Celebrating Fernie’s heritage buildings
Fernie’s city hall was originally the home of he Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Company. The Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Company was founded in 1897 and chose Fernie as its headquarters because of its location central to their mining activities in Coal Creek, Michel, and Carbonado (Morrissey).
After the wooden buildings, that were home to the original company offices, burned down twice, the general manager G.G.S. Lindsey promised an elegant new office building would be built following incorporation of the city.
By May 1905, the cement blocks were on the site and the date for laying the cornerstone was set for June 20.
In celebration, this date was declared a general holiday for the employees, and Mrs. Lindsey laid the cornerstone marked ‘1905’ using a silver trowel.
There was some disappointment that William Fernie was unable to attend and officiate, as he had been instrumental in laying the foundation for the company. As part of the ceremonies, the Engineer H.B. Wright deposited a time capsule under the cornerstone containing period currency coins, company records, the first and current issues of The Free Press, the 1902 souvenir issue and the current copy of the Fernie Ledge.
Fire-proof masonry structures had become the trend in building, and not only did this building survive the Great Fire of 1908, but it also served the community as a place of refuge during and after the fire.
It remained occupied solely by the Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Company until 1984, when the building became Fernie’s City Hall.