Merritt Courthouse - Merritt. BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 50° 06.750 W 120° 47.534
10U E 657847 N 5553473
This being 2015, this old courthouse will celebrate its 101st birthday this year.
Waymark Code: WMN824
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 01/16/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Dunbar Loop
Views: 2

On the front page of the March 6, 1914 issue of the Nicola Valley News, based in Merritt, was placed a pen & ink drawing of the Merritt Courthouse captioned "The new court house being built at Merritt". There was, however, no accompanying article, so the meaning of the caption is not totally clear. We will assume that it meant that the courthouse was already under construction at that time. If this is the case, it would have opened for business in 1914.

Apparently the building has been expanded since 1914, as the east wing of the present building is about twice as long as is shown in the 1914 drawing.

The building is of two storey wood frame construction, with slight Tudor architectural touches. The design is attributed to Henry Whittaker, a Rio de Janeiro born and England educated architect who emigrated from England to Canada in early 1913. On May 3, 1913 he was appointed as assistant in the drafting department of the British Columbia Public Works Department in Victoria. This courthouse is typical of his early designs, characterized as "modest and conservative variants of the Tudor Revival style with characteristic English half-timber framing".

Apparently the town of Nicola, just a few miles west of Merritt, received a new courthouse in the same year which was also designed by Henry Whittaker.

We have no information, as yet, as to the longevity of the building as a courthouse. We only know that the present occupant, the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council (NVCAC), moved into the building in 2005. The NVCAC was registered as a society under the B.C. Society Act on January 5, 1982 and continues to use the building for offices and as an art gallery. The Courthouse Arts Centre includes two work/display spaces as well as the Arts Council office. The Courthouse Gallery maintains a full schedule of solo, group and community shows. The smaller Backroom Studio is used for meetings and small workshops.

The building has been designated a historic site by the city of Merritt.
Type of Marker: Cultural

Type of Sign: Historic Site or Building Marker

Describe the parking that is available nearby: Parking lot on site.

What Agency placed the marker?: City of Merritt

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