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Oppenheimer Bros. Store

The Oppenheimer's store was one of the first businesses in Yale.

Oppenheimer store on Front street
The Oppenheimer store was a popular meeting place. (BC Archives: e-01924)
The Oppenheimer brothers began in Yale one of the earliest businesses in what we now call British Columbia. David and Issac Oppenheimer built their store on Front street in 1858. They had the foresight, as did others, that the hundreds of miners situated around Yale during the Fraser river gold rush would need supplies, and someone with a store to sell those supplies would do very good business.

Oppenheimer receipt May 11, 1876
Click to see the original and more receipts.

Knowing the supplies they bought, you can picture what the miner's lives were like.

Receipts can give an idea of what the store's inventory would have been. One from in May 11, 1876 shows the purchases of William Sterling, who was a trader in Germansen creek. They comprised of mostly simple goods, including: rice, dried apples, plums, oatmeal, barley, candles, brandy, soap, lard, condensed milk, onions, matches, bacon and other items.

Oppenheimer safe
This damaged safe was found in the Fraser river.

The Oppenheimer's brick building gave some protection against the threat of fire.

The major fires in Yale's history damaged the Oppenheimer store building repeatedly. The 1874 fire damaged at least the lock on the safe to the left. The brick warehouse, which formed the basic structure of the store, were almost the only thing left standing in the whole town block after the fire in 1881. D. W. Higgins recognized the ruins of the fireproof warehouse on returning to Yale in 1906, proving them to be a recognizable landmark of Yale's early days (T. W . Paterson. Fraser Canyon. p.74).

Oppenheimer store after the town fire
The brick portion of the Oppenheimer store was visible after a major town fire. (BC Archives: e-01924)

More of the merchants in Yale could be found in Chinatown. Learn about them and the community at the Chinatown page.

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Last updated 31 August 1998.
This digital collection was produced under contract to the SchoolNet Digital Collections Program, Industry Canada.
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