St. Catharines Ontario - Canada - Merritt House - CKTB - Oak Hill Gardens
William Hamilton Merritt was a respected veteran of the War of 1812 when he led the construction of the Welland Canal, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
Oak Hill (The Merritt House) was built in 1860 after Merritt’s first house burned due to arson.
The history of this house is nothing short of amazing. Merritt was part of The Refugee Slaves Friends Society. Tunnels, part of the Underground Railway, still exist in the basement.
William died in 1862 and left the house to his son. The Merritt family would keep ownership until 1923.
The Merritt House, St. Catharines, Ontario
The house was donated for use as a military hospital during World War I. This was the first time since 1860 that the Merritt family moved out. They moved back in right after the war.
In 1928, the house was used as an Inn. During this time, the basement tunnels were put to good use. Rumrunners (mobsters) would sneak illegal alcohol into town during Prohibition (the banning of alcohol in the U.S. and Canada).
In 1938 the building was converted into a Radio Station