Rossland Heritage Buildings
Five years after gold was first discovered in the surrounding mountains, the Rossland Camp became a boom town! Hundreds of claims had been staked, investors were assured that the quantity and quality of the gold deposits warranted the expenses of underground mine development, mining companies were created and the stock markets of London and New York were extremely busy. In 1895, the population exploded and a building construction frenzy was underway.
Wooden structures were rapidly built to accommodate the workers and provide the necessary shops and offices to serve the growing population. Institutional buildings such as schools, churches, fire halls, court houses and entertainment venues, quickly followed and by 1900 Rossland had the appearance of a well developed and serviced City with a population of over 7,000 citizens. Today, Rossland’s Heritage Buildings are those still remaining, in situ, that were primarily constructed in the early part of the gold mining era (which extended to 1929 when commercial mining ceased). Three disastrous fires, in 1902, 1927 and 1929 have destroyed many of the original buildings on Columbia Avenue and Spokane Street but a number do remain - visual reminders of a Downtown that was once the thriving business and social hub of the City and the surrounding area.
There are three federally designated sites. The Red Mountain Mining Site, the Court House and the Miners' Union Hall. The Rossland Court House was designated a national historic site in 1980 because it is highly representative of a distinctive regional form of Canadian court house that emerged in British Columbia during the late 19th century. In 2019, the Miners' Union Hall was also designated a national historic site. This rare surviving example of a union hall in Western Canada was built by Local 38 of the Western Federation of Miners in 1898, when the town of Rossland was experiencing a period of rapid growth as a hard rock mining center. One of the earliest and most influential unions for miners in British Columbia, its fight for fair and safe working conditions led to the establishment of the eight hour work day in 1899 and contributed to the passing of the Conciliation Act of 1900, which provided for voluntary arbitration. See “Rossland’s Official Heritage Register - Buildings” below. Click on a Building name below to see the full details.