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This article was published 23/6/2015 (733 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There are quite a few historic and beautiful houses in the Kildonan area. But one of the more unusual older homes ever written about by historian Lillian Gibbons is a tiny brick house on the banks of the Red River on Scotia Street.
The home at 59 Scotia stands out from the others because of its unusual roof and shape and because its front faces the river and its rear faces the street, as homes did back in the late 1800s, when the river was the main thoroughfare.
The distinctive, tall Mansard roof is an example of Second Empire architectural style and is said to be rare in this city.
Estimated to have been built in 1887, the house likely has many tales to tell but, according to Gibbons, there was a touch of romance about the origins of the house.
Gibbons says Nicholas Millidge of New Brunswick built the home for his maritime bride. The city lists a B.V. Millidge as the owner in 1887. Perhaps they are the same person. At any rate, the fiancée wouldn’t come west fearing it would be too wild, savage and lonely.
The much braver sister of the disappointed young man came out instead and helped him keep house. Sarah E. Millidge ended up making the wild, wild west her permanent home and became a well known deaconess of the Anglican Church. She was one of the founders of the women’s auxiliary of St. John’s Cathedral and travelled the province widely as part of her duties. She is listed on the Manitoba Historical Society website under Memorable Manitobans.
Sarah and her brother were two of the 16 children born to Thomas E. Millidge of the prominent shipbuilding family of Millidgeville, N.B. (now Saint John), which built many of the famous tall ships that sailed the world.
As for B.V. Millidge, he listed the house for sale in 1896 saying he was heading back east where he eventually married and started a family. He also advertised six lots near the house, a barn, good pasturage for a horse or cow and noted that it was only a five-minute walk to the electric car.
59 Scotia St. is also listed on MHS’s list of Famous Homes because Stambury Tarr, editor of Montreal’s The Chronicle and founder of the Winnipeg-based Canadian Finance lived there from 1912-1918.
Daniel W. Harmer, well known then, as one of the heads of a major grocery chain (now Western Grocers) lived in the house around 1910.
The historic house with the Mansard roof sheltered many families over the years and is listed on the city’s Historical Buildings Inventory list.
Cheryl Girard is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org