—— By Cameron Bridge

The “UT House” is one of the oldest houses in the Nicola Valley completed in 1883 by Albert Elgin Howse. Howse was born and spent most of his life in Ontario before as a young adult leaving for San Francisco.

In 1877, he learned that there was gold found in the B.C. Interior and wanting to “live under the Union Jack” again, he returned to Canada.

On a trip to the Okanagan in 1877, he would pass through the Nicola Valley and enjoyed it so much that he decided to stay, he pre-empted land on DouglasLake road and built a small log cabin.

Howse would go on to be one of the biggest entrepreneurs in Nicola, owning two general stores, a flour mill, a small sawmill, and the Driard Hotel.

He would also be named the Federal Indian Agent from 1880 until his resignation in 1884.

The house he built was completed in 1883 and was well known for being one of the most beautiful residences in the Nicola Valley and was lavishly furnished, with reportedly, some of the furniture coming from the French Consulate in Vancouver.

This would be Howse’s residence until November of 1919 when Major Goldman bought all of Howse’s land.

Major Charles Goldman was an esteemed journalist and First World War officer who purchased thousands of acres of land in the Nicola Valley after the First World War.

Goldman would soon after create the Nicola Stock Farms whose signature cattle brand being a “U” over a “T” is where the name of the house comes from.

Goldman would use the UT House as his main residence in the Nicola Valley, a practice that continued for a number of years for the owners of the Nicola Stock Farm.


The Nicola Valley Museum & Archives is open from Tuesday until Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., if you have any questions about the history of Merritt or the Nicola Valley, please stop on by, give us a call or send us an email.