Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Issue 2 Fall 2016 - Page 14

FERNIE’S HERITAGE BUILDINGS – A Downtown Walking Tour CONT’D 2 THE HOME BANK 491 2nd Avenue | Now in use as The Fernie Museum and Visitor Information Centre been altered, the brick and sandstone exterior retains many of its striking original features. Step inside for a taste of today; the Brickhouse serves up a large selection of Fernie Brewing Company Beers, BC wines and a tasty pub menu. The original bank vault is still in use as the chef’s pantry.  4 THE COURT HOUSE 401 4th Ave | Now in use as Fernie’s Government of BC Offices This highly decorative building was constructed in 1910 to house a branch of the Home Bank on the main floor and the Herchmer-Mitchel Law Office on the second floor. Except for the paint, the exterior is in its original configuration making this a significant heritage building. The failure of the Home Bank in 1923 cost Fernie depositors $800,000 and led to a rewriting of Canada’s banking laws. These new rules prevented the widespread bank failures in the 1930s. See p8 for more. 3 THE IMPERIAL BANK 1909 401 2nd Ave | Now in use as The Brickhouse Bar & Grill On August 1, 1908, on the corner of 2nd Ave and 4th St, the members of the Fernie Fire Department made their last stand in the fight of the catastrophic fire that would consume Fernie in just 90 minutes. The Imperial Bank of Canada built a new bank here in 1909, using a standard small city branch design. The company merged with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1961 and closed the branch in 1963.  Although some features have 14 Lauded as one of BC’s best buildings, the Court House is a spectacular chateau-style building rarely found in the area. Enjoy the grounds and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. 5 HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC CHURCH 521 4th Avenue The history of the church dates back to the beginning of Fernie when Father J. Welsh was sent from Cranbrook to hold masses for approximately 200 miners in 1898. Some of these miners donated one day’s wages every month towards the construction of a place of worship and volunteer parishioners completed this church in 1912. It was and still is home to Fernie’s largest congregation.