Description of Historic Place
The General Warehouse is a large rectangular, two-storey, hipped roof with wooden shingles, exposed log structure with the main entrance on the long (south) side. An entrance on the west elevation links the building with the tramway and wharf on the lake. The warehouse consists of two large rooms, one on the ground level and one upstairs. The warehouse is a dominant and striking structure located among five other buildings, which are connected by a series of fences, boardwalks, gardens and spaces within the Fort St. James National Historic Park. These buildings were built between 1884 and 1889 as part of a general renewal of the facilities at the fort. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The General Warehouse is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations and its architectural and environmental values.
The General Warehouse is an excellent example of a typical fur-trading establishment in the history of the West Coast region and belongs to the largest extant grouping of wooden fur trade buildings in Canada. The General Warehouse and its companion structures are associated with the development of the Fur Trade in Canada. The General Warehouse, a significant trading center for receiving and sending both furs and trade goods along with the other buildings are all related to the central role Fort St. James played in the region as an administrative center.
The General Warehouse is an excellent and one of the finest large-scale examples of Red River Frame architecture in Canada. Its design is representative of the Hudson Bay style, which drew its form and massing from the British Classical tradition. The warehouse is characterized by its striking form and presence, and in its original materials and construction system.
The General Warehouse reinforces the present character of Fort St. James, which has been restored to represent the interdependent historic arrangement of boardwalks, fences, gardens, open fields, and buildings, which contribute to the function and character of the park. The General Warehouse’s striking scale and placement within the complex as a whole gives it prominence as an integral element of the fort’s cultural landscape. Its identity is maintained through the site’s general flat topography and the building’s relationship to the water and tree enclosure distinct from the adjacent modern community, to which it is well known as a National Historic Site.
Margaret Coleman, 5 Buildings, Fort St. James., Fort St. James National Historic Park, Fort St. James, British Columbia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 89-113; General Warehouse, Fort St. James National historic Site, Fort St. James, British Columbia, Heritage Character Statement 89-113.
The character defining elements of the General Warehouse should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of the fur-trade industry in Canada.
Its excellent Red River Frame construction, form and massing of British Classical tradition and original materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
-the building’s large, rectangular massing and strong, simple forms.
-its framed log structure.
-its hip-roof and cladding.
-its exposed log detailing and the technique of squared upright logs and filler logs.
-the symmetrically placed windows.
-its interior open spaces.
The manner in which the General Warehouse reinforces the present character of Fort St. James and its historical setting with its striking scale and placement within the complex as a whole and through its known distinct identity from the adjacent modern community.