Staff house (1884)
In February of 1884 two men from Fort St James, Long Joe and Vital le Fort, were sent across the frozen Stuart Lake to commence squaring timber for a house, 32 feet by 22 feet. The building served first as a clerk's house, then as a staff house, and later as a guesthouse, a school, and finally, in the mid-1900s, as a private residence.
As the staff house the building provided accommodation for temporary and permanent fort employees, as well as occasional visitors. The pack train hands, who transported goods between posts, used it as their bunk house between trips or while they were waiting for the arrival of the schooner. The “expressmen,” who carried the mail to Fort St. James, also rested in the staff house before making their return journeys.
The workforce living and working at Fort St James changed dramatically over the years. While during most of the first century of its operation the post was run by men from the British Isles and from Eastern Canada, by the early 20th century many of the people who stayed in the staff house were local Carrier people working for the Hudson's Bay Company. This represented a clear change in the roles taken on by the Carrier—from providing mostly goods (salmon and furs) to providing services, such as day labour at the post, or expertise in boat building and transportation of goods.
Relax in the comfort of a very early version of a lazy boy recliner while you gaze at the flames in the fire place.
See how the Carrier people made moccasins.
Taste the food the fur traders and their sled dogs had for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.