October 10, 2013 11:46 am
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:02 pm

Historic New Westminster building destroyed in fire: Was on heritage list

What the corner of Columbia and McKenzie used to look like.

Google Maps

A historic building in New Westminster is no more.

Known as the E L Lewis building, it was built in 1904 as part of the Crescent Block. It was destroyed in a fire Thursday morning.

It was not designated a heritage building, but was on the heritage list and was considered one of the many historic buildings that make up the New Westminster downtown core.

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GALLERY: A look at that area of New Westminster through the years.

According to the City of New Westminster, the Crescent Block is significant for its architecture, and is an excellent example of the Victorian Italianate style that was common to see in the buildings built after the Great Fire of 1898.

In addition, this building is iconic for its association with the Copp family. Copp’s Shoes was established in 1925/6 and the interior of the store contained the original floors, shelves and oak ladders from when it was first built.

The store has been in the family for three generations. It was first opened by John Percy Copp, then taken over by his daughter and son-in-law, and then his grandson. It closed down last year and was turned into a bridal shop.

One of the building’s owners, Terry Brian, told Global News this is a huge loss.

“Now I feel so bad for those that were there trying to eke a living out. It’s just tragic, hard to recover from,” he said.

There were 11 tenants in the building in total, one of them being the owner of Moody Beads.

She showed up to the fire on Thursday morning, and could do nothing but stand back and watch her business burn.

“I don’t see how, if the fire’s in there, those buildings are 100 years old, plus some of them still have the foundation from the first fire, from a while ago, so  you know, the fire that devastated New West, so some of them still have the remnants of that fire, and they go in flames again,” said owner Lynn Quesnel. “A lot of history just going right down right now.”

Source: City of New Westminster, Canada’s Historic Places.

Before and after photo:

Before and after the fire. Credit: Google Maps and Christopher Jones.

Watch: Fire crews battling the flames

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