Burns Building - Nelson, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 29.530 W 117° 17.589
11U E 478770 N 5482211
Quick Description: Pat Burns, the Alberta Beef Baron, built this building at 560 Baker Street in 1899 to serve as his Kootenay area headquarters.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 9/6/2020 2:43:59 PM
Waymark Code: WM1337E
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
Pat may have been just showing off when he commissioned this building, but if he was, we are now happy that he did, as this is the most highly "decorated" building in Nelson's downtown core. Its façade is more worthy of a church than a butcher shop.

This was, indeed, a butcher shop and meat storage facility for the first decades of its life. As well, it later housed such diverse enterprises as confectioneries and banks.

Senator Patrick Burns, settler, rancher, businessman, and politician, was born July 6, 1856 near Oshawa, Upper Canada. He died February 24, 1937 in Calgary, Alberta.

Very successful as an entrepreneur, Burns grew wealthy in the beef industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s, beginning as a cattle buyer in 1885. In 1887 he was contracted to supply meat to Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) camps during the construction of various railways in Canada and the US. He established a mobile slaughterhouse, following the camps as they progressed cross country. In 1890 he opened his first slaughterhouse in Calgary, near the Elbow River. Shortly after, he began to expand into mining areas of British Columbia, eventually constructing retail outlets in mining camps as each appeared, like mushrooms, on the landscape of the southern interior. When the Klondike Gold Rush took hold in 1897 Burns was there to supply meat to the hungry miners.

To assure a steady supply of meat for his slaughterhouses and butcher shops, Burns started a cattle ranch southeast of Olds, AB. By 1904 the ranch held between 20,000 and 30,000 head of cattle and in 1898 Burns diversified into mutton and pork. In 1902 Burns bought the ranch of William Roper Hull, at Fish Creek, just south of Calgary, enlarging the property from 4,000 to about 12,500 acres and building a feedlot for 5,000 head of cattle. Continuing to expand, by the beginning of World War I, Burns controlled more than 400,000 acres.

In 1905 Burns incorporated as P. Burns and Company, which, in 1909, would become P. Burns and Company Limited. In the next few years he built packing houses in Edmonton, Vancouver, Regina, Prince Albert, SK., Winnipeg, and Seattle, as well as export agencies in London, Liverpool, and Yokohama, Japan.

In 1927 Burns purchased the famous Bar U Ranch, now a National Historic Site, and the neighbouring Flying E, both in the foothills of Southern Alberta. In 1928 P. Burns and Company Limited was sold to the Dominion Securities Corporation of Toronto, with Burns retaining the ranching properties consisting of 300,000 acres of deeded and leased land and 25,000 head of cattle.

Though spectacularly successful in the beef industry, Burns was less successful in other ventures, such as a creamery in Seattle, mining ventures in Rossland and other British Columbia coal towns and a coalmine near Sheep Creek, AB.
Burns Building
The Burns Building is a highly decorative rectangular masonry building with arched doorways and windows and a prominent cornice located on Baker Street in the downtown area of Nelson, B.C.

The Burns Block is important for its historical and aesthetic values.

Designed for Patrick Burns, a Western Canada cattle entrepreneur, the building served as the Kootenay headquarters for the P. Burns Company and housed one of the most comprehensive butcher shops in Canada. It is an example of the importance of business development in the city which was becoming prosperous through the mining industry and a regional centre. It is an example of the provision of businesses and services to meet consumer needs in areas of the province which were developing through railways, mining, shipping and other industries at the turn of the twentieth century; two stores on ground floor included Wallace & Miller and P. Burns & Co.

The building is important for its architectural design attributed to A.E. Hodgins and Alexander Carrie, both of whom were architects of note in Nelson during this time period. Its impressive Italianate design and use of materials is suitable for a company headquarters, while at the same time, the building was practically designed to facilitate retail through its attractive storefront, and storage appropriate for a butcher and meat shop, with a purpose built cold storage facility designed by Francis Rattenbury located on the second floor.

The building is notable for its use of materials and exterior detailing. Marble for the building was supplied by the West Kootenay Brick and Lime Company; other materials include ordinary brick, pressed brick and terra cotta. Ornamental details of note include decorative terra cotta panels, decorative window panels, and ornate cornice, while over the entranceway is the date stone with sculpted steer head, an obvious reference to Burns’ business.
From the City of Nelson Heritage Register, Page 91
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

560 Baker Street
Nelson, BC
V1L 4H9

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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