Our community received much attention this week with the news of the Patenaude family’s intention to donate the 153 Mile Store and its priceless contents to the City of Williams Lake.
The historic store and roadhouse are located on the 153 Mile Ranch near 150 Mile House and was originally used as a stopping place during the Cariboo Gold Rush many years ago.
Walking into the building today is like taking a trip back in time.
Amber Stratton, a third generation Patenaude, said she was lucky enough to grow up with the store literally in her backyard and today serves as the unofficial caretaker and tour guide for school groups and the odd meandering tourist who stops in.
“I grew up playing in the store and I still find things in here I haven’t seen,” Amber said, graciously opening the door to the old log building for us to have a peek.
Behind the counter sits a museum-quality display in memory of Lil Crosina who was the heart of the store, surrounded by hundreds of items that were for sale the day the store closed its doors in 1963.
The Patenaude family inherited the rare piece of history when they purchased the ranch from the Crosinas three generations ago and their appreciation and respect for the contents are still strongly felt today.
In a day and age when there are countless websites available to sell our wares to the highest bidder, we suppose many find it remarkable that a family would be so generous.
But, after being given a glimpse into their kind, sharing nature through family members Amber and Bayley, it’s easy to see why they want to preserve such an important piece of B.C.’s history.
Now let’s hope the City of Williams Lake can make their request a reality.
– Williams Lake Tribune