The Carpenter is the contractor on site at the Potato House on Borland Street working to put in a new foundation and basement. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Historic Potato House gets new lease on life

A crane has moved the house several metres back on the property to work on basement

The historic Potato House in Williams Lake is getting a new foundation and a basement with office space.

A crane has moved the house several metres back on the property and a large hole has been excavated to make room for the work.

“We are going to be building a large office space in the basement,” said Jazmyn Lyons, chair of the Potato House Sustainable Community Society.

In March the society learned from the province and Heritage BC it would receive a $449,000 grant from the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program.

Lyons said the grant cannot go toward mortgage payments but the society is permitted to use it for renovations.

“The rental from the office space will pay our mortgage,” she said.

While the office will be below ground, everything will be up to code with multiple entrances and exits and safety windows, so there will be light.

The previous foundation had been failing and suffered water damage, mold, mildew and leaks.

She said it is estimated the Potato House was built in the early 1930s and prefabricated at Mcallister Mill at Three Forks, B.C. which today is a ghost town located about eight kilometres east of New Denver.

The society purchase the home from the Quintella family in 2010.

“It was built by the Borkowski brothers. We actually have a bill of sale for some of the lumber,” Lyons said.

The society is ‘incredibly’ excited about the project, she added.

“It’s been years and years of working to do something that would end up making us financially viable. We are really happy to see this happen.”

Lyons credited Joe Borsato for writing the original grant application.

During the construction phase the public is asked not to enter the grounds.

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Williams Lake Tribune