A piece of Kelowna history is up for sale as the Bennett family has listed the century-old W.A.C. Bennett House, located at 1988 Bowes Street downtown.
Peter Chataway of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society says the house was built by Frank DeHart, Kelowna's third mayor, between 1912 and 1914.
"It’s a beautiful building," Chataway said, explaining W.A.C. Bennett purchased the home in 1936.
W.A.C. Bennett is the longest serving premier in B.C. history (1952 to 1972) while his son Bill Bennett served as premier from 1975 to 1986. Bill Bennett was raised in the home.
"In the context of the building... there’s great historical stories and it’s in immaculate condition, ready for what we call a compatible adaptive reuse," Chataway said.
With great history and family value of more nearly 90 years, the Bennett family has teamed with the Central Okanagan Heritage Society in an effort to try and find the perfect candidate who can best preserve the estate’s history.
Rather than selling the property to someone who would turn it into a restaurant or bar, the hope is to sell it to an organization or business that will maintain its structure and turn it into a public archive where people can learn about its history, but the family is open to other offers as well.
“We have institutions now in the city such as Okanagan College who don’t today have an archive," Chataway said.
"The Royal BC Museum and the City of Kelowna. There’s lots of people that may be interested in a kind of function where there’s very limited public use, so you don’t disturb the neighbours. It’s a very quiet location for doing research and writing, and an archive function would solidify and enhance the history we are trying to protect.”
The house has a total of 4,900 square feet, features five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and three fireplaces.
“It’s been restructured all through the attic and the foundation in 1998, so it’s in very good condition. The family has done an excellent job in maintaining that, and the artefacts are still available today. It’s so unique in that its been in the family for so many decades in continuous ownership and use."
"The story of the Bennetts and the political history in British Columbia was so big in the 20th century.”
You can read more on the history of the home on the City of Kelowna's heritage registry.
For those interested in Kelowna’s historic Bennett Estate, they can contact Jane Hoffman Realty to take a look. It’s listed at just under $3 million.