McKale House was built in 1922 by Jack B. McKale on the corner of 4th Avenue and Main Street. McKale was a stationary fireman on the railroad until the mid 1950s, which was generally the end of steam locomotives. In addition to running the ice house in the early 1920s, he also ran the local dray (delivery) business for a time. Jack’s horses were housed in his stables across the alley behind the house. The McKale house stayed in the family for at least one more generation when Don Beamer married Bernice McKale. The Beamers moved into the house and lived there for several years. Don Beamer was the local coroner for a time, and he would have to pick up freight, mail and bodies that came in by train. Bodies would then be taken to the hospital for burial preparation.
After the Beamers, the building changed hands several times, serving as a Katimavik base, a forestry office, rental apartments and a used book store/gift shop. The building has been renovated several times, but the owners have all tried to preserve the integrity of the building’s design. At some point in the 1950s/1960s the building was moved over a few feet onto a foundation in its current location.
Photo: Valley Museum and Archives – 1006.09.92