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$2M needed by end of 2025 to move historic 153 Mile Store to 108

Roger Patenaude donated the store to the 108 Heritage Site last summer
Members of the 100 Mile House & District Historical Society unveil a sign at the 108 Heritage Site to track how much money they need to raise to move the historic 153 Mile Store. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The 100 Mile House & District Historical Society aims to raise $2 million by the end of 2025 to move the historic 153 Mile Store to the 108 Heritage Site.

The society officially announced its plan on Thursday, May 2 unveiling a new sign by the heritage site on Highway 97 to track their fundraising progress. They already have $200,000 in the bank but are looking to raise a lot more Kelly Carnochan, the society’s president, said.

“We’re looking for a lot of support from businesses. It can be materials in kind, dollars but we just need to start raising some funds,” Carnochan remarked. “That 153 Mile Store is an amazing piece of history. We’ve got the vision and now we just got to put the plans in motion.”

Joining Carnochan and other members of the historical society was Roger Patenaude, whose family has owned the store for decades. First opened in 1900 by Louis Crosina the store contains 3,800 artifacts from the end of the Gold Rush era up until 1963 when the store was closed.

As a result, Patenaude said the store is a real time capsule and it has long been his family’s dream to ensure it is preserved for future generations. He chose to donate the building to the society in July of 2023 to ensure that it is taken care of on public rather than private land.

“We are hoping we can move the store down here. It needs some professional care now. It’s over 100 years old and the artifacts are in a condition where they need to have some professional care,” Patenaude said. “We’re hoping this great group (in 108 Mile Ranch) can look after it and we’ll be satisfied it will be looked after for the rest of its existence.”

READ MORE: Historic gold rush-era 153 Mile Store to be moved to 108 Heritage Site

Al Richmond, Cariboo Regional District Director for Lac La Hache - 108 Mile Ranch, also attended the unveiling on Thursday. Richmond said it’s great to see the further development of the heritage site which he’s watched grow over several decades since the Block Brothers, who developed the 108 Mile Ranch, donated the land to the society.

“It’s just a real asset to the community for making people aware of our history and this is the busiest rest stop along Highway 97. We have the local First Nations building their interpretive centre (next door) so it’s just a perfect opportunity for the travelling public to stop in and take in a piece of the Cariboo’s heritage,” Richmond remarked. “I think it’s a great asset and we’re looking forward to the store being here where it’s safe and preserved.”

Richmond noted that the Cariboo has lost heritage buildings in the past. One of the most notable was the Lone Butte Hotel which burned down in 1998 while efforts were underway to preserve it. He believes the work the heritage site does to preserve buildings like the Clydesdale Barn, the 105 Mile Ranch House and the other buildings is important.

When asked if the CRD will contribute any money to the project, Richmond said he expects the society to apply for a grant shortly. While he added the CRD will have to go through a review of that application, he highlighted the potential tourism benefits this project will bring to the entire South Cariboo.

“They’re a tried and true group who have delivered on everything they’ve said they’ll do. I’m proud to say I live in the community they are in,” Richmond said.

In the coming months, Carnochan said the society plans to do several fundraisers and apply for various grants. Leading the charge is the 153 Mile Heritage Building Committee, chaired by Donna Barnett. She remarked that even if they don’t raise the full $2-million by the end of 2025 they’ll keep on fundraising till they have enough.

“It will be done. I’ve made my mind up because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around so I’ve got to get the project done,” Barnett remarked. “We’re going after corporations that have never really, in my opinion, given anything to the Cariboo-Chilcotin. The pipelines, the hydro lines, the gas people there are all these big corporations and wouldn’t it be wonderful for one of them to have their name on this fantastic project.”

Patenaude hopes that people across the South Cariboo and beyond get behind the project to move the store. He was already able to secure a $100,000 donation from the Cariboo Foundation Society in Williams Lake and he encourages other groups and businesses to follow their example.

“It’s just a great project. It has all kinds of history associated with it and it goes with this area that was part of the Gold Rush Trail,” Patenaude remarked. “I think we should be proud, as a community, to have it displayed.”

Carnochan said the date they plan to move the 153 Mile Store hasn’t been set in stone. If they raise enough money before the end of 2025 she said they’d love to do it then but remarked the summer of 2026 is the most likely.

When asked where the store will go on the 108 Heritage Site property, Carnochan explained that is still to be determined. They’ve considered placing it near the 105 Mile Ranch House but she said they’re still looking for the perfect spot.

Anyone looking to donate to the cause can reach the society via or 250-791-5288. Barnett said they will issue a tax receipt for every donation.

“You’ll be preserving our history and giving us an opportunity to generate more tourism dollars. You’ll also be enhancing the beautiful heritage site at the 108 that many volunteers over many years have put together,” Barnett said. “All in all our heritage is something we have to learn to support because once it’s gone, there’s nothing.”

Members of the 100 Mile House & District Historical Society unveil a sign at the 108 Heritage Site to track how much money they need to raise to move the historic 153 Mile Store. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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