The house was built in the mid 1930s for Alfred Lust who lived here for a brief time. Alfred Lust was the son of pioneers Frank and Anna Lust of Bohemia who homesteaded at Dragon Lake with six of their twelve children. The Lust family is recognized for their contribution to the development of the community with a street named in their honour.
In 1940, the house was purchased by Chow Dong Hoy who came to Quesnel from Canton, China. He had various jobs such as a dishwasher, survey crewman, miner and cook, photographer and watch repairman. C. D. became a very successful businessman in Quesnel. He owned this house for a very short time before he sold it to the Martello family. The Hoy family is recognized for their contribution to the development of the community with a street named in their honour.
The house is named for Frank and Elvire Martello. Frank was born in 1887 in Italy. He came to Quesnel in 1913 to cut railroad ties and cordwood. He also grew produce on his homestead located south of Quesnel for himself, his neighbours, and the local groceries. During WWI, Frank served overseas in the 54th Battalion. While he was stationed in Belgium, he met Elvire Noe who was born in 1898 in Brussels Forest. Frank and Elvire were married in 1919 and later returned to Quesnel. When Frank’s health failed, they moved to this house from their homestead. Frank died in 1948 and is buried in the Quesnel Pioneer Cemetery.
The character-defining elements of Martello House include:
- a unique contribution to the streetscape of farmhouse style buildings;
- an excellent example of a single storey log constructed building;
- a large covered porch with post supports;
- the characteristic central chimney found in farm house style design;
- the character is maintained even though the logs have been covered with siding;
- the original form is still evident today even though renovations have occurred;
- small attic room with window.