Old Marsh House is a one-and-a-half storey log house built in 1934 located atop a hill overlooking the Quesnel and Fraser Rivers on the east side of Hoy Street in West Quesnel, BC. In 1994, the Old Marsh House was designated an Official Municipal Heritage Site. The historic place is confined to the building footprint.
Old Marsh 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 building is a unique example of houses in the surrounding area and stands as a testament to the historical evolution of West Quesnel.
The house is named for Ruric and Josephine (Boucher) Marsh who 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. The camp included twenty-two small cabins, three of which have been relocated to West Fraser Road. 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.
In 1963, their son Richard and his wife Myrtle (Lattman) Marsh owned this house. 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 the Old Marsh House include:
- a valuable asset for the City of Quesnel for its architecture, its historical association, and its overall contribution to the street;
- one of the most prominent and publicly visible buildings in Quesnel;
- a one-and-a-half storey log building that has retained its original design and charm;
- windows with interesting pane detail;
- a flat-top dormer on both sides of the gable roof;
- two windows on the south end of the building in the half storey;
- symmetry in the windows along the sides of the building;
- eaves with large brackets;
- square form.