Curator’s Corner

By J.D. Jeffery

Museum Curator

To start, there is a quote that hangs in the museum: “History is a very tricky thing. To begin with, you can’t get it mixed up with the past. The past actually happened, but history is only what someone wrote down.”

As the David Thompson Committee evolved into the Windermere District Historical Society so too did the collection of artifacts. Having two buildings to show off the collection at a central location they also provided space to work on the new donations, but it never hurt to keep looking for more space.

Built in 1923 by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, the designer made this one of three log stations in Canada: Lake Louise, Quebec, Windermere. 

Located along the tracks in Athalmer, Lake Windermere Station welcomed tourists to Lake Windermere until 1965 when the last passenger car came through. The building then closed to receiving freight on April 30, 1970. 

A coal train derailed in September 1975 that damaged the station so extensively that the railway offered the building to anyone who was interested; make an offer, move the building and clean up the site.

The museum fundraised allowing them to make an offer. Submitting their offer, the railway accepted $1 but the train station still had to be moved. Space at Pothole Park was limited and could not accommodate another building, so a request was made at the District of Invermere office for another site to place the train station. A space to lease was approved at the top of the hill overlooking Athalmer and the train station was prepared for moving directly to the site.

Companies volunteered to move the building in December 1975; it took four years to rebuild and fix the building to open it as the main building of the museum. 

To plan for extra space in the future, the building was placed on a foundation making a basement for meetings. 

The main floor showcased the year round displays and the top floor highlights a parlour displaying items people used to entertain visiting guests. On June 23, 1979 the museum had its official opening at its current location.

Learn more about what’s happening at the museum by visiting www.