Historical Walking Tour of Kaslo

S.S. Moyie - Front Street Waterfront

The S.S. Moyie is the oldest intact passenger sternwheeler in the world and a National Historic Site. The S.S. Moyie was launched on December 7, 1898. Its first job was to meet the Crow´s Nest Pass Railway from southern Alberta to Kootenay Landing at the southern end of Kootenay Lake and bring its passengers to Nelson. It continued this run until 1906 when the faster SS Kuskanook took over. After that it travelled all over Kootenay Lake and played a very important role in the development of Kaslo and the surrounding area. The S.S. Moyie is one of the most significant preserved steam passenger vessels in North America. When the Moyie was retired in 1957, after a 59-year career with the Canadian Pacific Railway´s BC Lake and River Service, she was the last operating passenger sternwheeler in Canada. The S.S. Moyie has been lovingly restored and preserved through the efforts of the Kootenay Lake Historical Society. It is open for tours from mid May to mid October.

331 Front St. - The 1896 Building

This was one of the first buildings in Kaslo to be made of bricks from the Millington Brothers Brick and Tile Yard in upper Kaslo. It originally housed a confectionery and bakery.

344 Front Street - White Goat Gallery

This building is noted for its tin “battlements.” It was built in 1894 by Henry Giegerich after its predecessor was destroyed by fire and for many years housed the “Big G”, the store of Byers, Giegerich and Green. During the Second World War the building housed the Japanese Canadian´s school while they were interned in Kaslo. There were so many students that the younger classes attended during the day and the senior classes in the evenings.

404 Front Street - The Kootenaian Building

Completed in 1896, the west side housed The Kootenaian newspaper until 1962 while the east side housed the Bank of Montreal and later a series of restaurants.

430 Front Street - The Kaslo Hotel

Built in 1896, the original Kaslo Hotel was considered very grand for its time. Kaslo was a bustling community of 5,000 residents with silver and lead mining. Occasionally a little gold was found. Over the years, the busy mining industry declined, as did the population of Kaslo. The hotel fell into disrepair and closed in the 1920´s, and then was acquired by the village for non-payment of taxes. It was utilized from 1942 to 1945 as accommodation for Japanese-Canadian internees being relocated from western British Columbia. At one point, about 200 individuals, including many children, were housed in the structure. The hotel was torn down in 1951.

A new Kaslo Hotel was constructed in 1955 and opened in 1958 on the original site overlooking Kootenay Lake. It operated almost continuously, changing its name to the Mariner Hotel in 1977. The hotel was closed for extensive renovation in 2006, and opened again to guests in early 2009 as the Kaslo Hotel and Brew Pub.

Front Street Business Section

Many of the early buildings in this area had high false fronts and some included small balconies that hung over the street. Evidence of this historical architecture is still visible all along the street. The Landmark Bakery and Treehouse Restaurant are excellent restoration examples. Erik´s Meat Market, a barber shop in the early 1900s, has been a family run meat market for over 65 years.

312 Fourth Street - Kemball Memorial Centre

Formerly referred to as the Queen, the Courthouse or the Provincial Government Building, Kemball Memorial Centre was purchased and renamed by the Village of Kaslo in 2008. The cornerstone for this building was laid on Coronation Day, June 22, 1911. It is named for Lt. Col. A.H.G. Kemball who led the 54th Kootenay Battalion at the battle for Vimy Ridge in World War I. His commemoration plaque is to the left of the front door. The accents on the building originated from a local marble quarry. The Kootenay Lake Archives are located in
the basement of this building.

409 A Ave. - The Old Fire Hall

Built in 1894, this building once housed the city council chambers and the police court. In 1898, it became the Fire Hall. It now houses the Victorian Hospital Auxiliary´s Thrift Shop.

447 A. Ave. - The Langham Cultural Centre

Erected in 1896, the Langham Hotel rented rooms in shifts for $1.00 - bring your own bedding. The longest bar in the area ran from the front of the building to the back and never stopped serving. As the years passed it survived many reincarnations, including as a boat factory, and housed Kaslo´s first bank for a few months in 1897.

During WW II, the Langham housed 80 Japanese Canadian internees. On the third floor you can view a re-creation of the living quarters of a family of Nisei (Canadian citizens of Japanese descent) and discover what it must have been like to live in internal exile in one´s own country. The Japanese Canadian Museum was opened on May 23, 1993 and dedicated to the Japanese Canadians, their courage under adversity and their ability to overcome injustice.

Today, the Langham houses galleries, studios and offices as well as a small theatre that seats 75 and is frequently used for plays, concerts and meetings. During the year the galleries host a variety of art shows and workshops covering a wide spectrum of disciplines.

601 Fifth St. - St. Mark´s Anglican Church

This church, at the junction of Fifth St. and C Ave., was built in 1895 from local materials. The vivid stained glass windows were later shipped from England and locally mounted in their frames. The bell tower is a newer addition with the bell coming from an old steam engine.

447 B Ave.

This heritage home at the corner of 5th St. and B Ave. was built in 1897 and much of the former grace and charm is still evident.

429 B Ave.

Built for Dr. Barclay in the mid 1890s, it boasts ceilings that are 10 ½ feet high. The stained glass in the upper front window is original.

412 B Ave. - The Lodge

Originally built by David Kane it was constructed from two bunkhouses that were moved to the site and joined to form a family home. The “eyebrow dormer” is a notable feature.

413 Fourth St. - Kaslo City Hall

Completed in 1898, the Kaslo City Hall was constructed of local materials at a cost of under $10,000 and remains today a major landmark for the community of Kaslo and an important visitor attraction.

Designated a National Historic Site in 1984, the City Hall is one of only two surviving wood framed municipal halls still in operation in Canada and the oldest remaining municipal hall on the BC mainland.

Kaslo City Hall is a building of prominence and dignity, reminiscent of the civic facilities erected in a number of mining boom towns of the 1800s. This building is, however, particularly distinguished by the attractive character of its second floor courtroom. To walk into that courtroom, with its vaulted ceiling and original wood trim, is to literally step back into time.

The basement, which originally housed the jail cells, vault and village crew work area, now houses the Kaslo and District Public Library.

500 Fourth St. - St. Andrew´s United Church

Kaslo´s first church was built in 1893, in part with funds from the minister´s own mining claim. When the fire and then flood of 1894 hit Kaslo, the church provided shelter for those in need. Originally a Presbyterian Church, it was renamed St. Andrew´s United Church when the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches amalgamated in 1925. It now hosts many community events as well as housing the Kaslo Food Hub in the basement.

240 D Ave.

Formerly known as the Harris House, it was built before the turn of the century and was the site of Kaslo´s first hospital.

301 A Ave. - The Masonic Lodge

Built in the 1890s, it was originally a grocery store and post office. Although the Masonic Order in Kaslo was formed in 1895, it did not meet in this building until a second story was added for their purposes.

312 Third St. - The Molly Brown Building

Originally this was the heart of Kaslo´s red light district. Molly Brown, a local madam, built the house. This is the last remaining of the original bawdy houses located in this area.

Bottom of A Ave. across from Campground - Scout Hall

The former Kaslo Community Hall started life as a fish hatchery. The hatching tanks were inside the building while the growing tanks were outside and across the road where the current campground is located. It is now home to the Kaslo Youth Centre.

625 A. Ave. (Upper Kaslo)

This beautiful heritage home was built in 1894 by the Kanes, a founding family of Kaslo. The late Victorian architectural style incorporates many design elements from the picturesque American Queen Anne style. It has recently undergone extensive renovations.

Kaslo and Area Chamber of Commerce

P.O. Box 329 | Kaslo, B.C. | V0G 1M0
Phone: 250-353-2525 | Email: thekaslochamber@gmail.com

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