By Deb Chapman
Ask anyone familiar with Salmon Arm’s historic areas what neighbourhood they think has the greatest heritage appeal and the frequent reply is “Harris Street, of course.”
The neighbourhood is a cluster of well-kept buildings on Second Ave NE. The street is established and has varied architecture, large lots, mature landscaping, and a proximity to the downtown core. It is also “green;” developed before every household had an automobile and garage. According to the B.C. Heritage Society, older neighbourhoods lend themselves to a more sustainable lifestyle. And the neighbourhood is exactly the type being celebrated during Heritage Week.
Mid-block in the subdivision is the Lyman House, named for the owner who had it built in 1908. Isaac Munson Lyman was a CPR telegraph operator in the midst of a career change. He turned to land speculation and opened a real estate office.
The subdivision was Lyman’s first development. He “christened” it Lyman Addition. One of the two streets surveyed also bore his name, but locals soon began calling it Harris, extending the name of the connecting road below.
Eventually the subdivision came to be known as Salmon Arm’s Snob Hill, a nod to the prized homes with spectacular views of the community below.
There have been several families that have called the Lyman House their home. Today, some call it the “doctor’s house” and a little research yields the reason behind the name. A total of three doctors have lived in the house.
The first medical practitioner to live in the house was Dr. A.K. Connolly. He moved to Salmon Arm and opened a general practice, making house calls, delivering babies and treating patients for 17 years. The location of the house was convenient as A.K. could walk to the hospital nearby.
The next owner doctor was Alan Beech, who purchased the Connolly practice and house in 1926. He opened up his office with his colleague and brother Stuart, who moved into the neighbourhood as well, living in a bungalow two doors downhill from his sibling.
The current owner is also a doctor. Cindy Malinowski describes her dream come true.
“As a girl, I remember finding the tree-lined side street with a wonderful collection of old houses. One in particular caught my eye and I thought I would love to live there someday.”
The pillars, balconies, bay windows and majestic trees around the house resonated deeply with Malinowski’s sense of a historic dwelling. She was keen to see the interior. Years went by. A friend who knew the owner arranged tea and a tour.
“As I gave my thanks for the tour I commented, ‘if you are ever thinking of selling...’ remembers Malinowski. “The owner said it just so happened she was.”
The sale was completed in the fall of 1984.
When the I.M. Lyman house was placed on the City of Salmon Arm’s Heritage Register in 2010, Malinowski was thrilled. Subsequently, she volunteered her home as the poster house for the Salmon Arm Branch of the Okanagan Historical Society’s Heritage Tea and Tour.
“I continue to marvel at this dream come true. With an addition to accommodate a growing family and regular upkeep, I hope to maintain the integrity of this home as a part of the history of the early settlers of Salmon Arm.”
The I.M. Lyman house is being featured during Heritage Week celebrations at the Mall at Piccadilly. See the Salmon Arm Museum/R.J. Haney Heritage Village displays from Feb. 18 to 23. For more information, call 250-832-5243.