After a closure of almost five years, the Silverton Lakeshore Inn will soon reopen, but the owner is appealing for the return of artifacts and equipment recently stolen from the historic building.
Maurice Palmer, who has owned the 118-year-old hotel since 2006, told 103.5 Juice FM he was shocked to discover it was vandalized and looted sometime over the last six months.
Damage includes broken windows and doors and evidence someone tried to set the building on fire. “People came in and partied and took quite a bit of stuff,” he said.
Missing are five air conditioners from the front rooms; two compressors in the electrical room that cooled the beer fridge and walk-in cooler; washroom mirrors, five historical photos of Silverton and Sandon; an old yellow Silverton hockey jersey that was framed in the bar; a metal British American oil sign; and an 18-inch diameter faux silver dollar on the wall of the Silver Dollar Room in the basement. (The latter is of unknown vintage but was probably made of zinc.)
Palmer says he’s not sure if one person or several was responsible for the thefts.
“It’s hard to say, but it had to have been someone mechanically inclined because the compressors run from the electrical room to the walk-in cooler, which is 30 to 40 feet. Someone had to know how to take it apart. They would have needed a truck to take it out.”
As of Friday, he didn’t have any leads and so far has not filed a police complaint, but he’s offering a reward for the missing items or information leading to the culprits.
“Hopefully someone returns the stuff. It would be nice to get it back, no questions asked.”
Palmer, a Kamloops resident, renovated the hotel and reopened it in 2007, running it for a few years before leasing it out. In 2010, he put the building up for sale, and it has been empty ever since. He removed some of the hotel’s collection of metal signs, but left the BA one behind because it wouldn’t fit in his truck.
He’s been back once a year to tidy the place up, and now has a caretaker. Palmer has decided to re-open the hotel for longer-term accommodation and will rent six rooms at $500 per month. He also expects to lease the restaurant soon.
“The hotel will soon be open and have another heartbeat,” he said.
The Silverton Inn was originally called the Selkirk Hotel, and opened in 1897 under the partnership of Brandon and Barrett. (Dan Brandon and his brother William lent their name to the Slocan suburb of Brandon.)
An early ad stated: “The house is plastered and the rooms are furnished in a manner calculated to make travelers call again. Mining and Commercial men will appreciate the home comforts of this hotel.”
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser