WATCH: Kimberley’s historic powerhouse restored to its former glory

Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society
Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society

The Sullivan Mine and Railway Historical Society (SMRHS) welcomed members of the community to the historic and recently restored powerhouse, to unveil what was accomplished with the countless hours of work and acknowledge those who did the work and made it possible.

The project was initiated back in 2017 by Dan Jarrett, then vice president of SMRHS with a $331,838 heritage grant from Columbia Basin Trust which allowed the planning work for the restoration to begin.

READ MORE: CBT issues funds for heritage restoration including historic Kimberley powerhouse

At this point the SMRHS hired ANCE Building Services Co. Inc., led by Elana Zysblat, to spearhead the Heritage Conservation Plan, which was completed the next year.

Their report showed that there was lead suspected in the paint and asbestos in some of the window glazing. This report was then used to attain quotes on brick and window repair and preservation.


From there a funding request was put into Heritage BC, Teck Resources and the City of Kimberley to do the work needed to preserve this historic building, originally constructed in 1924, and all three parties sent back positive responses.

A contract was inked between SMRHS and Heritage BC on behalf of CBT and on July 4, 2019.

The hard costs for the project totalled to $391,000 with an additional $50,000 in in-kind contributions of labour and use of Society equipment.

The society welcomed guests to the powerhouse on Sept. 30, bringing them in by bus or train from the downtown station.

“We delayed having an official gathering until September in hope that the COVID situation would be much better,” said SMRHS president Mick Henningson. “However, our planned major event ended up being smaller with everyone required to be double vaccinated and masked. Ironically, over 5,000 masked visitors toured the Powerhouse in small groups this past season ahead of our reception.”

At this reception, Henningson thanked Zysblat and everyone else who made this remarkable restoration project possible.

This included Kim Wasylowich, owner of Reimann Painting, who not only did excellent work restoring and preserving the building’s many windows, inside and out, but also properly handled the abatement of hazardous materials.

“Master craftsman Tom Roberts did a super job repairing or installing missing window frames throughout this massive historic building that contains 3,200 individual panes of glass,” Henningson said.

Bates, Brick Block and Stone, led by Barry Bates, were thanked for their job of restoring the powerhouse’s brickwork. Bates and Henningson attended a seminar with experts of masonry repair of historic buildings organized by Heritage BC heritage planner Jennifer Dunkerson. Here they learned the importance mortar mix plays in restoration and preservation work.

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“Curtis McClaren, owner of Kimberley Electric, did a terrific job of upgrading the electrical circuits in the Powerhouse. Some things just can’t remain historic!” Henningson said.

Additional thanks were extended to volunteer John Wiggin who spearheaded the Rand Compressor Rope Replacement Project, Bill Roberts and Gord Olsen who tackled the Sullivan Mine Ambulance Car Restoration, Lloyd Miller, Jim Benton and Larry Tuck who did the Sullivan Mine Man Car Restoration and Chris Weisschnur of Riemann Painting, who handled the Canadian Pacific Caboose Preservation.

Henningson also thanked CBT, Teck and the City of Kimberley for their financial support as well as the Society Board, KUMR staff and volunteers for their commitment throughout the past year.

The KUMR had over 6200 guests last year, even with their reduced capacity due to COVID, and the Society says they look forward to an even better tourist season next year.


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