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Answer Man: reader wants to know the story behind the old Fort House on Fortune Drive

Fort House on Fortune Drive.

Fort House on Fortune Drive.

Dear Answer Man,

Question markRe: the Fort House. Is there any historical significance to this large home at the corner of Fort and Fortune? As it is located near the reported landing of the Overlanders we used to hear rumours that it would have future heritage designation. Not sure of the present use or ownership.

HELEN McLEAN

Dear Helen,

The Fort House at 300 Fortune Drive is often the subject of curiosity and sometimes a mistaken assumption that it was part of Fort Kamloops. While it is located on the site of one of the Fort Kamloops posts, it isn’t that old.

According to a listing of heritage buildings published by the Kamloops Museum and Archives years ago, the fur-trading post was located there from 1843 to 1862, at which point the Hudson’s Bay Company moved its post to Mission Flats.

Mr. and Mrs. Archie Davis. (Kamloops Museum & Archives)

Mr. and Mrs. Archie Davis. (Kamloops Museum & Archives)

However, the company continued to use the land for agriculture until B.C. Fruitlands bought it in 1906 and subdivided it into lots of five or so acres.

The archives article says many small farms were active in the area until after World War II.

The Fort House was built about 1907 for Archie Davis, a railway employee. The house appears in a 1908 panorama taken of the North Shore but not in a 1906 photo, so the 1907 date is pretty solid.

“The house, a foursquare design with a cottage roof common for that period, was originally located on extensive acreage,” says the heritage-building booklet.

“A.W. Haines operated a dairy farm here about 1912 and had a good herd of Holsteins. Arthur Hatton owned it in 1946.”

The house has operated as a rooming house for many years. The current owner has declined a request from the Kamloops Heritage Commission to put a plaque on it.

The commission will be mounting several North Shore cultural heritage plaques, and one denoting the location of the old Fort Kamloops will be erected across the street from the Fort House on Fortune Drive.

Thanks to Robb Gilbert, the archivist at Kamloops Museum and Archives, and Andrew Yarmie, chair of the heritage commission, for teaming up to provide this information for the Answer Man to pass along.

ANSWER MAN

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About Mel Rothenburger (9236 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on Answer Man: reader wants to know the story behind the old Fort House on Fortune Drive

  1. Hello … I attended music lessons in that house for many years in the 1960’s … taught by Mrs. Francis. The music studio was just inside the front door and to the left.

  2. I love the old house but it’s always so sad to drive by and see that it isn’t appreciated. Also sad that the owner won’t allow a plaque to be placed on the house. I would be proud to have the honour if it were mine.

  3. Looks like it used to be a nice house. If that is the one at Fortune & Fort, now it is a rooming house, owned by one of Kamloops biggest slum lords.

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