The Rossland Club was established on November 12, 1896, on the second floor of Dr. Keller’s office on Columbia Avenue. James Sutherland Chisholm Fraser, manager of the Rossland branch of the Bank of Montreal was the first president of the club, accompanied by F.C. Loring as the vice-president and C.A. Cregan as the secretary-treasurer.
On December 1, 1897, the club moved to the former location of the Shaw Hotel on the west end of Columbia Avenue. The building consisted of three floors, all of which were utilized by the Rossland Club. By this time, the club had a membership of 125 and a developing reputation.
In 1899, membership had grown to such an extent that the Rossland Club found it necessary to build its own clubhouse. A new three-story clubhouse was built on the corner of Queen Street and Le Roi Avenue, costing $12,913.44 (approximately $500,000.00 in 2022).
Unfortunately, the building was destroyed on March 1, 1929, in “The Big Fire” which devastated much of Rossland’s business district. The Rossland Club received $14,500.00 (approximately $230,000.00 in 2022) as an insurance payout following the fire - most of which was used to pay off debts. Because of financial constraints and a declining membership, the Rossland Club decided not to rebuild after the fire. The land on which it stood was sold by the club to the West Kootenay Power & Light Company for $400.00 in 1929 (approximately $6,300.00 in 2022).
The club was inactive until July 1, 1931, when the remaining members decided to lease the second floor of the Cooper Block on 2059 Columbia Avenue. The club’s financial difficulties worsened after the fire and their once prestigious reputation began to fade. Despite a concerted effort to increase membership, by March 1950, only twenty-eight members remained in the club. One of the club’s efforts to increase membership was to begin hosting square dancing for members and their wives. Until then, women had not been allowed in the club. Wives, however, were only classed as ‘associate’ members and had no club privileges, no access to the club rooms at any time other than for square dancing, and were not allowed to consume alcohol on the premises. Unsurprisingly, the dances only attracted five new full members in 1952.
In December 1954, the club’s landlord informed the club that they would have to discontinue their square dancing events, meaning that women were no longer allowed in the club. For the entirety of the 1960s, the club was struggling to pay rent or attract new members, and by September 1969, they were asked to vacate their location in the Cooper Block. Following this, the club liquidated their assets and disbanded the organization.
Notable members included but not limited to: J.S.C. Fraser, John Kirkup, Walter H. Aldridge, Lorne A. Campbell, John Andrew Forin, Selwyn Blaylock, William K. Esling.