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Peele’s Museum

August 27, 2016

In conjunction with his drug dispensary and weather station, Adolphus Peele was curator of his own museum, something of an arcade of mysteries for the mainland. The shop’s window display of “curious relics of the past” and contemporary exhibits was a magnet for visitors, especially for youngsters from valley farms, let loose in the city, while their parents transacted business.

When the Colonial Hotel caught fire in December 1883, the heat was so intense it nearly destroyed the entire business district of New Westminster.

a set-up beaver at Fort Langley NHS“On the lower side of Columbia street, opposite the Colonial, the front of the drug shop of Mr Peele was blistered and scorched almost to a complete cinder.

Upon the shelves inside of Mr Peele’s window were some specimens of Natural History, consisting of certain tiny animal skeletons and a least one ‘set-up’ fur-bearing animal.

These bones and this fur, were yesterday, almost as white as snow.

Through the reflected heat transmitted through the window glass,they now bear the appearance of being browned and scorched almost to a cinder.”


The Colonial Hotel, in the photo below dated 1888, was rebuilt after the fire of 1883.

Columbia Street 1888. - Peele's Observatory flag opposite Colonial Hotel

Adolphus Peele’s drug store on the lower side of Columbia Street, opposite the Colonial Hotel, had a flagstaff in front. Across the Fraser River in the distance is Brownsville.




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