The roof, the roof, the roof was on fire – at some point in the building’s that make up Cawston Hall.
When workers were ripping off shingles from the roof of the Cawston Hall last week it was discovered some time ago there had been a fire in the building.
“There were burnt roof boards. You can tell quite a bit about a building when you take off the shingles. I don’t know when the fire would have been but there definitely was one at some point,” Glen Pearson of Nelsen Roofing and Scrap Metal in Penticton said while packing up for the day.
Pearson and fellow employee Jared Northrop could also tell that the hall was made of several different buildings put together over time.
“You can tell the additions were done at different times. The construction is different and actually the framing is very different,” he said.
Bob McAtamney, member of the Cawston Hall Society, said he’d heard of a fire before but wasn’t sure when it happened.
But he acknowledged the hall was definitely made of several buildings.
The Cawston Hall is made up of several buildings. The main large hall was built in 1922. A second portion of the building was added in the mid 1950s when the community’s two-room school house was closed across the street from the hall. The school house was moved in two sections and attached to the main hall.
The roof was desperately in need of redoing this year. Leaks had been found in the building and they had started to cause some damage.
The cost of the new roof is about $12,000.
“It’s a difficult roof. There’s so many peaks and valleys,” McAtmney said.
The hall is also facing some water problems of a different kind. The hall is currently under a boil water order as the coliform levels are too high.
Tests are being done and it’s possible a UV filter system will have to be put in.
The hall is also facing a decline in rentals since the Lower Similkameen Indian Band opened its new facilities. The band often rented the hall for meetings and other events.
“We’re working on things. We’re not sure how we’ll end up yet for this year. We do know it is most important to the community,” he said.
The Cawston Hall Society is always looking for new volunteers.