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The George Millen House
22 Hanson Street

The George Millen House

Front (Hanson) Street had just been opened when Lucinda Cushing bought the first lot from Nancy Louisa Scott, in April 1871. This lot extends up to the creek. That autumn, she sold the half of the land nearest the creek and kept the portion on Front Street. She was married to George Henry Millen, the engineer who made his career at the E. B. Eddy Company and eventually became its president.

Lucinda and George Millen were from Glens Falls, New York. He was born on October 23, 1838 and she on December 29, 1843. They immigrated to Canada in 1866. He came to work at the E. B. Eddy sawmill. Their daughter Annette was born in 1864 in the United States, but Charles, Charlotte (Lottie) and Walter were born in this house in 1872, 1880 and 1884, respectively.

According to John Taylor, joint shareholder and president of E. B. Eddy, Millen applied for the position of saw filer in 1866 at Eddy's small sawmill. They had a long discussion, because Millen would not accept the salary offered him. As he was about to leave, Eddy called him back. According to the story, Eddy said he would pay him in gold and offered him the position of manager. But this seems a rather fanciful tale, because Millen was a mechanical engineer who played a key role in the development of machinery for E. B. Eddy. Several patents granted to the company bear his name. In 1886, when E. B. Eddy transformed his industry into a public company, Millen was one of the first chairmen of the board of directors of the E. B. Eddy Manufacturing Company. Before he died, Eddy appointed Millen as one of his executors and left him 200 shares in the company.

Millen invented more than company machines. In October 1895, he built a tricycle that ran on naphtha and he rode down Main Street at the "insane" speed of 32 kilometres an hour. Eddy did not enjoy his first ride on this "diabolical machine".

Millen became president of the company in 1915 and retained this position until his death on November 3, 1928. If he was admired for all his inventions, he was held in contempt by the citizens of Hull, especially by the allumettières (labourers living in "matchstick houses") during the strikes of 1919 and 1924, when his stance and that of the board of directors disgusted the population. But Millen was no worse than other manufacturers of his day. Unions were in their infancy and the allumettières were deceived as much by the Catholic Union as by the industrial bosses.

The family left this house in 1908 when Millen bought the large home of E. B. Eddy's after his death on February 10, 1906. This house was located at the corner of Main (du Portage) and Montcalm Streets. After the death of Millen, his heirs sold the big house to the hotelier Arthur Myre and his colleagues, who converted it into a hotel. It was then known as Standish Hall, and is now the Holiday Inn Plaza La Chaudière.

In the meantime, Lucinda Cushing, Millen's widow, sold the house on Front Street to the Cushman Presbyterian Church next door. They kept it until 1963. The buyer, J.-Roger Hébert, sold it back to the church the following year. It was subsequently purchased by James William Hall, who kept it until September 1973. Since then, six owners have occupied the building. The house was enlarged recently, but has not lost its charm.