Chilliwack Museum puts call out for historic photos

Chilliwack Museum and Archive staff hoping to find unseen photographs of interior of old city hall

The Chilliwack Museum building

The Chilliwack Museum building

The original Chilliwack City Hall on Spadina Avenue has been a great source of local pride for more than 100 years.

And the staff at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, which now calls the building home, is hoping that a few residents out there have been holding onto old photographs of it. The City of Chilliwack and the Museum and Archives have received a $15,000 federal grant to complete a conservation plan.

The plan will serve as a road map for conserving the historic landmark for generations to come, said Matthew Francis, executive director.

There are some specific years they are looking for, to fill in the gaps in their collection. In particular, they are looking for photos between 1912 and 1987. They are also hoping to see photographs of the inside of the building, both inside the city hall and specifically inside the historic city council chambers (the large upper room).

The building is a federally-designated National Historic Site of Canada, set apart by its heritage value and character-defining elements.

Francis says they are hoping people will spend some time going through older photo albums and talking to their parents or grandparents about possible photographs. Putting the photographs together can help staff document how the space was truly built and set up, and will complement the historic blueprints and other archival material.

Canada’s Historic Places website describes the stunning white building as built in the “classical Beaux-Arts style.”

It is the only pre-1930 Canadian municipal hall built entirely of reinforced concrete, and is unusual in its classically-inspired styling.

It was designed by architect Thomas Hooper, built by J.C. Anderson, and originally housed police and courtroom facilities, along with council chambers and civic offices. It was the city hall until 1980.

If you have photographs of the building that may help the Museum and Archives in their conservation efforts, in any format, contact Matthew Francis, executive director, at 604-795-5210 ext. 101 or email him at matthew@chilliwackmuseum.ca.