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Inside the Salmo Hotel

In June 2018, the Salmo Valley Historical Society got a peek inside the Salmo Hotel, including the second floor, the basement, and other areas that the public doesn’t generally get to see. (We did not, however, get to go on to the wraparound balcony, which had long been closed off.)

In light of the recent fire that destroyed the roof, I dug out the photos I took on that tour as well as some others from January 2015.

The building was or is an interesting mix of styles. As I detailed exhaustively in a previous post, the hotel was built in a Tudor style in 1931-32 with white stucco and blue trim but its defining characteristics mostly disappeared when an addition was put on in 1952. Then in 1981, a new facade was added that made the building look much older than it really was.

On the inside, a few original fixtures remained from the 1930s while other parts of the building were from 1950s and ‘70s renovations.

Upon entering the door that leads to the second floor stairs, you find yourself in an interesting foyer with a wall that curves around to a couple of narrow doors. In 2015, it still had original tile from the ‘30s. When I returned in 2018, the tile had been painted over, but under the rug were the initials “SH.”

The low bannister also appeared to be from the ‘30s. There were five apartments upstairs, of which two were occupied at the time.

From the second floor, you could go onto a back porch which was interesting for a couple of reasons. The 1952 addition was not flush against the original hotel, but left a narrow space so that some light could get in to the existing rooms. Within this space were original Tudor-style dormers.

The basement was a big, crazy space with an ancient boiler, a couple of 1969 license plates, and some piles of wood. Supposedly there was once a suite down here, but it was hard to imagine.

Old photos of the hotel were in the bar, including a display showing the addition of the 1981 facade.

But the most amazing thing was the stunning mural that Jack Lines painted in 1955 showing a map of the Kootenays and Okanagan, which I’ve previously written about. I found it impossible to get a good photo of it given the lighting or lack thereof in the room and the positioning of the pool table in front of it.

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