Booth House is a charming single storey wood frame house built in 1939 located on a large parcel of land on the east side of North Fraser Drive in West Quesnel, BC. The historic place includes the building and the parcel of land it occupies.
Booth House is located in West Quesnel which developed as a rural community with small houses and family farms. The growth of West Quesnel was moderate until a single-lane bridge across the Fraser River was constructed in 1929. The bridge provided a permanent link between the two Quesnel communities. These communities were amalgamated into one city in 1958. In 1971, the two-lane Moffat Bridge was built and growth in West Quesnel increased steadily. While not in its original form, the house is a physical reminder of the people who shaped the development of Quesnel. The house is named for Ralph and Joan Booth. Ralph owned and operated Booth Brothers Sawmill with his brother Payton. They lived in this house for many years.
The house was also owned by William Couldwell Jr. who arrived in Quesnel with his pioneering parents in 1912. Since William had previously completed his schooling in England, he went to work for J. A. Fraser’s General Store on Front Street at the age of thirteen until his father got a job in Fort George, BC. The family moved their possessions on a sternwheeler named ‘The Chilcoltin’ which took five days to reach their destination. While living in Fort George, William was the organist for the Knox United Church and he worked for Kennedy Blair Company until it went bankrupt in 1914. He also took correspondence courses in bookkeeping through Pitman College in Vancouver, BC.
When the Couldwell family later returned to Quesnel, William went to work at Marion’s Store performing general duties such as baling furs for shipment. In 1915 William worked at Northern Crown Bank which was located in a lean-to at Marion’s Store. When the bank merged with the Royal Bank in 1918, William was transferred to other branches in the province. He returned to Quesnel in 1933. The Couldwell family is recognized for their contribution to the development of the community with streets named in their honour.
The character-defining elements of Booth House include:
- the siting on a large lot along the Fraser River in a clearing at the forest edge;
- a single storey wood frame dwelling typical in the size of the houses built in Quesnel in the 1930s;
- a gable roof with a cross gable, two entrances on the south elevation, one of which is a portico, and a sense of warmth and tranquility on this busy street.