Hastings Sawmill Store

Hastings Sawmill Store
1575 Alma Street
Built: 1865

“Buildings, after all, are living history lessons. They tell us how people once lived and worked.” – Pierre Berton (qtd. in Allen 8)

Vancouver’s Oldest Existing Building
The Hastings Sawmill Store is Vancouver’s oldest existing structure having survived the Great Fire of 1886. In 1865 Edward Stamp built Stamp’s Mill and the store at the north foot of Dunlevy on the south shore of the Burrard Inlet. After a falling out with his English investors it came under new ownership and was renamed the Hastings Mill. Historian W. Kaye Lamb described it as, “the nucleus around which the city of Vancouver grew up in the 1880’s” (qtd. in Davis 1)

Hastings Sawmill Store - Vancouver Public Library

Hastings Sawmill Store - Vancouver Public Library

First General Store
The store was the area’s first general store and later served as a post office, a library and a community center. Early photos show it was built on stilts over the water, having a “boomtown” (wild-west style false front) and horizontal shiplap siding. The current vertical board-and-batten siding is a plausible restoration done sometime in the 1970’s.

Rescued from Demolition
In 1929-30 the mill was demolished and the store was to be ceremonially burned down. However the store’s historical value did not go unnoticed and in 1930 it was rescued by the Native Daughters of B.C. and floated by barge to its current location at Pioneer Park in Kitsilano. It became the B.C. Historical Museum of Relics in 1932 and throughout the years has gained a collection of First Nations baskets and various items from Vancouver’s history.

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