W.T. Small House

Place Description

The historic place is the single-storey squared-log W.T. Small house, built in 1890, with a two-storey wood frame front section added in 1910. The property is located at 863 Coronado Crescent, in Kelowna's Okanagan Mission neighbourhood.

Heritage Value

This log house is valued as an example of early residential settlement in the Central Okanagan area, being one of the oldest pioneer dwellings in the region. Although additions and alterations have been made over the years, the distinctive log construction and character of the original structure are still readily recognizable today. Further value is found in W.T. Small, who built the house, and who played an important role in the settlement of the area; and in subsequent owner J.H. Baillie, who represents a settler of a different, more privileged, nature. The historic place was, until very recently, still occupied by descendants of the original owner, another valuable characteristic.

William Thomas Small is representative of many hard-working early settlers in the Kelowna area. He and his family came west from Ontario to Port Moody, and then to the Okanagan about 1888. Small, who was partially blind, worked as a miller at the Lequimes' mill, which had been built in 1885 to serve the fledgling community. Small built the original log portion of this house in 1890 with the help of his three oldest sons, Charles, Fred, and Bill. The Smalls had eight children in all; four were among the students of the Okanagan Mission School when it opened in 1894.

James Hugh Baillie (1873-1956) bought the Smalls' log house in 1908. Baillie represents the more privileged of the early settlers, most of whom were British-born. Educated at Oxford University, he spent 12 years in the West Indies before coming to Canada in 1903 and Kelowna a year later. He bought two large blocks of land at Okanagan Mission, which he subdivided. In 1906 took over the postmastership of Okanagan Mission. In 1907 he bought a large house, and a year later, a hotel. He bought the Small house in 1908. Two years later he had W. Shand build a large two-storey addition in front of the original log structure.

Baillie sold the house in 1913. A year later it was bought by C. Graham, whose wife is said to have built the fieldstone fireplace and living room.

The house has further value for its long-time connection with the Small family. Edith Small (1884-1951), who was the daughter of William Small and grew up in the log house, bought the property in 1930 with her husband, Arthur H. Raymer (1880-1956), whom she had married in 1905. Arthur's father, H.W. Raymer, was a carpenter who built many of the public and private buildings in early Kelowna, and became Kelowna's first mayor when the city was incorporated in 1905. Arthur Raymer went into the construction business with his father, which gives him historical interest. After Edith's death in 1951, Arthur Raymer lived here until his death in 1956 with his daughter Hilda (1906-1986) and her husband W. Sinclair-Thomson. The Sinclair-Thomsons and then their son, Terry, continued to live here, and make many improvements, until 2002.

Character Defining Elements

- Large property with some mature trees, shrubs, and lawn
- Residential form, scale and massing, whose organic growth over more than a century is expressed by the original 1-storey log building and its many 1- and 1.5-storey extensions
- The remaining portion of the original log building with its adze-cut squared logs and dovetail joints
- Visibility from the road of the original log building
- Early 1.5-storey addition, with its medium-pitch gable roof and three projecting gabled dormers
- 3 brick chimneys, one of them corbelled
- 3-over-1 and 6-over-1 double-hung wood-sash windows on the earlier portions of the building