By Kathryn Gowling
Special to The Pioneer
Editors note: This article is the second in a series on the history of Pynelogs in honour of the historic buildings 100th anniversary this summer.
A number of celebrations are planned for this year the one hundredth year since Pynelogs was built.
There have been many milestones in the life of Pynelogs as it has served many roles and has seen the physical changes associated. Building uses over time have included: a private residence, a memorial hospital, a seniors residence, a home for the mentally challenged and, eventually, a cultural heart as a dedicated art gallery, performance space and Columbia Valley Arts Council administration centre.
Pynelogs was named by its original owners Lady Elizabeth and Randolph Bruce for Pynes, England which was Lady Elizabeths hometown; and logs came from the type of construction material used. Pynelogs was a private residence for Bruce for twelve years following the death of his bride. For approximately ten years to follow, it was mostly empty until, due to a growing demand for a new hospital, Bruce donated the former Pynelogs (building and property) to the District of Invermere for use as a hospital in 1936, to be named after Lady Elizabeth. Renovations to the existing floor plan were made, resulting in three wards (ten beds), a nursery, cooks quarters, staff dining, consultation room, office and bathing room.
There was a grand opening on May 12th, 1937, coinciding with the coronation day of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Lady Elizabeth Memorial Hospital served the community, performing both minor and major operations and attending to routine ailments. By 1954, the hospital became overcrowded and plans for a new hospital were made. The hospital building was boarded up and left to sit vacant for six years following the hospitals closure until 1960 when a new use for the building was assigned.
In my next article, I will outline the subsequent uses for Pynelogs, the building and property. The birthday party for Pynelogs in July is just 70 days away.