Burnt remains of Beaverdell Hotel on Monday afternoon after the historic landmark went up in flames earlier that morning.

Lawsuits and ownership battle plagued lost historic landmark

Lengthy investigation expected into cause of fire that burned down Beaverdell Hotel on Monday morning.       

  • Mar. 29, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Residents of Beaverdell are mourning the loss of the historic Beaverdell Hotel, which had been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle prior to being obliterated by a fire early Monday morning.

Police on scene confirmed two provincial fire marshals out of Kamloops and Vernon, and a local investigator out of Kelowna, are sifting through the meager charred remains of the more than 100-year-old structure found fully engulfed in flames at 2 a.m. Monday, in an attempt to find evidence.

“We’re only in the preliminary stages of the investigation,” Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison confirmed in an interview Tuesday.

“We are certainly looking at all of the possibilities out there.”

The investigation is bound to be a “lengthy” one, he said, noting investigators don’t have any witnesses, for example, who might have spotted anyone in the vicinity around the time the fire would have started.

“Any arson investigation is a difficult investigation to perform,” he said.

Considered the oldest operating hotel in B.C., Beaverdell fire chief Bill Wellwood said the blaze at the heritage site follows the burning of Tyrone Daum’s house in Beaverdell last month.

Daum was listed as the owner of the hotel until November 2010 when assessment records indicate title was transferred to a numbered company, of which Daum is not listed as a director.

Nevertheless, residents and the fire chief indicated they are under the understanding Daum is the owner.

“I know he had insurance on the hotel, but I don’t know about the house,” Wellwood said in an interview on scene.

He reported seeing someone from an insurance company at the hotel site in the immediate aftermath of the fire, but little else is known.

According to court documents, Daum had been fighting with the previous owners, Mary Ellen and Eugene Katchin, after a lease arrangement went south around the time Daum tried to purchase the property in what he characterized as a lease-to-own scenario.

The court battle ended a year ago with Daum awarded title.

The Katchins had taken out a mortgage in 2001, with Bryan and Leona Rosekrans acting as guarantors.

Court documents indicate in 2005 Daum believed he entered into a lease-to-own agreement to make payments, after the Katchin’s collected a $20,000 down payment from himself and a girlfriend under an understanding he would pay for the rest of the property at a later date.

The Katchins denied in a statement of defense that they had a written agreement to sell; although they indicated there was an oral lease agreement on the property.

Daum assumed responsibility for running the hotel at that time and the Katchins left town.

According to the court documents, Daum indicated he was in a position to pay the parties out in 2008, around the time he received two offers on the property—one for $700,000 and the other for $800,000—which were more than double what he had agreed to pay the Katchins.

But the documents allege Eugene Katchin then broke into the hotel, changed the locks and started to liquidate Daum’s belongings from the property, although Daum had sunk $100,000 into the building to run it as a tourist attraction.

The Katchins deny the allegations outright and criminal charges were never filed against either Katchin.

In 2009, the Rosekrans requested a foreclosure order, indicating in court documents the Katchins had defaulted on their mortgage. The status of that action is unknown.

The court ordered title be granted to Daum in January 2010 and in November of that year it was then transferred to the numbered company.

Meanwhile, Beaverdell residents are wondering how they will cope with the heart of the town gone. The hotel was well-known as a tourist stop for cyclists along the Kettle Valley Railway and motorcycle enthusiasts who would line their bikes up out front for a picture before visiting the few remaining shops in town.

“People are just crying,” said Lorna Hollingsworth. “When the town was active, it was like everybody’s front room. Weddings, birthdays, you went to the hotel.”

Constructed in 1897, The Beaverdell Hotel opened in July 1901 under trapper D.W. Smith’s name as Smith’s Hotel.

Roughly 1,000 prospectors were living in the area at the time.

The town grew with the opening of the Bell Mine, which transferred hands several times before becoming the first large mine Teck Corporation (later Teck Cominco) owned in B.C.

The mine closed in 1991, and the hotel was one of the few remaining attractions and anchor for the Beaverdell town site.

—with files from Capital News staff reporter Cheryl Weirda


Just Posted

Friends of Gable Beach concerned with District of Lake Country’s proposal

Carr’s Landing residents oppose the district’s latest solution to Gable Beach

Greyhound stop in Oyama gets cut

Expanded regional transit replacement option for Lake Country

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Lake Country budget approved

Lake Country’s 2018 Operating and Capital Budget was approved Tuesday night

Serious injuries sustained in Peachland collision

Both drivers were send to hospital yesterday after a head-on collision

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kim Boutin named Canada’s flag bearer for closing ceremony

Two more medals for Canada, including the bronze in men’s hockey

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Most Read