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Page last updated October 10, 2008

© Michael Kluckner

Postcard from about 1960 entitled "The Glass House, Sanca, B.C. A six room fully modern residence, constructed entirely of sixty-one thousand 16 ounce glass bottles (30 tons) situated on #3 highway, midway between Creston, B.C. and the Kootenay Bay Ferry enroute to Nelson, B.C. Ektachrome by R. Donaldson. Pub. by Donaldson's Studio, Cranbrook, B.C." Printed by Dexter Press, West Nyack, N.Y.

Dave Brown, a mortician, built the house, using the large supply of formaldehyde bottles he had used in his trade. I don't know the date.

Photographer Robert Donaldson bought the Nelson Studio in Cranbrook in about 1947 and operated a studio there until 1964. Subsequently, he retailed camera products.This image is one of about 40 Ektachromes he took that were published as postcards. Thanks to George Donaldson for the information.

From Lois Shelton, 2008: "The house is still open -- I visited it last summer. The widow of the man who built it still lives there much of the time but it is open to tours in the summer."

Correspondence from Bill Yeo: "I picked up an information brochure about the Glass House near Sanca when I was aboard the Kootenay Lake Ferry this past summer. It states that David H. Brown began construction of the house in 1952. There is a detailed description of the house and grounds. Brown died in 1970. I remember him from a visit to his place when I was a boy. This must have been shortly after completion of the house (before 1954), when we were staying with friends at Sanca Park. Mr. Brown took us kids into his garage, opened his chest freezer, and made us all ice cream cones. A nice guy."

Note from Joanne Edwards: Hi, I am interested in buying pictures or postcards of the Glass House.  Lots of people in Regina have not heard of this place and would like to see pictures as it was a very interesting place when I saw this house years ago.  I appreciate any help you can give me.  My e-mail is edwardsjoanne@hotmail.com. 

Note from Carol Brestar in Yakima: Greetings from Washington State! I was just cruising around on Google looking at childhood vacation places and found your article on the glass house.  We stopped many times there on our way up to Nelson while I was growing up.  It was always fun to walk around and see all the bottles that were there.  I am hoping to be able to take my own children there someday as I have shown my oldest daughter pictures of the house that my parents took.

I know of one other glass house in BC--at Duncan. There is a flat-roofed masonry house just north of Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon, built by a retired Vancouver bricklayer, which has a few bottles inserted into screen walls, but it is not a "glass house." Does anyone know of any others?

From Bob Brown: The glass house at Boston Bar was also done by Dave Brown as his brother Bill owned the property. It was an auto court called Kanyon View, I think the building housed a type of generator. 

Note from Ian Campbell: The glass house in Duncan, BC, has been gone since at least the late 1980s. It stood a little ways south of town near what is now Dinter's Garden Center, I believe. It was a victim of highway expansion and urban development. Unfortunately, I never did get to see it up close. Always planned to stop there and never did…


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Artwork and text ©Michael Kluckner, 2001, 2002