Visual Narrative #031 – The Knoll House

VN #031: The Knoll House
Posted June 23 2024


The Knoll House

A Heritage Treasure in the West Chilcotin

One day while exploring the countryside near Chilanko Forks in the west Chilcotin, I came across an old ranch homestead. It seemed abandoned, so I drove in. I had no knowledge of the place and there was no sign of anyone tilling the land or living there. Intrigued, and interested in its apparent historical value, I photographed the place in depth.

When I got home, I searched the internet and discovered its story on the Canada’s Historic Places website.

The Knoll’s homestead from a neighbouring shed.

The Knoll House is a weathered, hand-hewn square timbered structure currently located on Chilanko Creek near Chilanko Forks. The building consists of a single-story sod-roofed section with a two-story Gambrel (barn-style) roofed addition, connected by a covered walkway.

Hand-hewn squared timbers and locking dovetail corners

Built entirely from locally obtained materials, this historic ranch house is valued as an example of the independent and resourceful early settlers of the central Chilcotin plateau. The Knoll House was for many years the home and ranch headquarters of the prominent ranching Knoll family.

Textured expression I.


Textured expression II.

A six-window perspective.

The hand-hewn timbers and locking dovetailed corner construction are valued as an example of skilled turn-of-the-century European craftsmanship. The adze-hewn beams and the Norwegian saddle notched corners in the original section are admired as rare examples of early Norwegian craftsmanship.

The Knoll house is also cherished as one of the last remaining structures built by the first non-aboriginal settlers in the Chilcotin during the late nineteenth century. The first, single storey section was built by Mr. & Mrs. Ole Nygard, when they arrived with a group of Norwegian settlers who later settled in Hagensborg in 1894.


Fleeing the recession in the eastern United States, the Nygards raised cattle at Chilanko Forks before returning to the Bella Coola valley in 1914 after selling to Arthur Knoll.

The addition built by the Knolls family is evidence of the building footprint in response to the needs of their growing family.

Today, a heritage sign marks the entrance to the historical landmark.



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