Bell’s Drygoods Store is a typical commercial false front, single storey, wood-frame building that has been relocated to the Burnaby Village Museum.
The value of the Bell’s Drygoods Store lies in its significance as one of the last remaining intact false front retail structures of its time to survive in Burnaby. Additionally, it remains as one of East Burnaby’s few surviving early commercial buildings and is representative of other typical commercial structures of the period.
Originally located on Sixth Street in East Burnaby, in a small commercial district that served residents located along the streetcar line between New Westminster and Edmonds, its proximity to the streetcar served to draw customers into the store. This store also served as the location of the East Burnaby Post Office, one of a number of local post offices located throughout the municipality during the early twentieth century.
Clifford Tuckey constructed the building in 1922, with a small lean-to structure on the back housing a kitchen and bedroom. The store was sold soon afterwards to William and Flora Bell, who then lived and worked here for a number of years. It represents a traditional relationship of the owner’s home to the store during this period, indicating the modest means of the owners and their commitment to running the business. The building was later sold to Maurice and Mildred Whitechurch, who ran it for many years as a hardware store.
In 1974, the structure was relocated to its present site at the Museum. The heritage value for this structure also lies in its interpretive value within the Burnaby Village Museum. The site is an important cultural feature for the interpretation of Burnaby’s heritage to the public. Between 1993 and 1996 the building was restored to its 1925 appearance.
The character defining features of Bell’s Drygoods Store include its:
- rectangular form and simple massing
- commercial false front parapet
- front gable roof with cedar shingle cladding
- horizontal lapped wooden siding
- recessed main central entrance flanked by large storefront display windows
- V-joint tongue-and-groove wood interior paneling
- interior separation between commercial and residential space