Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper (right) greets driver Brian Keith and his daughter, Janine Keith, in Brian’s 1915 Ford Model T at the 100th birthday celebration of Armstrong City Hall Thursday. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Armstrong city hall turns 100

City hosts party including tour of facility that once housed - and they remain - two jail cells

In December 1916, the Province of British Columbia informed the then-three-year-old City of Armstrong and then-24-year-old Township of Spallumcheen that they wanted to install a jail in Armstrong.

If the two municipalities could build a city hall with jail cells in quick fashion, the province would give them the land to build the facility.

Plans for a municipal hall/jail at Lot 7, corner of what is now Bridge Avenue in the city, began in 1918 and the facility was completed in 1919. Not only did the city and township have a new municipal hall, but Const. Abe Warner now had an office and cells.

On Thursday, May 16, the city and township celebrated the 100th anniversary of Armstrong City Hall.

“Before this was built, when Armstrong was first incorporated, they rented an old house to hold council meetings and planned to build a municipal hall,” said current four-term Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper, decked out in top hat, bow tie and 1919 attire, as a party was held under a slight rainfall.

Many residents came by to celebrate with the Armstrong Lions Club providing hamburgers and smokies, and a large white cake from Country Bakery was cut for dessert. Without question, one of the big highlights was a tour of city hall, complete with a stop at the two cells. One is still open, the other is used for city hall storage.

READ ALSO: Armstrong ready to Paint The Town

Former Armstrong Mayors Eric Hornby and Jerry Oglow were among the attendees.

Asked if he ever spent a night in the bunk beds in the jail cells in the basement, Oglow laughed but did confess to sleeping in his corner office a few time.

“I have a lot of fond memories of this old girl,” said Oglow, looking at the building.

The cost to build the facility in 1918-19 was $3,100.

The township shared the facility until its office was built in 1985.

Pieper said the future of the current city hall is on council’s radar.

READ ALSO FROM 2017: City hall debates city hall’s future

“No plans have been drawn for a new building but we have to improve the standard of the city hall,” he said. “When a building reaches 100 years old, the plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and structural integrity cost a lot of money.

“We are planning an analysis on building a new city hall and we hope to involve the community to see what they want for the next 100 years.”



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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