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Presentation and History

From 1821 to today: the Merry House restauration and heritage project

The architectural concept for the restoration and showcasing of the Merry House focuses on the ensemble, which includes the main building (the oldest part of the house), restored to its original features; the renovated secondary wing; and the addition of a new wing in a more modern style. The foundation will reflect the layout of former structures on the site.

The outdoor landscaping features a slate terrace and stone dust pathways to preserve a natural site based on the unique abundance of trees in Magog’s city centre.

Picnic tables and benches are available for the public, welcome to visit the park at any time.

Marco Bergeron
Presentation and History

A project born from a commitment to safeguard the heritage and history of this pioneer family.

  • 1799
  • 1821
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
Minoterie de Kilborn, Stanstead, colonies du Bas-Canada et des États-Unis, 1832, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
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1799

The Merry family arrives from the United States.
E.A. Turner, Résidence de M. Ralph Merry, 1881 Société d’histoire de Magog
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1821

Building the Merry House.
Ville de Magog
01 presentation2008 crt

2008

The City of Magog acquires the Merry House.
01 presentation2009 crt maison merry

2009

The City of Magog designates the Merry House as a heritage building in an effort to protect this rich heritage site.
Diane Pelletier
01 presentation2016 crt diane pelletier

2016

Founding of the Corporation de la maison Merry, the NPO in charge of the development and management of the new memorial site.
Ville de Magog
01 presentation2017 crt

2017

Restoration, enhancement, and expansion work undertaken by the City of Magog.
Antoine Petrecca
01 presentation2018 crt antoinepetrecca

2018

Merry House opens to the public in July.

Has the Merry House piqued your curiosity?

The “site of memory” concept was developed by historian Pierre Nora, and to this we have added the word “citizen.” The site of memory concept refers to all the cultural markers of a community. Adding the citizen specification to our site of memory integrates notions of individual appropriation, use, and involvement by all Magog residents

It is at this strategic location that at the end of the 18th century, Nicholas Austin built a first mill. Ralph Merry III chose the same site in 1799. Arriving from Massachusetts where he had fought with revolutionary troops, Ralph Merry bought a small piece of land from Nicholas Austin. He settled there with his family, initially in a small log house. Considered the founder of The Outlet of Lake Memphremagog (former name of the City of Magog), Ralph Merry III was a farmer, blacksmith, and then businessman. He had the Merry House built in 1821, and bequeathed it to his son the next year. One after another, six generations of the family lived in the Merry House, around which the City of Magog grew. Several members of this illustrious family contributed in a major way to the development of Magog.

Among the members of the Merry family who lived in the house was Ralph Merry V, grandson of the founder of The Outlet. A well-known man in his community, Ralph Merry opened a matchstick factory and a general store and, with his son-in-law Alvin Head Moore, helped bring the railway to Magog. He was also mayor of Magog Township in the 1870s and 1880s.

Under the initiative of influential men such as Alvin Head Moore and Ralph Merry, the textile industry steadfastly developed with the opening of the Magog Textile & Print Co. in 1884, which was merged in 1890 with Dominion Cotton Mills, and merged again in 1905 with the renowned Dominion Textile Company. The industry grew quickly and hired more and more workers. These newcomers, including numerous French Canadians, settled near the plants. In the span of a few years, the population had increased a lot. From a little hamlet of barely a few dozen residents, by 1890, it had become a town of more than 2000 residents.

Back then, the town’s progress matched the pace of the textile industry, suffering from its downturns and enjoying its years of prosperity. Over time, the industry declined steeply, starting in the 1980s and until the closing of the last plants in the early 2000s.

The Merry House is the oldest house in urban Magog, and its overall appearance has remained very similar to that which prevailed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its New England-inspired architecture is a remarkable example of the American vernacular architectural style.

One of the interesting features is the structure of its roof, with a very large front roof overhang supported by four non-squared tree trunks, where the former location of branches can still be seen.

Gable dormers poke through the roof slopes. The exposed face of the clapboard-clad siding is angled to prevent water infiltration. The double-hung windows with 12 to 20 panes are characteristic of the first models of this type of window used in Quebec during this era. Of note, the components of the house were installed in classically inspired, symmetrical pairs, and local materials adapted to the climatic conditions were used.

The Merry House has been recognized as a heritage property by the City of Magog, and its state of preservation is rated as “exceptional” in the City of Magog’s heritage inventory.

Already a popular tourist destination in the 19th century, the region was renowned for the beauty of its landscapes. The arrival of the railway and the launch of steamboats on Lake Memphremagog travelling between Magog and Newport in the United States fostered the growth of tourism, an economic activity that was becoming increasingly important in the region. Recent years have seen the arrival of new industrial sectors, in fields such as new technologies, services, and health, contributing to the diversification and vibrancy of Magog’s economy.