The distinctive façade of the Livery Building sits on the northern boundary of Fernie’s heritage commercial district at 701 2nd Avenue.
In 1907, Alex Rizzuto and J. Crawford purchased the Fernie Livery, Dray and Transfer Company from William Handley and set about modernizing and expanding the business. The partners suffered a huge set-back when the wooden structure was razed in the fire that swept through downtown Fernie in 1908, but with $3,000 in insurance money (half of what they had claimed), they began to rebuild. Following the town’s new directive to build in fireproof materials, the current two-storey facility was erected with rubblestone from the nearby Elk River. Structurally, it has changed very little in its 110-year history.
The Fernie Livery, Dray and Transfer Company utilized a fleet of horsedrawn drays to deliver milk, coal, feed and other goods in Fernie for many years. Stump-pulling, lot clearing, and sales of ice in summer were also among the many services offered. With the arrival of automobiles in the Elk Valley, the business was proudly advertised as “The Up-To-Date Garage” for servicing vehicles, and briefly served as a Chrysler dealership in 1925.
In 1926, the garage closed and the building became the home of the Scott Fruit Company. In September 1933, the Fernie Cartage Company moved in on the main floor and operated out of this location until 1979. Over the past 40 years, the Livery building has housed an antiques store, two restaurants (The Wood and The Livery) Grow Children’s Store and is now home to the Urban Settler retail space (the second furniture store to feature here) and a private apartment. The ground floor was also the popular Eldorado nightclub for many years.