A posthumous book is set to release in May, and it discusses the many historic hotels in the Southern Interior of B.C., including one in the Nicola Valley.
Author Glen A. Mofford, wrote the book ‘Room at the Inn: Historic Hotels of British Columbia’s Southern Interior’. The Manuscript featured a number of hotels and the history of each one’s inception. Out of the forty entries in Mofford’s work, the Driard Hotel stands out as it highlights the early years of the Nicola Valley.
“Publishing a book is usually a highly collaborative process between author and publisher. With Glen’s passing, we were sadly robbed of his insight and expertise during the editorial process; however, it was extremely important to us—and to his family—to see the project through and to honour Glen’s vision,” said Lara Kordic, Acquisitions and Editorial Director for Heritage House.
“Glen’s meticulous research and wealth of knowledge made what could have been an extremely daunting process into a relatively seamless one. Although we did not get the chance to work closely with Glen himself, we are grateful for all the work and passion he put into this project, and we hope that his family and his many supporters will be satisfied with his final contribution to BC history.”
In Chapter 1 of the Room at the Inn, Mofford discusses the different hotels within the Nicola, Thompson, and Shuswap region. Coming in as the fourth entry was the Driard Hotel, which later would be called the Nicola Hotel.
Located 11 kilometres east of Merritt, the Driard opened its doors in 1890 and operated until its eventual closing in 1923. In the book, Mofford chronicled the history of the hotel through its founder, a pioneer of the Nicola Valley, Albert Elgin Howse. Through his ambition, the savvy businessman started many ventures in the valley which helped establish its economy.
“Albert Elgin Howse is a fascinating figure in the history of the Nicola Valley,” said Nicola Valley Museum and Archives Manager Cameron Bridge.
“He chose the Nicola Valley to live thanks to its people and its beauty, and from that point on the industrious Howse worked hard to craft himself a life in the valley. By the end of his life he also owned the Driard Hotel, a steam mill, the second roller flour mill in British Columbia, and general stores in Merritt, Lower Nicola, Headley, Granite Creek, and Princeton.”
With a 336 page count, the book is a fairly short read. The content and themes of the book are in line with Mofford’s previous work ‘Along the E&N: A Journey Back to the Historic Hotels of Vancouver Island’, a B.C. bestseller, making it to the top 20 best selling books of 2019.
“Glen Mofford brings a unique insight to the history of British Columbia, weaving together fascinating stories of the famous hotels and intrepid entrepreneurs who built them in the 1890s and early 1900s,” said Terry Gainer, author of When Trains Ruled the Kootenays and When Trains Ruled the Rockies
“He ‘sets the table’ as if you were a participant, developing a sense of place for the reader. Room at the Inn is an enjoyable stroll through early BC. Mr. Mofford, you will be missed. RIP Glen.”
Mofford graduated from Simon Fraser University, becoming a historian and a writer with a passion for sharing the social history of British Columbia. The author found many platforms to share his work. He was a regular history columnist for Port Alberni Valley Vibe and published articles for the likes of Times-Colonist (Victoria), BC History magazine, The Valley Times (Port Alberni), and Coastal Vibe Magazine (Sechelt). Online, Mofford also established a great platform, moderating the Facebook group, ‘Historic Hotels & Pubs of British Columbia’. The page features 10,000 members who regularly engages with its daily content.
Unfortunately, Mofford passed away in 2022, before seeing Room at the Inn get published, but with the support of his family, the publishing company Heritage House got his work published and ready for release this year.
The book will be released on May 16, but is now available for pre-order online. Please visit https://www.heritagehouse.ca/book/room-at-the-inn/ for more information.