Rossland City Hall and Fire Hall
The Old Firehall
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Rossland City Hall / Fire Hall is a two-storey red brick institutional building situated on two city lots near the northwest corner of Queen Street and First Avenue, in the historic downtown of Rossland, B.C. It has three arched bays at street level on its southern facade, and a prominent hose/bell tower on its southeastern corner.
The Rossland City Hall / Fire Hall is recognized for its historic, social, and aesthetic value as one of the Rossland's oldest municipal buildings and one of B.C.'s oldest fire halls.
The heritage site is valued for its landmark status representing the sense of civic duty and community pride that are central to Rossland's identity. Fire protection was one of key issues behind the push to incorporate the city (1897) and was the most important item of business for the newly elected Council, April 1897. A vision was expressed for a community-funded, co-located fire hall and city hall, as neither entity existed at the time. The building was opened in 1901 for use by both the fire department and the city hall (located on the upper floor). The heritage site serves as a reminder of the series of devastating fires that consumed much of the established Downtown, such as Spokane Street - 1902, Columbia Avenue south side - 1927 and Columbia Avenue north side - 1929, and of the firefighters who fought to ensure more of the city's wood frame buildings were saved in each event.
The heritage site is valued for its continued use as a municipal building for over 80 years and is a testament to the enduring qualities that this purpose-built structure possessed allowing it to support its original function through many technological changes in both firefighting and public administration throughout the decades.
Additional value lies in the attempt to convert the building into the first Provincial Firefighters' Museum. Driven by the community, the inspiration to create a provincial museum in one of the oldest surviving fire halls in the province resulted in over a decade of advocacy and fundraising and six years of major restoration and rehabilitation work, including the reconstitution of the hose/bell tower, between 1988 and 1993 which prolonged the life of the building and reinforced its position as one of the most significant structures in the city's history.
Heritage value also lies in the heritage site's aesthetic qualities such as its brick material, formal design and large scale that reflect the modern and growing city that Rossland was at the turn of the twentieth century. Rossland was able to afford to protect itself with a top-notch fire service as evident in the physical qualities of the site.
The elements that define the character of the Rossland City Hall / Fire Hall include its:
- Original prominent corner location in Rossland's historic downtown core
- Institutional and municipal use for over 80 years, from 1900 to 1980s
- Situation in the centre of two city lots, with distance from First Avenue on is southern facade to allow for the navigation of fire equipment in and out of the vehicle bays
- Two-storey red brick construction, with original window, door, and vehicle bay openings that speak to its use as a fire hall
- Grand scale and formal institutional design expressing its institutional and municipal function
- Prominent hose-drying/bell tower on the southeastern facade
- Presence of the original fire bell in the tower
- Row of tall windows on upper storey
- Two-storey arched entrance to the former city hall on eastern elevation
- Surviving original windows and doors
- Surviving evidence of the changing nature of firefighting technology over time, such as remnants of horse-drawn technology, to automotive fire engine use, to the change to an electronic siren alarm system
- Surviving evidence of the use of the upper storeys of the building as City Hall, including the vault
- Signage identifying the building as the fire hall and city hall
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Eating or Drinking Establishment
- Fire Station
- Town or City Hall
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Rossland - Rossland Heritage Commission
Cross-Reference to Collection