The Warren House, built in 1912 stood elegantly along Lakeshore Drive in Penticton for over 110 years until it was destroyed by fire on March 7, 2022. (Web photo)

The Warren House, built in 1912 stood elegantly along Lakeshore Drive in Penticton for over 110 years until it was destroyed by fire on March 7, 2022. (Web photo)

Opinion: Losing Penticton Lakeshore home to fire is reminder of how important heritage is

The Warren House stood elegantly along iconic Lakeshore Drive for over 110 years

Many have been fighting to preserve Penticton’s heritage whether it be historic buildings or homes to nostalgic lighted scrolls and lately iconic Lakeshore Drive.

On Monday afternoon, March 7, the community suffered a huge heritage loss on Lakeshore when a grand piece of Penticton history was destroyed in a gas explosion.

The Warren House, a stately, beautiful legacy home built in 1912 collapsed in a ball of fire, taking with it 110 years of history and memories.

Built-in the Georgian style, the house was one of the first homes constructed at a time when Lakeshore was where everything was happening in Penticton. It was built for the affluent Kettle Valley Railway president J.J. Warren. At the time, the CP Railway Station was also being built as was the Incola Hotel on the waterfront.

As Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson said so well, “It’s a devastating loss for the family and for the community. That home stood its ground for over 100 years and to see if it go up in flames is hard to see for our whole community.”

Our hearts go out to the family who lived in this beautiful home and painstakingly put hundreds of hours of backbreaking work to restore the house to its original glory, including hand-scraping the floors and doors and keeping all its original hardware.

Videos of the interior of the home show what love and care they put into it. They turned it into a B&B for a time and the rental was very popular in the ratings guests gave it.

A thank you has to go out to Penticton firefighters who shared in the sorrow of not being able to save such a gorgeous piece of heritage. Firefighters were all hands on deck, feverishly pouring water on the neighbouring apartment building and saving it from the flames.

In fact, by that evening, all the residents could safely go back to their homes, thanks to the tireless efforts of our Penticton fire crews.

All that is left of Warren House is a mound of charred wood and rubble. It’s hard to look at.

Think of the hundreds of thousands of people over the years who have walked past the Warren House and all the other heritage homes along Lakeshore Drive, admiring their beauty and setting.

Lakeshore Drive is a very special place for visitors and especially for residents. Its charm is not just in its location beside Okanagan Lake but so too is the charm of the well-kept heritage homes that line the famous street.

Heritage is emotional, it’s a window to a time long ago, and it holds value in our community.

Let this devastating historical loss be a reminder for all of us to see the visual and emotional value of our heritage. As the adage goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

Penticton firefighters check for hot spots in the rubble that once was the historic Warren House on Lakeshore Drive. (Logan Lockhart Western News)

Penticton firefighters check for hot spots in the rubble that once was the historic Warren House on Lakeshore Drive. (Logan Lockhart Western News)

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 

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