Description of Historic Place
The Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin is located on a glacier-cleared field bordered by a spruce forest, which slopes down to the shore of Floe Lake, in Kootenay National Park of Canada. It is a simple, well-proportioned, one-storey rectangular log structure built on a rubble stone foundation, and features an asymmetrically-placed entrance door, a gable roof clad with cedar shingles, and a deep porch overhang supported by log posts on freestanding stone piers. The building’s log walls are stained brown with white log butt ends and white window and doors surrounds. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin is associated with the National Parks Warden Service and the enforcement of wildlife and forest protection, as well as the development of tourism in Canada’s National Parks. Designed to provide overnight accommodation for the warden and his horse, the Warden Patrol Cabin was built along one of the patrol trails that formed part of the backcountry transportation and communication network established by the National Park Warden Service to enforce fish and game regulations, and to fight forest fires within the park’s boundaries. The Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin is also associated with the Floe Lake fish-stocking program, and the monitoring of fishing and camping activities in the area, as Floe Lake became a popular destination for hikers and sport fishermen.
The Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin is a good example of the rustic style of architecture and of a traditional backcountry warden patrol cabin design. A well-crafted, horizontal log building with saddle-notched corners, the cabin is constructed of natural, local materials and is characterized by a gable roof clad with cedar shingles, and a deep porch overhang with peeled log purlins and rafters supported by peeled log posts on freestanding stone piers.
Commanding a spectacular view of Floe Lake and the barrier of mountains and glaciers on the opposite shore, the Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin reinforces the picturesque character of this mountain setting. It is located on a glacier-cleared field covered with native grasses, vegetation, and glacial boulders that slopes down to the shore of Floe Lake and is bordered by a mature spruce forest. Due to its spectacular setting, the Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin is a well-known local landmark to hikers and visitors of the park.
Sources: Edward Mills, Warden Patrol Cabin, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 00-111; Warden Patrol Cabin, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement 00-111.
The character-defining elements of the Floe Lake Warden Patrol Cabin should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of the National Parks Warden Service in an era of patrols made on horseback, as well as the development of tourism in Canada’s National Parks is reflected in:
- the building’s standard, rustic design which became part of the architectural character of Canada’s Rocky Mountain park facilities from the 1880s onwards.
Its rustic style, and high quality, local materials and building method as manifested in:
- the simple, well-proportioned composition of this rectangular building which features a medium-pitched gable roof, and a deep overhang supported on log posts above the cabin entrance;
- the formal arrangement of openings consisting of an asymmetrically placed door and a single six-light window on the front elevation, and paired four-light windows centrally located on both side walls;
- the use of natural, local materials such as the tightly scribed, horizontal, peeled log wall construction, the use of peeled logs for the construction of the roof purlins, rafters, verandah supports and railings, and the use of cedar roof shingles;
- the well-executed rustic detailing such as the saddle-notched corners.
The manner in which the building reinforces the picturesque character of the mountain park setting as evidenced in:
- its scenic location on the shoreline of Floe Lake;
- the compatibility of its natural materials and rustic design with this picturesque wilderness setting;
- its visual prominence owing to its location.