Store owners celebrated their building’s 100th anniversary by donating $10,000 to the new Fernie Museum to make sure community history continues as a priority in the future.
Ingrid and Art Sombrowski and their son Gordon unveiled the cheque at the centenary celebration for the IGS building in Second Avenue last Friday, surprising Fernie Historical Society chair Laura Nelson, who did not know she was to receive such a large sum.
Thanking them, she said: “You can tell when you look at our downtown buildings that this area was a big source of pride for the community 100 years ago.
“They worked to rebuild it not once but three times in much more difficult circumstances than we can imagine.
“Even after the third try they really created great character and a great source of pride for this main street.
“By the Sombrowskis going to the efforts they have to restore this building and by making this donation they really do honour the accomplishments of the generations before us.”
The donation will help to open the new museum building on Second Avenue later this year.
The first building on the IGS lot was built in 1898 and destroyed in the 1904 fire. The replacement Victorian-style building was in turn destroyed in the 1908 fire and rebuilt to open in November 1909.
Gordon Sombrowski said: “When you look across our town at the number of buildings that were being built at that time you can imagine what a beehive of activity it was from August 1908 to Nov. 1909. There can’t have been one day when the hammers were not hammering that year.
“This building has been part of my family’s life for 40 years and we wanted to honour it and our memories.”
Ingrid Sombrowski said she and her husband Art first visited the building in Spring 1970.
“We came on a Saturday morning, there wasn’t a soul on Second Avenue, we looked the building up and down and wondered if it was for sale. The realtor’s office was across the street and we made the deal that day.
“At first we wanted to renovate it and lease out all the spaces but then we decided to run it ourselves and here we are still.”