Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Winter 2020-21 Edition - Page 7

FERNIE ’ S HERITAGE BUILDINGS – A Downtown Walking Tour CONT ’ D
2 HOW FOON ’ S LAUNDRY 491 1st Avenue | Now in use as Fernie Elks Lodge
4 THE IMPERIAL BANK 1909 401 2nd Ave | Now in use as The Brickhouse Bar & Grill
The Chinese entrepreneur How Foon established several businesses in this building constructed in 1908 . He ran a café , laundry and shoemaking shop on the main floor and rented apartments upstairs . The Fernie Elks Club purchased the building and removed the dividing walls to open the interior for use as a hall . The exterior surface , though , retains its original outline and the original advertising mural for ‘ Royal Crown Soap .’ Across 5th street at The 1909 Royal Hotel , note the tops of the filled-in windows along the base of the building indicating that the street was once lower than it is today .
3 THE HOME BANK 491 2nd Avenue | Now in use as The Fernie Museum
On August 1 , 1908 , on the corner of 2nd Ave and 4th St , the members of the Fernie Fire Department made their last stand in the fight of the catastrophic fire that would consume Fernie in just 90 minutes . The Imperial Bank of Canada built a new bank here in 1909 , using a standard small city branch design . The company merged with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1961 and closed the branch in 1963 . Although some features have been altered , the brick and sandstone exterior retains many of its striking original features . Step inside for a taste of today ; the Brickhouse serves up a large selection of Fernie Brewing Company Beers , BC wines and a tasty pub menu . The original bank vault is still in use as the chef ’ s pantry .
5 THE COURT HOUSE 401 4th Ave | Now in use as Fernie ’ s Government of BC Offices
This highly decorative building was constructed in 1910 to house a branch of the Home Bank on the main floor and the Herchmer-Mitchel Law Office on the second floor . Except for the paint , the exterior is in its original configuration making this a significant heritage building . The failure of the Home Bank in 1923 cost Fernie depositors $ 800,000 and led to a rewriting of Canada ’ s banking laws . These new rules prevented the widespread bank failures in the 1930s .
Built between 1909-1911 and lauded as one of BC ’ s best buildings , the Court House is a spectacular chateau-style building rarely found in the area . The majestic courtroom with stained glass windows is still in use today . Enjoy the grounds and beautiful views .
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