compiled by Columbian staff in 1989
The work of building numerous schools and hospitals in the Pacific Northwest in earlier years was directed from Vancouver, part of an effort of the Sisters of Charity of Providence.
As an architect and superintendent of construction, John B. Blanchet was an important figure in this work. At the time of his death here in February 1913 at the age of 73, Blanchet was credited for work on St. Vincent's Hospital in Portland, St. Joseph Hospital in Vancouver and numerous other institutions in Washington and Oregon.
For much of his career he had served under Mother Joseph, the Sisters' administrator.
Blanchet was a nephew of A. Magliore A. Blanchet, first bishop of Western Washington, and F. Norbert Blanchet, Oregon's first archbishop.
John Blanchet was born in Quebec province in Canada and was reported to have arrived in Vancouver in 1846.
He lived at the House of Providence, and apparently worked his way up gradually to bigger projects.
An 1876 letter to Mother Joseph, who was in Canada at the time, told of Blanchet's role in staging a bazaar, which brought in more that $1,000 to help provide for orphans housed by the Sisters. The same letter mentioned that Blanchet had planted "a number of trees," and that the Sisters' garden "looks well."