MBC1887 T:ANE

The first facility to serve as the meal stop was a dining car set a short siding pending the construction of the permanent buildings.

Source: Glacier House Historical Site, Rogers Pass. 

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A fountain was built in front of the hotel fed by water from the Illecillewaet Glacier.

Source: City of Vancouver Archives, Reference code: AM54-54-: SGN 622. Public Domain.

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The original hotel with the added Annex and the Second Annex (The Wing) provided 90 rooms for guests.

Source: Glacier House Historical Site, Rogers Pass.

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Boiler in the remains of a foundation at the site of Glacier House. 

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Remains of the fountain at the site of Glacier House. 

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Old track bed looking west from the site of Glacier House. 

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Glacier House Station with Glacier House behind and the Illecillewaet Glacier in the background. 

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Colour photography was unavailable in the 1800s but had it been it would have shown that Glacier House was painted a chrome yellow with dark brown trim.

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Glacier House Station looking north towards Roger Pass.

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Posted:

Updated:

January 17, 2017

January 18, 2017

Glacier House

In the summer of 1886 the Canadian Pacific Railway arranged the schedules of their transcontinental trains so that they would stop for meals at three convenient locations in the mountains between Calgary and Vancouver; Mount Stephen House at Field, Glacier House at the base of the Illecillewaet Glacier just west of Rogers Pass, and Fraser Canyon House at North Bend in the Fraser River valley. These meal stops eliminated the need to haul the heavy dining cars over the steep grades in the mountains. The site for Glacier House was chosen because it was a location not plagued by the threat of avalanche.

Glacier House, with station in the foreground on the right, were located just a few minutes walk to where the Illecillewaet Glacier dropped down into the valley.

Source: City of Vancouver Archives, Reference code: AM54-: SGN 290. Public Domain.

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Many passengers would stretch their legs with short walks after a meal. Some began asking to stay over for a few days to enjoy the spectacular scenery and Glacier House soon expanded into a hotel and major tourist destination.

The views from the hotel were spectacular. Looking back toward Rogers Pass one could see the line of the snow sheds across Avalanche Crest and the magnificent wall of glacier-encrusted peaks of the Hermit Range to the north.

Source: City of Vancouver Archives, Reference code: AM54-S4-: SGN 250. Public Domain.

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Glacier House became such a popular destination that an expansion was begun after only five years of operation. The first addition, known as "The Annex" added 32 rooms to Glacier House in 1892. The Annex was followed quickly by the addition of a billiard room, a bowling alley, and an expanded dining room. A second annex, known as "The Wing", was opened in 1914 with 54 rooms. The additions were added in a linear fashion along the foot of Abbott Ridge so as to allow views of the Illecillewaet Glacier from most rooms.

With the introduction of more powerful locomotives the Canadian Pacific added dining car service through the mountains in 1909 negated the need for meal-stop hotels. Then, when the Connaught Tunnel opened in 1916 the station was moved down hill adjacent to the west portal. The following year the tracks and most of the snow-shed timbers were salvaged from the route over Rogers Pass.

 

Glacier House carried on for a few more years even though the primary reason for it’s existence had vanished with the inauguration of through dining car service. There were plans to replace the aging building with a larger and grander hotel but construction only got a far as laying the foundation.

 

Glacier House was abandoned in 1926 and demolished in 1929. Today, only remnants of the foundations of the old and the grander hotel to be remain in the clearing much closed in by the encroachment of trees. In the remains of a fountain a boiler may be seen.  The track bed past the remains of the once popular hotel is now a walking path.

Over the years, as the hotel expanded, the siding was lengthened (see above) and a second siding storage siding added. Only the original short siding is included on the MBC1887 route.

References:

 

Glacier House Rediscovered, 1991. David Finch, Hignell Printing Limited.

 

The Selkirk Range. 1905. A. O. Wheeler, Ottawa Printing Bureau.

 

West of the Great Divide. 1987. Robert D. Turner, SONO NIS PRESS.