At the foot of Alma Street in Point Grey at Pioneer Park is a small wooden structure that is considered to be the oldest existing building in Vancouver. After surviving the fire of 1886, the Old Hasting Mill Store was the only building untouched by the destruction ravaged upon the new city. However, it was slated for destruction in the late 1920's when the land around it was to be developed. After the Great Fire, the building was briefly used as a hospital and morgue for the fire victims. To preserve its historical legacy, the Native Daughters of Vancouver campaigned for the buildings movement to its current location. It was moved by Barge to Pioneer Park where it became a Museum in 1932.
As the Historical plate states, while the building was still at the foot of Dunlevy Street it was Vancouver's first Post Office and later served as a library and then a Community Centre. In 1930 the building was floated to the new site on a barge. In the words of the archivist of that day, “tenderly transported it across the water to this beautiful park and set it down again, for safekeeping, among the flowers.” The Native Daughters of British Columbia now run it as a museum in honour of the Province's early pioneers.
1889 - Drawing of Hastings Mill
1886 - Looking west from the original Location of the Hastings Mill Store
The store is still run by the Native Daughters of Vancouver and is staffed by volunteers from their ranks. The Daughters are a bit of a secret society, founded in 1919 and is Vancouver's oldest Historical Society. In those days, societies were all the rage, and theirs was the answer to the Native Sons of Vancouver Society. They are dedicated to preserving all things historical about Vancouver and are involved in a number of philanthropic endeavors all focusing on conservation, preservation and the constant need for fund-raising. Members profess a reverence for the pioneer virtues of courage, perseverance, sacrifice and charity.
Interior of the museum
Native Daughters span the generations
Wearing their long white robes, these Daughters bring you back to another place and time. A time when Vancouver was in its infancy and could only be optimistic of its rather astonishing future. Thanks to historical societies like this one, we can see the history of the city we now call home; native or not! The Hastings Mill Museum is open:
Summer/Fall Hours: June 15th to Sept. 15th from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Winter/Spring Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed: December and January
There is no admission charge but a donation is requested. It is located at 1575 Alma Street.
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