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Trail Blazers wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives
Photo: Trail Historical Society

For this week’s Trail Blazers, we head back to the mid-1950s and a long-gone structure on Spokane Street near the Esplanade.

Here sat the Merry Lumber Company in their new building, after moving from the 1200 block of Bay Avenue.

The Merry family is synonymous with lumber in Trail since the 1890s, having owned many acres of farm and timbered land, several sawmills throughout the region (familiar to most the sawmill in Glenmerry), and eventually retail ventures.

Family patriarch, George Merry, arrived in the region in 1895, first working as a carpenter. Settling in Annable, George and his wife Martha raised their six children here.

George’s business sense lead him to a successful career farming and logging, accumulating many properties and hectares of valuable land.

Timber from George’s properties were even used during the old bridge construction in 1911 and 1912.

Other property included the area of Trail we now know as Glenmerry, where he grew hay.

In 1950, the city sought more buildable land for its growing population and George sold 40 acres to the city.

The word “Glenmerry” is actually derived from the town of Glenone, Ireland, native home of Sam Barkley (another land owner in Glenmerry) and the Merry family.

In 1952, the city held a contest to determine the name of this new, modern neighbourhood.

Two participants submitted “Glenmerry,” earning themselves $10 each (equivalent to roughly $120 today).

George’s son, D.B., whose First World War letters we’ve shared here, expanded the business further, opening mills throughout the West Kootenay.

His businesses were influential in the development of the region, including the formation of Casino and the incorporation of the Village of Warfield.

His retail business brought him more prominence. He eventually partnered with Stuart Mitchell and Merry’s Lumber Co. became Merry-Mitchell’s.

The museum collection houses many a branded yardstick from this store!

The business eventually became Arrow Building Supply and was torn down in the mid-2000s.

The building is decorated here, quite appropriately, for Christmas.

What better name to spread the Christmas spirit?

Thanks to D.B.’s granddaughters, Betty Anne and Lynn, for this beautiful image, now part of the archival photograph collection.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Read more: Ceremony honours Trail airman, 17, and 22 others killed in Second World War

Read more: Remembering a young man from Trail who went to war and never came home

Read more: Keepers of history: Trail Legion remembers every day

Read more: Long-lost poem recounts life of an air gunner

Read more: ‘Hero Trail’ poem honours warship named after the City of Trail

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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