The Dragon's Den - Penticton, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 30.052 W 119° 35.553
11U E 312293 N 5486367
Quick Description: Three individual buildings, the Dragon's Den heritage site contains the first two concrete block buildings to be erected in Penticton.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 9/27/2021 1:54:01 PM
Waymark Code: WM151J2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
PIC The Dragon's Den heritage site is actually three separate buildings, now surrounding a courtyard. The building fronting Front Street and the one fronting Backstreet Boulevard were built of concrete blocks, while the third, at the northeast corner of the trio, is of wood frame construction. The two buildings not on Front Street were primarily residential buildings, though they also periodically served in a retail capacity.

When built, the two buildings behind Front Street were known as the Imperial Rooms. The two storey wood frame building in the northeast corner is the oldest of the three, having been built in 1907. The two concrete block buildings followed in 1911. Much of the heritage value of these latter two lies in the fact that they were the first two concrete block buildings to be erected in Penticton.

Today the Front Street building houses Dragon's Den, an Arts & Crafts Supplies store in the north half, and Something Pretty Fashion & Accessories Boutique in the south half, with apartments above. In 2017 Dragon's Den marked its 30th Anniversary. Prior to 1987 the building has been hotel, restaurant, barbershop, rooming house, and various retail shops, not to mention a teen disco in the late '70s.

The concrete block building facing Backstreet Boulevard presently houses Pedego Electric Bikes Canada, a vendor and renter of electric bikes, on the main floor, with apartments above. The wood frame building to its north is now an apartment building. Together, these were originally known as the Murk Block, after builder and owner of the complex, Henry Murk.

Dragon's Den
Description of Historic Place:
The Dragon's Den is comprised of three buildings of mixed commercial and residential use located between Front Street, Westminster Avenue and Penticton Creek in Penticton, British Columbia. The two concrete buildings are two stories in height and constructed of concrete blocks; one faces Front Street and the other faces Westminster Avenue and Penticton Creek. The wooden building is two stories in height and faces Penticton Creek. All three buildings are connected by an internal courtyard.

Heritage Value:
The Dragon's Den buildings have historic value as examples of the multi-purpose commercial structures built during Penticton's early civic phase of development and commercial activities.

The two concrete buildings in this complex were the first cement block commercial buildings erected and one of five masonry 'fire-proof' buildings erected in Penticton in 1911. They are representative of the building boom experienced in the area prior to World War I. These first non-wooden buildings were indicative of the confidence shown by the developers of Penticton's emerging role as a key transportation hub for the southern interior in the period leading up to the opening of the Kettle Valley Railroad.

The concrete building facing Front Street was designed for two street level stores with offices or boarding rooms above. The concrete building at the rear was built as rental rooms for single men. The buildings had many commercial and residential uses over the years, including a hotel, barbershop, pool rooms, restaurants, rooming house, and various retail shops. These uses are representative of the stages of economic and cultural development in Penticton, and a reflection of the enduring commercial role of Front Street.

The wooden building pre-dates the two concrete buildings and was severed off from 18 Front Street by legal survey in 1912 when the owner of the complex, Henry Murk, sold the remainder of the lot to Mr. C.A.C. Steward for a theatre. Its wooden vernacular architecture with its double hung windows is representative of many early commercial structures built on Front Street.

The buildings are also notable for their association with Henry Murk, a pioneer of the Okanagan Valley since the mid-1880s. Murk was a barber by trade, but also an entrepreneur involved in a number of commercial ventures, typical of the resourceful and opportunistic men that made up the civic leadership and developers of this period in Penticton's history. Murk was a member of Penticton's first City Council, a police constable, builder, land speculator and investor in commercial enterprises.

The Dragon's Den is also noted for its proximity to and association with Penticton's historic Chinese community during World War I and the 1920s, when it was operated by a string of Chinese businessmen. Being in the vicinity of Penticton's Chinatown, its Chinese proprietors employed Chinese workers and housed them in the wooden building at the rear.

Aesthetically, the Dragon's Den buildings are valued as good examples of early Edwardian commercial buildings in Penticton, characterized by their simple forms and symmetrical features. The building facing Front Street has a recessed entrance with display windows and is representative of Late Victorian storefronts.

Character-Defining Elements:
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Dragon's Den include its:
  • juxtaposition of the three buildings, fronting on two streets and connected by an internal courtyard
  • concrete block construction
  • recessed commercial entrance and display windows fronting Front Street
  • 1911 dated stone
  • cast iron posts on Front Street façade
  • multi-light store windows on the main floor Front Street façade
  • cornice on the Front Street façade
  • recessed/embossed panels below the windows on the Front Street façade
  • Westminster façade of rusticated concrete
  • angled façade and five-sides on the Westminster Ave building
  • acute angle of the south east corner of the wooden building reflecting historic land uses
  • two rows of double hung windows on the first and second story of the wooden building

  • From Historic Places Canada
Photo goes Here
Front Street Building
Photo goes Here
Backstreet Boulevard Buildings
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

12 Front Street
Penticton, BC
V2A 1H7

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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