British Columbia

Historic Condill Hotel to be demolished in Fort St. John, B.C.

City councillor and local history buff Larry Evans shares stories about hotel

Clare Hennig - CBC News

October 04, 2017

The Condill Hotel was the life of the party in downtown Fort St. John after it was built in 1942. Here it's seen in the 1960s. (Fort St. John North Peace Museum)

The Condill Hotel started in part as a place for workers to sleep during the construction of the Alaska Highway, but over the last 75 years it's become much more than just an overnight resting spot in Fort St. John, B.C.

The city purchased the hotel in a $870,00 deal earlier this year and plans to demolish the building as part of a redevelopment plan for the downtown area. Once the building comes down, by the end of the year, the lot will go on the market as development land.

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Larry Evans, a city councillor and local history buff, is doing his best to share the hotel's history before the iconic building disappears.

"As long as it's not there to remind people, they slowly forget it. Ten years, probably three quarters of the town won't realize that it was ever there," Evans told CBC host of Radio West Sarah Penton.  

The Condill Hotel in downtown Fort St. John is seen here as it looks before demolition slated for the end of 2017. (Google Street View)

Hotel history

Fortunately, Evans said, the museum has a lot of archival footage and information about the hotel on file.

The hotel was built in 1942 and quickly became a gathering point for the community, Evans said.

"It became the place to be," Evans said. "Even then, it had running water — hot water. They opened it to the public and you could go in there to have a bath for 75 cents."

A cafe and dining room were later added in the late 1940s and early 1950s, he said, drawing people in for events and parties.

Throughout the decades, it attracted different crowds of people from oil rig workers to hippies but eventually fell into disrepair, Evans said.  

"We took our chance and bought it," he said. "It had reached its life. We were questioned on whether or not there was any historical value to it but to be able to restore it — we don't have the time, effort or money."

Instead, Evans and others in the community are trying to share as many stories about the hotel as possible.

Evans will be recounting the hotel's early days, alongside a presentation with old photographs and slides, at the North Peace Museum on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 5.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio segment below:

Click to show more
The Condill Hotel started in part as a place to sleep for American soldiers during the construction of the Alaska Highway but, over the last 75 years, has become much more than just an overnight resting spot in Fort St. John, B.C.  8:57

With files from Radio West

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