In the winter of 1991, a fire on the edge of Gastown gutted one of the old hotels along Hastings Street. The Fitzpatrick Building had been built in 1889 by Charles Dobson Fitzpatrick (the elder brother of William) and had served variously as a warehouse, lodging house, saloon, furriers, loggers supply store and eventually a low rent hotel. The burnt out building remained vacant and boarded up for sometime before scavengers and vagrants cleared a path inside. One such scavenger, pulling out cast iron pipe from between the walls of the basement area broke through into what appeared to be a small sealed brick chamber. Inside were boxes of papers and photographs as well as a number of old bottles and plates. While selling the bottles and plates to a local antique dealer the scavenger mentioned the remaining articles and the antique dealer thinking there might be something of historical value within the papers, paid the scavenger $5 a box to haul the rest of the chambers contents to the store. What appeared to be boxes of old junk to the scavenger turned out to be a treasure trove of historical items belonging to Vancouver’s most famous character “Gassy Jack”.

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