The Barton building is located on the west side of the 600 block of Second Avenue near the north end of Fernie’s downtown commercial district.
For many years this building was home to Barton’s, a business that in the beginning specialized in musical instruments and phonographs but soon expanded to include sewing machines and bicycles. William Barton, the proprietor, began his working life at the age of ten in the coal mines of England. In March 1896 at the age of 23, he left his homeland to seek his fortune in the west and spent a little time at Great Falls, Montana before pushing on into Canada. Bill’s parents, brothers and sisters soon joined him and the whole family settled in Fernie in March 1900. Bill and his father worked in the mines until the Coal Creek mine explosion of 1902, at which point the family returned to England. But Bill was unsatisfied, and returned to his life in Fernie in 1907. He started his business career in 1909 as agent for the Singer Sewing Machine company and created a display area in the front rooms of his residence on 3rd (Pellatt) Avenue. He moved the business into this building in August, 1915. In 1917 Mr. Barton became agent for the Gourlay Piano Company and soon opened his new music store featuring a full selection of string and reed instruments. The store operated under the Barton name until the early 1970’s.
The Barton building has a long history associated with a well known family business in Fernie. This building is certainly one of the best examples of period one storey commercial architecture in the historic downtown area.