Rossland exhibit will highlight heritage buildings

The Rossland Heritage Commission will be putting on an exhibit next week that will highlight heritage buildings in the community.

The former West Kootenay Power and Light Company’s residence

Next week is Heritage Week, an event celebrated across B.C., with a theme this year of Heritage Homes and Neighbourhoods.

Rossland still has many homes that date back to the late 1890s and early 1900s, a time when the community was a world renowned gold mining center.

Jackie Drysdale, chair of the Rossland Heritage Commission said the homes were often grouped in distinct neighborhoods based on ethnicity and/or employment.

The commission will be showing off their inventory at an exhibition going from Feb. 19 -21.

The exhibition focuses on the homes and neighborhoods of Rossland and will be at the Rossland Gallery from 1-5 p.m. on each of the days.

“We have an inventory of heritage homes in Rossland, but it was done in 1986, so it is almost 30 years old,” Drysdale said. “They are hard copies with pictures. The Heritage Commission wants to produce a new inventory, and produce it electronically, so it could be off a website that people could visit more easily.”

She said there have also been changes to many of the buildings in the 30 years. The original inventory was also done at a time when it was common to place a numerical value on a building based on its condition and significance and so on.

“That’s not in so much in vogue anymore,” she said. “It’s the significance of the building and the history that is the story of the people who lived there, and that’s what really captures people’s interest. It is the story behind the buildings and the sites.”

Drysdale said she hopes this is the start of the process to building a new inventory.

“The first one was done with grant money which no longer exists at all,” she said.

The exhibition will be showcasing the 1986 Rossland Inventory of Heritage Homes binders, as well as maps of the historic neighbourhoods of Rossland that people can take, and a display of archival research material at the museum that people can access if they want to research their own homes.

The commission will also be taking comments, new information and suggestions from the public. In addition, the Heritage Commission will be serving tea and cake, the way it used to be done, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on each of the three days.

Drysdale also noted the difference between heritage and history.

“The interesting thing is that heritage and history keep getting used interchangeably,” she said. “Heritage refers to things that are in situ – visual reminders of the past. The heritage commission deals with buildings. Museums are a sort of repository of artifacts at a location. When we value a site or a building we look at it for not only its historical significance, but also its cultural, social (significance). It’s not simply because it’s old, you have to find the significance to the community.”

The Rossland Gallery, located in the Bank Room of the Bank of Montreal building is itself a heritage gem for the community and the February showing of art works will add additional interest for the visitors that come by next week, Drysdale noted.

No admission fee for the exhibits will be charged but donations are appreciated, said Drysdale.


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