British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1984

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 Published by the British Columbia Historical Federation
VOLUME 17, No. 4
HISTORICAL NEWS On the cover ...
The mam entrance to the Provincial Archives, Victoria, is reached via a sunken courtyard that features plants and
shrubs native to British Columbia. The original Archives was housed in the Parliament Buildings.
...story starts on page four
Member societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct addresses
for their society and for its member subscribers are up-to-date. Please send changes to both
the treasurer and the editor whose addresses are at the bottom of the next page. The Annual
Report as at October 31 should show a telephone number for contact.
Member dues for the year 1982-83 (Volume 16) were paid by the following member
Alberni District Historical Society, Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Atlin Historical Society, P.O. Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
BCHA — Gulf Islands Branch, c/o P.O. Box 35, Saturna Island, B.C. VON 2Y0
BCHA — Victoria Branch, c/o Margaret Bell, 1187 Hampshire, Victoria. B.C. V8S 4T1
Burnaby Historical Society, c/o 5406 Manor St., Burnaby, B.C. V5G 1B7 :
Chemainus Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
Creston & District Historical & Museum Society, P.O. Box 1123, Creston, B.C. VOB 1G0
District 69 Historical Society, P.O. Box 213, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0.
East Kootenay Historical Association, c/o H. Mayberry, 216 6th Avenue S.,
Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 2H6
Golden & District Historical Society, Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1H0
Hedley Heritage, Arts & Crafts Society (1983), P.O. Box 218, Hedley, B.C. VOX 1K0
Ladysmith New Horizons Historical Society, c/o Mrs. V. Cull, R.R. #2,
Ladysmith, B.C. VOR 2E0
Lantzville Historical Society, c/o Susan Crayston, Box 76, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Nanaimo Historical Society, P.O. Box 933, Station "A", Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Nanooa Historical & Museum Society, R.R. #1, Box 5, Kinghorn Rd., Nanoose Bay, B.C. VOR 2R0
Nootka Sound Historical Society, Box 748, Gold River, B.C. VOP 1G0
North Shore Historical Society, c/o Robert W. Brown, 2327 Kilmarnock Crescent,
North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 223
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum and Archives, Box 21, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society, c/o A.C. Killip, R.R. #1, Site 142, C-19,
Qualicum Beach, B.C. VOR 2T0
Saltspring Island Historical Society, c/o Mrs. Olive Clayton, R.R. #3, Comp. 4, Scott Pt. #1,
Ganges, B.C. V0S1E0
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society, c/o Mrs. Ray Joy, 10719 Bayfield Road, R.R. #3,
Sidney, B.C. V8L 3P6
Silvery Slocan Historical Society, P.O. Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
Trail Historical Society, P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
West Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 91785, West Vancouver, B.C. V7V 4S1
Windermere District Historical Society, Box 784, Invermere, B.C. VOA 1K0
Affiliated Croups
City of White Rock Museum Archives Society, 1030 Martin St., White Rock, B.C. V4B 5E3
The Hallmark Society, 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8 BRITISH COLUMBIA
The Provincial Archives of British Columbia        4
by John Bovey
Photographs by a German Prisoner of War, 1914        9
by Barbara Stannard
A Little Girl in Trail Ninety Years Ago     11
by Elsie Turnbull
The Hope or New Dewdney Trail      15
by R.C. Harris
Dishwashing in Pioneer Days   19
by Naomi Miller
B.C. Historical Federation Convention, Vernon    21
The Lieutenant-Governor's Award for Historical Merit      23
Writing Competition      24
News and Notes
Reports from the Branches     25
Treasurer's Annual Report    26
Contest  27
Introducing     28
Museums and Archives  29
Research  29
Francis Rattenbury and British Columbia: Architecture and Challenge in the Imperial
Age by Anthony A. Barrett and Rhodri Wilson Liscombe; review by Terry Reksten ..  30
Imagine Please: Early Radio Broadcasting in British Columbia by Dennis J. Duffy;
review by Brian Tobin    31
Extra.' when the Papers Had the Only News by Peter Stursberg; review by Brian Tobin   32
Because of Gold... by Branwen C. Patenaude; review by Emily Sutherland   32
Fur Trade and Exploration: Opening the Far Northwest, 1821-1852 by Theodore
Karamanski; review by Dr. Richard Glover  33
Second-class mail registration number 4447.
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. Our Charitable Donations number is 0404681-52-27. Printed by Prestige Printers, Victoria,
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be addressed to 1745 Taylor St., Victoria, B.C. V8R3E8. Send all
other correspondence, including changes of address, to the Vancouver address given above.
Subscriptions: Institutional $16.00 per year; Individual (non-members) $8.00 per year.
The B.C. Historical Federation gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the British Columbia Heritage
Trust. John A. Bovey
Provincial Archivist
The Provincial Archives of British Columbia
Part One:
The Provincial Archives of British Columbia is
the oldest archival institution in Canada west of
the Great Lakes. The foundations of its collection
were laid in the 1890s within the scope of the
Legislative Library, which was then being reorganized, while its history as a separate institution
begins in 1908 with the appointment of R.E.
Gosnell as Provincial Archivist.
Other western provinces certainly did not
hurry to follow British Columbia's example; the
next provincial archives to be established was the
Saskatchewan Archives Board in 1945. In 1952
Manitoba appointed its first Provincial Archivist,
and finally, in 1965, the Provincial Archives of
Alberta was founded. Yet the West was not
unusual in being slow to take official steps to
preserve its documentary heritage. Much more
surprising is the record of the Maritime Provinces
on this score. Nova Scotia may rightly boast that it
founded the first governmental archival institution in Canada, in 1852, but the archives of Prince
Edward Island were not established until 1964,
that of Newfoundland and Labrador until 1959,
and those of New Brunswick, the Loyalist colony
founded in 1784, until 1967. The question why the
ten Canadian provinces have shown such marked official differences—or indifferences—to the
preservation of their histories is a subject ripe for
speculation and investigation.
In British Columbia's care the relatively early
establishment of the Provincial Archives seems to
be related to both of the dictionary definitions of
the word "Archives": (1)"the place in which
records are stored;" (2) "the records so kept."
In 1893 the present Legislative Buildings were
being constructed. A library was included in the
plans and, in the library, a repository for historical
records could be provided. Not only did circumstances offer an administrative niche and a
physical home for historical records, but the
government of Premier Theodore Davie chose as
legislative librarian a man fascinated by history,
R.E. Gosnell. Before the Legislative Buildings
officially opened in February 1898, the archives
of the Province of British Columbia began to
materialize in both senses of the dictionary
definition of the word.
The completion of the Connaught Library in
1915 gave the Provincial Archives the home that
many readers of the Historical News will remember well. The top floor of the Library accommodated the Archives' staff, collections, a small
museum, as well as visitors and researchers, for
fifty-five years.
Until the move into the Connaught Library was
made, the collections were little used by the
public. But then the researching was remarkably
small by contemporary standards. British Columbia was just opening its first university in 1915,
and the population of the province was only
450,000. The most obvious result of the collection
built up in the previous twenty years was to be
seen in the writings of the men in charge of the
Library and the Archives. GosneU's A History of
British Columbia, for example, was published in
1906, while E.O. Scholefield, Chief Librarian from
1900 to 1910, and Provincial Librarian and
Archivist from 1910 until his death in 1919, was
the joint author with Judge F.W. Howay of British
Columbia from the Earliest Times to the Present,
published in 1914. In 1915 a contributor to the
New York Nation expressed his gratification to
learn that an "open door policy" was about to be
inaugurated, and that "scholars from all sections" might use the rich collections.
In 1970 the Provincial Archives moved out of
the Connaught Library to occupy its present
home, one of the components of the Heritage
Court complex at the corner of Belleville and
Government streets. As a photograph shows, the
expansion was long overdue because accommodation for researchers had become woefully
inadequate, staff and public sat almost literally on
top of each other, and the attics around the
dome were filled to overflowing with government records, manuscript collections, photo-
Page 4 Interior view of the original Provincial Archives.
graphs, framed prints and paintings, period
clothing, and even, in one unforgettable corner,
a grouping of saddles and machine guns. The
artifacts were all transferred to the Provincial
Museum at the time of the move.
Although the distinction between the Legislative Library—or the Provincial Library as it was
long titled—and the Provincial Archives was first
drawn in 1908, the two have had a very close
relationship up to the present time. Until 1974, in
fact, the Provincial Archivist and the Provincial
Librarian were usually the same person. Dr.
Willard Ireland was appointed Provincial Archivist in 1940 and Provincial Librarian in 1946. It was
only after his retirement in 1974 that the positions
were permanently separated. Mr. Allan R. Turner
was appointed Provincial Archivist that year, and
Mr. James G. Mitchell was appointed Legislative
Librarian. At the same time, statutory precision
replaced popular usage, for the "Provincial"
Library returned to the name of Legislative
Library, under which it had been formally
established eighty years before.
Visual Records
The Visual Records Division preserves pictorial
collections of historic photographs and documentary art relating to the history and culture of
British Columbia. The collections offer a rich
field for research consisting of approximately
two and a half million photographs and six
thousand paintings, drawings and prints.
The Historic Photograph collection ranges
from nineteenth century direct positive forms
such as Daguerreotype, Tintype and Ambrotype,
through negative/positive print forms such as
Collodian glass plate and Albumen print, to
contemporary colour transparencies from both
government and private sources.
Included are collections of important early
B.C. photographers such as Frederick Dally, F.G.
Claudet, Richard and Hannah Maynard, Edward
Dossiter, J. Howard A. Chapman, John Savannah,
"Trio", and the complete studio files of several
significant B.C. commercial photographers; the
non-current photographs of government ministries, and family collections often accumulated
over many generations.
Catalogued photographs numbering approximately 100,000 images are accessed through
reference files ordered in geographic, topical
and biographic series, while uncatalogued
collections are made available by appointment.
Paintings, drawings and prints held by the
Archives are collected as much or more for
informational content than aesthetic value
although fortunately the latter is often a dividend. While the work of historically significant
professional artists is sought for its biographical
application, many artists in the collection are
known first as military personnel, surveyors,
journalists, gold miners, pioneers, or were simply
amateurs sketching for personal amusement.
A special part of the collection which predates
the popularization of photography in the late
1860s and 1870s provides the only source of visual
records for what later became the Province. A
few rare 18th century views originate from
exploration and early trade on the North West
Coast while many more images date from the
expanded activity seen in the colonial period.
As documentary collections, their use tends to
be more in day to day reference and research,
often for publication, than for the assembly of
exhibits of a predetermined subject as is found in
an art gallery or museum. Access to paintings is
provided primarily through an artist and title
index but a growing number of finding aids
provide alternative access by chronological
period and topical heading. Copy prints (8x10
b/w glossy) may be ordered of originals in both
collections, and colour transparencies can be
prepared for most paintings, drawings and prints
originals. Persistently high volumes of photographic orders make it advisable to plan projects
and place orders well in advance of any deadline
As an extension of Visual Records, the Emily
Carr Gallery, located at 1107 Wharf Street,
Victoria, exhibits original works by Carr and
other historically significant artists represented in
the Provincial Archives collection. Drawing from
all sources in the Provincial Archives, the Emily
Page 5 Carr Gallery incorporates manuscripts, newspaper articles, letters, journals and historic
photographs in regularly rotating exhibits.
Reproductions of a selection of Emily Carr
originals and other colonial artists works are
obtainable at the Gallery. Films on Emily Carr and
tours of the current exhibit are also provided.
Library and Maps Section
The Library and Maps Section administers two
of the Archives' major collections: the Library of
the Provincial Archives and the Map Collection.
Until February 1982 these two collections were
administered separately, but a reorganization at
that time brought them under the direction of
one section head. There is no internal administrative division between the Library and the Map
Collection, although at present the Archivist 2 is
principally responsible for map work and the
Librarians for the book collection.
The Library of the Provincial Archives, formerly known as the Northwest Collection, has
apparently existed as long as the Archives,
although it may have at one time been considered a special collection of the Provincial (now
Legislative) Library. Since it was reclassified and
recatalogued by Dr. Kaye Lamb in the 1930s, it has
been clearly identified with the Provincial
Archives. The major objectives served by the
development and maintenance of the Library
are: 1)to support research in British Columbia
history: political, economic, social and cultural;
2) to enhance the knowledge and skills of staff
through the acquisition of professional literature; and 3) to complement other collections in
the Provincial Archives. Extension of the Library's
scope in recent years to include greater support
for the Archives staff has been the rationale for
renaming the collection; it is no longer just a
regional "Northwest Collection".
The Archives is justly proud of its Library,
which includes extensive holdings of printed
accounts of early voyages to British Columbia,
Alaska, the West Coast of the United States, as
well as Siberia and Kamchatka. Journals of early
overland expeditions are also prominent, as are
primary and secondary works on the fur trade
from the Lakehead to the Pacific Coast. An earlier
interest in exploration of the Canadian and
Alaskan Arctic is reflected in substantial holdings
of early works on this topic, but very few
additions have been made in recent years. The
Provincial Archives has de facto responsibility for
collecting and preserving the imprints of the
colonial administrations of British Columbia and
Vancouver Island, which are not considered part
of the Legislative Library's government publications collecting mandate. The Archives Library
does not, in fact, have any officially mandated
collecting responsibility, and it is not a depository
library as is sometimes erroneously stated. Our
objectives justify the collecting of a wide range of
material, whether substantial or ephemeral, and
early imprints of British Columbia or about this
province are eagerly sought. Staff and space
limitations do, however, prevent us from selecting everything published in or about British
Columbia. Local and general histories, biographies, political and economic treatises and
most works on Native, Euro-Canadian and
immigrant cultures help serve the aim of supporting the study of British Columbia history. The
Library now has approximately 41,000 titles in
59,000 volumes.
A further important part of the Library are the
4200 reels of British Columbia newspapers on
microfilm. Most of these holdings are transferred
from the Legislative Library in 1981, and they are
currently supplemented by further transfers of
the products of the Legislative Library's microfilming program and by film received by subscription from commercial producers.
The famous "Vertical File", a magnificent
resource of approximately 405,000 clippings and
other ephemera, was created between the late
1940s or early 1950s and 1982. Since it was closed,
it has been the nominal responsibility of this
Section, and we are actively investigating the
possibility of microfilming the file.
The Library and Map Section's other major
collection is, of course, the Map Collection. It
major objectives are: 1)to preserve and make
available the published maps and the carto--
graphic and architectural archives of the Provincial Government; 2) to support research in
history, geography and cartography by acquiring
and making available maps of British Columbia,
as well as any other maps showing this part of the
world; 3) to contribute to the study of British
Columbia's architectural heritage through the
acquisition of plans by important architects or
plans representative of building types; and 4) to
complement other collections in the Provincial
While major improvements in the areas of map
conservation, storage and initial administrative
control have been effected in the last five years,
cataloguing lags far behind, and the systematic
acquisition of published and archival maps and
Page 6 plans of the Provincial Government still is
relatively undeveloped. Large series of maps and
architectural plans which are available for
transfer from government offices pose problems
for even the best organized map archives
because of the very awkward nature of maps, and
the inadequate storage facilities in their offices of
origin. The orderly scheduling of government
records by the new Records Management
Branch should allow this section to plan acquisitions more rationally, and new accessions may
come in better order and in more convenient
formats (e.g. microfilm) than heretofore.
Pu rchases, transfers from other departments of
the Archives, and smaller-scale, more manageable acquisitions from government (particularly
published maps) still make up the bulk of our
intake. In the last two years we have reinstituted
purchasing of antiquarian maps from private
map sellers. This program picks up an old and
long-standing pattern of acquiring maps intended to show the development of geographical
knowledge of this part of the world. Valuable
early atlases and maps had been purchased
earlier, some originally published in the early
sixteenth century. Treasures such as Ptolemy and
Ortelius atlases, now clearly beyond our budget,
were acquired when prices were nearer the
means of a Provincial Archives on the Pacific
fringes of the British Empire.
Transfers from other collections in the Archives produce a never-ending supply of maps—
manuscripts and published—most of which are
new to the collection. The interchange of
provenance information between divisions lays
down the "paper path" which ensures that
researchers can trace a map that has, say, been
transferred from the Manuscripts and Government Records Division to the Map Collection
and, also, that the map user will be able to
ascertain the documentary context in which the
map was produced or filed.
Architectural plans of various government
departments make up the bulk of our holdings in
this area. About 1400 originals from the files of
the old Department of Public Works were
accessioned in 1978, and microfilm of the rest of
the file of over 10,000 plans was acquired at the
same time. Various other files of plans, especially
from regulatory offices such as the Fire Commissioner, have come to us at other times. Our
acquisition of the plans of private architects has
been necessarily selective due to space limitations, but we are particularly proud of our
holdings of the works of F.M. Rattenbury, P.L.
James, and Peter Cotton, to name a few of the
more prominent ones. We are fortunate to have
the drawings from the 1850s and 1860s of three of
the first four buildings to serve as Government
House in Victoria, including the house constructed too late to keep a disappointed Richard
Blanshard at his Vancouver Island post.
Conservation and cataloguing of maps are two
of the most tenacious problems of this Section.
Fully a third of the 12,000 catalogued maps are in
serious need of repair—most of this fraction lack
adequate mechanical strength to be handled.
Resources for conservation may never be
sufficient to undertake the needed work, so we
will look to methods within the means and range
of skills of the Library and Maps Section. Simple
flattening and cleaning may be followed by mylar
encapsulation if the needed intermediate step of
deacidification can be accomplished. Cataloguing is a rather slow process, and much recatalogu-
ing is necessary. Fortunately, national and
international standards of description have been
laid down in the last few years, and we can be
confident that we will produce records which
should not need modification in the future. Staff
to do the actual cataloguing is not available at
present, but a program to reduce the backlog in
the Library is underway. Its successful completion will free at least one professional librarian to
work on maps. Complete and competent cataloguing of the Map Collection is the key to
making this valuable collection accessible to the
Sound and Moving Images Division
The Sound and Moving Image Division acquires and preserves sound recordings, films and
video recordings (moving images) of enduring
value to British Columbia, and makes these
records available to the public for research and
other uses.
The division is the official repository for non-
current films, sound and video recordings
produced by and for the British Columbia
government, its agencies and Crown corporations. The principal functions of the division are
to locate, select and preserve those materials
which have long term legal, administrative and
historical value, and to make them available for
official and public use. The staff also extends
advice to these government bodies regarding
retention methods for their holdings of audio
visual materials.
A second major responsibility of the division is
to preserve the sound recordings and moving
images of private organizations and individuals.
Page 7
\ Films, videotapes, published and unpublished
sound recordings and other sound artifacts are
selectively acquired to ensure permanent preservation and public access.
The division's holdings comprise more than
20,000 hours of sound recordings, more than
1,500 films, several hundred videotape recordings. The Archives provides listening carrels and
viewing equipment for researchers. In addition,
transcripts of many of the audio recordings have
been prepared and are available upon request.
Copies may be obtained, subject to donor and
copyright conditions.
A special service of the division is to present
oral history workshops for organizations wishing
to record spoken history. Through these workshops the division aims to encourage public
participation in this method of preserving British
Columbia's heritage, and to set standards of
recording quality and tape documentation.
The division has recently published Voices: A
Guide to Oral History, a guide for creating,
preserving and using oral history. It is the only
book of its kind published in Canada.
The Sound and Moving Image Division is the
most recent addition to the Provincial Archives,
having been added in 1974. The division currently has a staff of five; three archivists, an audiovisual technician and one clerical support
The Collection of Sound Recordings
The collection of original sound recordings is
one of the largest in Canada and is comprised of
cassette and reel-to-reel tapes, phonodiscs and
wire recordings. Recorded material consists of
oral history interviews, speeches, conferences,
folklore, ethnology, folk and popular music,
poetry, radio programs and sound effects.
Oral History
Recorded interviews with people about their
past form the largest part of the division's
holdings. These include collections of oral
history tapes produced by local history societies,
museums and individuals which document the
history of many British Columbia communities.
Another large group of recordings focus upon
subjects of historical and cultural interest to the
province. Subjects presented are ethnic groups,
Native Indians, industries and institutions,
politics and public administration, the arts,
recreation, women, and regional studies.
The Imbert Orchard Collection consists of
recorded interviews with over 900 persons from
varied walks of life and from all regions of British
Columbia, many of whom belong to the first
generation of settlers. It is one of the finest
collections of material on Canadian pioneer life
ever produced. Mr. Orchard, a broadcaster,
made the recordings for a series of radio
documentaries for the CBC. Because of the
broadcast quality, the tapes not only preserve a
rich account of early life in British Columbia but
capture the voices and personalities of its
pioneers. Forming part of this collection are
approximately 170 radio documentaries which
were produced by Mr. Orchard.
Other radio holdings include phonodiscs and
tape recordings of live radio coverage of significant events and broadcasts from the 1930s to the
British Columbia Music
The division holds the "British Columbia Song
Writers' Collection" of songs and instrumental
music by British Columbia composers, and the
Phil Thomas Folk Music Collection of 500
recorded musical items performed by singers
and musicians throughout the province. Acquisitions of phonodiscs include the productions of
British Columbia's first recording studio, Aragon
Records (1945-1971), and published sound
recordings produced by more recent recording
studios or which feature British Columbia talent.
The division is the only public institution in
British Columbia which systematically collects
and preserves British Columbia published sound
Prior to replacing Willard Ireland in September 1979 as
Provincial Archivist for the province of British
Columbia, John Bovey was the Archivist for the
Government of the Northwest Territories from 1962 to
7966, and Provincial Archivist for the province of
Manitoba from 1967 to 1979.
The history of the Provincial Archives will
continue in the next issue of the Historical News
with Part Two: Manuscripts Division. This
division forms the vital core of the Archival
Page 8 Barbara Stannard
Photographs by a German Prisoner of War, 1914
During World War I, German prisoners of war were housed in the Provincial Jail on Stewart Avenue in
Nanaimo. These people were both political detainees and military, and supervision was very superficial-
morning and evening roll call were accepted. The prisoners planted trees on the boulevards of the streets
of Nanaimo.
A Mr. Eckles was one of these prisoners (we are not sure which category he represented). During his
time in Nanaimo, he took many photographs of the area, but after World War I he moved to Seattle. He
passed away recently, and a neighbour returned to the Nanaimo Centennial Museum one of his albums
containing many valuable pictures of the Nanaimo area. On these pages is a brief sample of the local
history Mr. Eckles recorded while a prisoner of war.
Page 9 Salmon cannery, Newcastle
Sandstone quarry, Newcastle
Island. As early as 1872 the
sandstone quarry on Newcastle
Island was providing structural
material for important buildings on
the Pacific coast, such as the Mint
at San Francisco.
Barbara Stannard is immediate past president of the
BCHF. She has been a member of the Federation for
twenty-four years. For an even longer period of time
she has played a key role in the history of the
Nanaimo Museum Society. She helped to supervise
the construction and operation of the Nanaimo
Museum, where she is the conservator, and she is
currently President of the Nanaimo Museum Society.
In recognition of her outstanding service to the
community, the City of Nanaimo honoured Barbara
as Citizen of The Year in June 1984.
Page 10 Elsie G. Turnbull
A Little Girl in Trail Ninety Years Ago
When she looked back to childhood days,
everything appeared in a series of pictures, and
somehow these pictures seemed unique. They
belonged to her alone, just as her parents did.
Her parents were Danish but she herself had
been born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Then her
father, who was a butcher by trade, decided to
join his brother Simon F. Petersen in running a
workmen's hotel, in the newly opened Trail
Creek Mining District where extensive deposits
of copper-gold ore had been discovered in the
Rossland Mountains.
British Columbia's Simon Petersen had heard
in the summer of 1895 that Fritz Augustus
Heinze, a mining tycoon from Butte, Montana,
was about to build a smelter to treat ores from
the Rossland mines, at a landing on the
Columbia River. Arriving at Trail Creek Landing
in July 1895, Petersen found E.S. Topping, Mr.
Humphries and S.E. Green appraising a townsite,
which was to be put on the market in a short
time. Making a deposit on three lots close to the
river bank at the corner of Bay Avenue and
Spokane Street, he boarded the steamer for
Nakusp to get lumber. On his return he set two
men to work on the Crown Point Hotel, building
a small place at the rear of the lots for living while
construction continued. By the middle of August
the floor of a 40'x40' structure was laid and,
foreseeing a busy time, Petersen sent for his
brothers Julius and John to join him in the new
Early in September John Petersen arrived with
his wife Laura, daughter Anna, and Anna's
cream-colored English mastiff, Fanny. Anna was
nine years old that day they came down the
Columbia River on the thrashing paddlewheel
steamer. That night, darkness swallowed the hills
on each side of the shiny water as they
approached the Landing, but myriads of little
fires could be seen along the beach. "Look,
Anna, those are Indians," said the boat's captain.
She knew no different, but next day when she
looked out she saw they were not Indians but
groups of workmen, sleeping and eating on the
stony shore. There was no other place for them
to go. In the roughly cleared area above the boat
dock stood a few tents and shacks, and the one
hotel other than her uncle's. It was called the
Trail House, run by E.S. Topping and Frank
Hanna. The Crown Point was unfinished and yet
already it was full of guests. Sometimes in the
morning she and her mother had to step over
sleeping men lying on the hallway floor.
Everything was very rough that first autumn.
Dusty roads skirted stump-covered lots; light
came from coal-oil lamps; water was delivered at
the door from a barrel wagon. The sound of
hammering and sawing was constant as builders
sought to replace tents which housed barber,
shoemaker, laundryman and short-order cooks.
Across from the hotel stood a livery stable, noisy
with neighing horses and creaking wagons as
packers and drivers unloaded freight from the
By Christmas time the smelter was almost
ready for its blowing-in ceremony, which would
take place in early February. A dozen or more
shops lined the roadways, neat frame houses had
appeared in town, and a new Opera House
opened with a Grand Ball on Christmas Night.
The Crown Point Hotel celebrated with a dinner
of special goodies imported from St. Paul,
Minnesota, and a four-page colored folder
presented a menu featuring among the
conventional duck, turkey and ham, plum
pudding and mince pie, bluepoints on the half
shell, mock turtle soup, oranges, apples, nuts,
raisins and grapes. Anna recalled many festive
occasions when townspeople gathered in the
large dining room or annex of the hotel for
dances or card parties. Everything called for a
Page 11 time of fun—a birthday, a holiday or arrival of
distinguished visitors.
Spring of 1896 saw the appearance of the first
scowload of rolling stock for the Trail Creek
Tramway, a narrow-gauge line built to haul ore
from the Rossland mines to the smelter, with a
spur through the town of Trail to the waterfront.
Trains shunted up and down many times each
day as freight was unloaded from the steamboat.
Anna remembered that sometimes the smelter
owner, big handsome Fritz Heinze, came to
town, arriving in a private coach which had
belonged to Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. It
was switched to a siding behind the Crown Point
where all the children flocked to see it in
curiosity. With his aides, Heinze moved into the
hotel, making it noisy with parties and games.
Often he brought lady friends but that stopped
when her father disapproved, and Heinze went
to another hotel.
Thoughts of school brought a series of pictures
to her mind. At first there was the big bare room
in the Hanna Block, with a teacher at each end
and two classes sitting back to back. Then she
climbed the steep hill to a rough, one-room
shack whose wooden desks and benches were
homemade and sticky with resin which clung to
her dresses. Knot holes in the walls kept falling
out, leaving holes through which one could
glimpse the outside world. The pupils pushed
their pencils down cracks in the floor, and then
had to go outside and crawl beneath the
building to retrieve them. How cold and rude
that schoolhouse was! The young teacher
couldn't keep order and sometimes had to send
for school trustee Mr. Hanna to thrash the big
boys for her. Fire destroyed the shack and then
she went to a new schoolhouse, much more
sturdily built and more comfortable.
Always there was talk about the big mines up
the hill in Rossland. Herfatherand uncles ran the
cookhouse at the Crown Point mine, which lay
on the lower flank of Lake Mountain. One day
she rode with her father as he took up supplies.
Astride the back of a heavily laden pony she
followed him along the narrow road beside Trail
Creek. Just beyond Warfield the path was
blocked by debris, and her father pushed into
the growth of trees while the horses clambered
over a trackless hillside. How terrified she was as
she clung to her precarious perch!
Later there were journeys to the town of
Rossland in an open democrat drawn by four
horses, or a trip in a cutter over the crisp snows of
Page 12 winter. Sometimes she travelled in the little,
narrow-gauge train which chugged and puffed
up the winding switchbacks. Stacked cordwood
stood close to the track, ready for use in the
wood-burning locomotive, and on one trip they
found a pile burning fiercely. The conductor
closed doors and windows tightly, the engineer
got up a head of steam, and the train rushed
through the flames as fast as possible. Cinders
and sparks fell on the cars, smoke billowed
through the coach, but nothing caught fire and
the travellers passed the hazard safely.
Excursions on the river boats were gala affairs.
Chapman's band played music all the way up the
lakes, and the grownups danced until the boat
docked at a picnic spot. Lunch was eaten on the
beach, baseball games entertained the crowd,
and at dusk all returned aboard, to slip swiftly
downriver with music floating over the water
and cool night breezes brushing against their
Then there was the time in the spring of 1898
when her father and uncles built a hotel—a
second Crown Point—in the town of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn was headquarters for construction
crews building the Columbia & Western railway
from Robson, at the foot of the Arrow Lakes, to
Cascade and on to Midway. An instant town
sprang up beside the warehouses and wharf, and
in a month's time saloons were operating, and
nearly all kinds of stores. The Crown Point was
soon serving breakfast, and customers were
lining up at the bar (as the local newspaper
reported) "as thick as editors in Paradise!"
Anna's parents would not let her stay in the
rough and ready town. Instead, she was sent to
Kyle's Hotel at Deer Park across the lake. Here
she rode a mule over the pleasant hills and
meadows. Often her mother rowed over for a
visit, and sometimes her father came with
Colonel Topping to inspect the mines they
owned up in the mountains. A year later the
railway crews had moved on past Brooklyn and
the town closed down, stripped of doors and
windows and anything else that could be carried.
The Petersens returned to Trail. Nothing came of
the Deer Park mines and her father sold his
Suddenly the good times were over. Heinze,
facing opposition in further railway construction
plans, and competition from the new smelter
built at Northport by the LeRoi Company, sold
his holdings in February 1898 to the Canadian
Pacific Railway Company. The new owners
closed the smelter temporarily, but seemed in no
hurry to re-open. Anna's father decided there
was not enough business to keep three families,
so he moved to Spokane where he set up a
butcher shop. Anna's childhood days in Trail
were ended, but later she would marry
storekeeper Jack Young and return to live out
her life in the smelter town.
Although the Petersens have long been gone
from the Kootenays, the Crown Point Hotel still
stands in Trail at the corner of Bay Avenue and
Spokane Street. It is not the original 2V2 storey
building that S.F. Petersen raised before the
smelter had taken form, but a four-storey, foursquare replacement, erected in 1929, which
proudly flaunts the old advertisement: "Crown
Point! Best Bar! Best Meals! Best Hotel! Since
Autumn 1895!"
Elsie Turnbull Uved in Trail from 1928 to 1966. She
has written four books on the Trail area:
Topping's Trail, Trail Between Two Wars, Trail
1901-1961, and Church in the Kootenays (a
history of the United Church). These books are
available from Mrs. Turnbull, Victoria, or from
the Giftshop, Provincial Museum, Victoria.
Back Issues of the News
Back issues of the News can be ordered at $3.50
each plus postage from the Editor.
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Page 14 R.C. Harris
The Hope or New Dewdney Trail
Routes to British Columbia's Southern Interior
Following the setting of the international
boundary at the 49th parallel in 1846, an "all
British" trade route was established by the
Hudson's Bay Company from the lower Fraser
River to Kamloops. This line shifted, in stages,
ever further to the south and east, as required to
serve British Columbia's southern interior.
1848 This HBC Brigade Trail was built from
Fort Yale to Nicola and Kamloops, going
northeast over the Cascades from
Kequeloose, near the site of Alexandra
1849 South of Nicola, the HBC trail was
relocated. It now ran due east from Fort
Hope, up Peers Creek and over Manson
Ridge, crossing the Cascade Divide at
the head of Podunk Creek. At that time,
Podunk Creek was regarded as the
Similkameen or Tulameen River, since
that was the way that the trail went. It is
now perceived as a branch of Tulameen.
River. From the first crossing of the main
river, the trail used Blackeye's Trail to cut
across the great bend of the Tulameen,
rejoining it at Campement des Femmes.
Here the trail met the main Similkameen
Trail, which led left up the Otter Valley
for Nicola and Kamloops, or right, down
the Similkameen Valley to the Okanagan, and to Fort Colville in Washington
1860 Enough gold mining developed down
the Similkameen and at Rock Creek that
Governor Douglas ordered improvements to the difficult 1849 pack trail over
Manson Ridge. The result was Dewdney's "Good Mule Road to Similkameen",1 via the Nicolum and Sumallo
Rivers, up Snass Creek and over the
Cascade Divide just west of the Punch
Bowl. The mule road then swung round
to Whipsaw Creek, which led down to
Vermilion Forks (now Princeton). This
trail became known as the Canyon Trail,
from the canyon at the head of Snass
(Canyon) Creek.
1861 Business continued brisk in the Rock
Creek area. Douglas ordered Dewdney's
mule road widened to a wagon road.2
Eighty-three sappers under Captain
Grant worked east from Hope, augmented by fifty civilians.
At the same time, exploring ahead, the
Royal Engineers cut a 22 mile diversion
of the Dewdney Trail,3 marked A to B on
the map. This bypassed the canyon
section of the trail, and the wet stretch
north of the Snass and Skaist mountains.
The new trail crossed the Cascade
Divide further to the southeast, at what
became the Grant, or Hope Pass.
With some further relocations in 1864,
this became the main route between
Hope and Princeton for the next 40 or so
years. The trail was not abandoned until
the present Hope-Princeton highway
was completed in 1949, but as early as
1906, Charles Camsell4 noted the trail
was little used.
Nor was the Dewdney Trail completely abandoned, the softer ground and
better feed suiting it to sheep and cattle
1874 The passes over the Cascade Divide were
explored and reported on by George
Landvoight5 of Hope, for the Lands and
Works Department. Settlers were
demanding a better cattle trail to the
coast. South (Allison) Pass received
favourable consideration; though
longer, it was lower, and could be used a
month sooner in the spring, and a month
later in the autumn.
1911 Surveys for the proposed southern
Trans-Provincial Highway ran even
closer to the 49th parallel, going south
from Hope, via Silverhope and Nepope-
kum creeks, crossing the Cascade Divide
at (Luke) Gibson's Pass, and joining the
present highway near Manning Park
Lodge. This was the furthest south of any
contemplated route to the interior.
Page 15 A.C. Anderson was taken this way by
his Indian guide in May, 1846. Anderson
soon rejected it as too steep, too rocky,
and heading too far south from
Kamloops, and he turned back.
1949 The southern Trans-Provincial Highway
was completed on its present alignment,
crossing the Cascade Divide at Allison
Pass. Though this line is 20 miles longer
than the Hope Trail, Allison Pass is 1500
feet lower than Hope Pass. The valleys
are wider; some parts of the road have
recently been widened to four lanes.
Building the Grant or Hope Trail (Sept. and
Oct. 1861)
(See footnotes 2, 3, 8-11)
After the Dewdney Trail's first winter, 1860/61,
there was concern that snow lay too late in the
narrow canyon at the head of Snass Creek. This
defile is a former glacial meltwater channel, with
vastly over-steepened sides, prone to blocking
by frequent snowslides and broken trees.
Furthermore, in summer there were swamps and
mudholes, unsuited to heavy freight traffic,
north of the Snass and Skaist mountains.
Alternatives were examined.
While extending the wagon road from Hope,
the Royal Engineers explored the Cascade
Divide east and south of the Punch Bowl. Sapper
James Turnbull recommended the Skaist-
Whipsaw route, Governor Douglas set a budget
of £6000 for the project, and Captain Grant
pushed on with the new trail, ahead of the
wagon road construction.
The 22 mile diversion was built in "a little over
three weeks", and soon became the main east-
west trail. Though higher, and lacking horse
feed, it led through drier, more open country,
and was a few miles shorter.
Public records show that the trail, like all
others, required steady maintenance,6 and that
some sections were soon relocated to more
favourable ground. Many maps and descriptions
of journeys over the trail are also on record. (A
few are given in footnotes 4, 5,12-22.)
The trail has had several alternate names, apart
from those used above, including the New
Dewdney Trail, or, of course, the Dewdney Trail.
As early as 1863, a heavy user, the Hudson's Bay
Company, requested improvements to the new
trail. The Lands and Works Department7 sent
surveyor J.B. Launders to examine and report in
the spring of 1864. Using Launders' report and
sketches, a six mile section of the trail was
relocated on the drier north side of the upper
Skaist valley, rejoining the old trail exactly at the
summit. To get the extra distance for a
reasonable grade on this side, the great zigzags,
which remain to this day, were built.
Another significant change was made on tne
upper Skagit between Miles 27 and 28, where the
present highway makes two crossings below a
high cutbank to the north.
The Hope Trail Today
Point A on the map is Mile 25 from Hope, at
the head of Rhododendron Flats, just above the
Snass (Canyon) Creek bridge on the present
highway, and well inside Manning Park. Work
on the wagon road ceased here in October 1861,
never to be resumed, as attention was diverted to
the Cariboo gold rush. The remains of a work
camp are here. Judge Begbie had a house
From Snass Creek bridge, the Hope Trail
climbs east, above the highway. The unmistakable groove may be followed intermittently as tar
east as the Skaist River. Above the Skagit Bluffs
section is a parallel trail for cattle, intended to
keep them back from the steep sidehill. Where
the highway has encroached on the old trail, the
Parks Branch is joining the old trail sections with
new trail, to make a continuous route.
A good section of old trail, with rock cribbing,
is the 1864 relocation above the cutbank on the
Skagit River, at mile 27. This eliminated two
unreliable crossings of the river (until recently,
known as Cedar Creek).
The section of trail up Skaist River has been
reopened for foot or horse traffic for some years
now, allowing travel from Highway 3, through
Hope Pass, and down Whipsaw Creek. Cattle are
brought up Whipsaw Creek every summer, to
graze west and north of Hope Pass.
Point B on the map is near the junction of 47
Mile and Whipsaw creeks. Before the Hope Trail
was built, 47 Mile Creek was taken to be the
headwaters of Whipsaw Creek, since the
Dewdney Trail went that way. More field study is
required in this area to determine the
intersections of the Governor's, Dewdney and
Hope trails.
1 R.C. Harris, "A Good Mule Road to Similkameen", B.C.
Historical News (Spring 1981).
Page 16 2 "...the waggon road the Royal Engineers ... is
progressing most favourably. ... Capt. Grant has
received a report from a party of Sappers sent by him...
that they have discovered a pass South of the
Punchbowl which again joins the present [Dewdney]
trail about a mile and a half beyond the prairie at the
junction of ... the Governor's trail with that of Mr.
Dewdney, by which a saving of about ten miles will be
effected...." Peter O'Reilly to W.A.C. Young, August
17, 1861. File 1280, Colonial Correspondence,
Provincial Archives of British Columbia.
Peter O'Reilly was gold commissioner and magistrate
at Hope in its busiest days. He was the colonial
government in the district. W.A.C. Young was
Governor Douglas' Colonial Secretary, based in
Victoria, V.I.
A section of this road is commemorated as the
"Engineers Road" at a stop of interest near the west
entrance to Manning Park.
The "Governor's Trail" was a ridge trail running west
from Princeton to intersect the 1858 Whatcom Trail
below what is now Paradise Valley. It will be described
in a future issue of B.C. Historical News.
3 / enclose Sapper Turnbull's report to me respecting a
different line from Sergeant McColl's, from the Skagit
to the Similkameen.
Should you abandon the present [McCo//'s] line, I
sanction you carrying [forward] a Mute 7ra/7 at once,
continuing also in rear the Waggon Road.
The total expense may not exceed the £6000
R.C. Moody to J. Grant, "on the Similkameen Road",
21 August 1861, New Westminster. CAB 30.71 Book 3,
pp. 2-3, Colonial Correspondence PABC.
Lt. Col. R.C. Moody, R.E. was Officer Commanding
the Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers, and also
the colony's first Chief Commissioner of Lands and
Works, an appointment of equivalent rank to Attorney
Captain Jack Grant, R.E., was Moody's construction
officer, sometimes called "the greatest roadbuilder of
them all." In the summer of 1861, Captain Grant was
widening [Dewdney's 1860] "mule road to Similkameen" into a wagon road, to serve the Similkameen
and Rock Creek mines.
Sapper James Turnbull, a surveyor and draftsman
with the Royal Engineers, explored and laid out many
of the routes adopted in the early days of British
Sergeant William McColl had recently laid out the
line of Dewdney's mule road up Snass Creek and north
of the Snass and Skaist mountains.
4 "Princeton can be reached ... over the old Hope trail
across the mountains from Hope. Hope is distant about
65 miles, and the trail is merely a pack trail, which is not
being much used at the present time ... only ... from
May to October." Charles Camsell, "Preliminary
Report on a Part of the Similkameen District", with
map. Geological Survey of Canada No. 986,1906.
5 "South Pass Exploration—Hope to Nicola," by George
Landvoight; Hope, 14th September, 1873 (1874 is
intended) B.C. Sessional Papers, Report of Public
Works, 1874, pp. 328-330; and sketch map.
G 'The Hope-Similkameen trail will be open by the 30th
of this month. I have entered into a contract with ...
[John Fall] Allison, who for £120 makes a firm foot trail
the whole distance—75 [actually 65] mi'/es—to have
thoroughly repaired this road would have cost a very
considerable sum of money, for no less than five
bridges were destroyed..." E.H. Sanders to W.A.G.
Young, Colonial Secretary, June 20, 1862. Colonial
Correspondence, PABC
Peter O'Reilly was transferred north when the main
gold mining excitement moved north. Hope become
nearly deserted. E.H. Sanders, gold commissioner and
magistrate at Yale added the responsibilities of Hope to
his own. Winter 1861/62 was a heavy one.
7 James Benjamin Launders, surveyor, engraver,
draftsman, and former Royal Engineer, continued
working in the Lands and Works Department when the
Royal Engineers were disbanded in 1863. The new
C.C.L. and W. was Joseph Trutch, for whom Launders
later drew the renowned 1871 "Trutch" map of British
Columbia. By then, Launders had a decade of surveying
and mapping experience in the country involved.
In this letter, Launders was reporting on his
inspection of the Hope Trail, ordered by Trutch on 26
May 1864. Launders included sketches of his proposed
relocations of the Grant Trail.
Launders found snow slides extended from mile IV2
to mile 5V2 up the Skagit Pass [upper Snass or Canyon
Creek]. There was too much snow to continue on
Dewdney's Trail beyond [Hubbard Creek] so he struck
southeast, across country, to Captain Grant's trail near
the summit [Hope or Grant Pass]; thence down
Whipsaw Creek to Princeton, "where the inhabitants
don't expect the Dewdney Trail to open in 1864."
Launders'main recommendation was to relocate the
Grant trail in the headwaters of Skaist River to the
sunny north side of the valley—the snow there had
already gone.
More work was needed above Skagit Bluffs, about
one mile from the end of the [Engineer's] wagon road.
James B. Launders to Joseph Trutch, June 9, 1864.
F969/2 Colonial Correspondence, PABC.
The work was done by J.F. Allison, and accepted by
Launders, in 1864. A.N. Birch also reported officially on
Allison's work in September 1864.
B Moody acknowledges instructions from Governor
Douglas to push "the new route from hence [near
Rhododendron Flats] to Shimilkomeen" and will use
"Captain Grant's known energy..."
The wagon road is "...approaching the Skagit river,
and the woodchoppers in advance have commenced
opening the new line."
Moody asks for an additional £1000 [say $4,000],
which was grants. Moody to Douglas, Sept. 4, 1861.
F928/12, Colonial Correspondence, PABC.
9 "The wagon road is progressing most favourably.
Captain Grant has spent three days during the last week
in exploring the new pass beyond the Skagit." O'Reilly
to Young, Sept. 14, 1861, F1280 Colonial Correspondence, PABC.
10 "... the wagon road has been completed to within a
half a mile of Mr. Begbie's house on the Scagit Flat, a
distance of 25 miles from Hope.
Page 17 "The Engineers under the command of Captain
Grant are now employed in constructing a mule trail
from that point to Similkameen ... will [probably]
complete to Princeton this season." Ibid., Oct. 11,1861.
11 "The new [Hope or Grant] trail has been completed by
... Captain Grant to the third creek [47 Mile] from
Similkameen, where it joins the old [Dewdney] trail
about six miles this side of Johnston's store. [Point B on
the map.] / returned by it, and think it shorter than
McColl's Une, the grades are easy throughout ... but
feed is not as plentiful as I expected. The entire distance
from the turnoffat Scagit flat to its junction with the old
trail will be about 38 miles [actually, about 22 miles],
which has been completed in a little over three weeks.
"The Engineers have returned to Hope and are
waiting the arrival of the steamer to convey them to
[winter quarters at] Westminster." Ibid, Oct. 31,1861.
12 "/ had a small pack train sent to me at Fort Hope, and
with this I commenced my journey on the 29th of June
[7873]. Following the wagon road by the Nicolaume
and Sumallow Valleys to the River Skagit, I took the
Grant Trail up the valley of the latter, the slopes of
which are in many places steep and rocky to the summit
of the mountain which the aneroid indicated to be 5600
ft. above sea level.
After a pleasant ride down the Whipsaw Valley we
arrived ... at the Nine Mile Creek..." CPR Surveys,
Annual Report, 1877, p. 116.
13 "Sketch Map of portion of the New Westminster,
Similkameen and Yale Mining Divisions" shows "Main
Hope-Princeton Trail" up Skaist Creek. W.M. Brewer,
B.C. Minister of Mines Annual Report, 1915.
Down Whipsaw Creek are shown 41, 43, 45 and 47
Miles Creeks, [measured from Hope] and 9 Mile Creek,
[measured from Princeton].
14 "The party was organised at Princeton and moved up
the Hope-Princeton Trail by pack train. Arriving at
Hope Pass... we found... considerable... snow and no
horsefeed at all. This forced us to continue down the
Skaist Creek to the first feed, which we found at
Strawberry Flat, about 6 m/7es from and 2500 feet below
[Hope Pass] ... we ... worked down the Skaist and
Skagit Rivers to the junction with the Klesilkwa Rivers.
"We also made two side trips, one up Cedar Creek
[now the headwaters of Skagit River] as far as Allison
Pass, and the other up Mount Snaas between Skaist and
Canyon [Snass] Creeks." Report by G.J. Jackson, BCLS,
on the season's phototopographic surveys of the Skagit
Basin 1924. Minister of Lands (published 1925),
Sessional Papers, British Columbia, pp. 120-122.
15 March 1862. Conroy, J., Royal Engineers. A
lithographed map. "British Columbia, Hope to
Similkameen and Rock Creek...." shows the trails east
of Hope, but only "Capt. Grant's Trail 1861" is named.
16 1877. Landvoight, Geo. PABC F964. An informal journal
of a 16-day round trip, Hope to Keremeos, mostly on
foot, in February.
17 1877-78. "Report of Progress", Geological Survey of
Canada. Dawson, G.M. On p. 45Bto48B, he follows the
Hope Trail.
18 August 1883. (Sherman, General William Tecumseh;
U.S. Army, U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77,
AMA 275.) "A Map of the Country between Old Fort
Colville, W.T. and the Fraser River, B.C. showing the
Trail followed by the General of the Army."
19 1886. Trout, P.L. "Prospector's Manual"; PABC NW p.
971-355 T861 p. 21: "How to get there [Granite Creek]—
The Hope Trail"
20 1915. Davidson, Professor John, Provincial Botanist.
B.C. Sessional Papers, 1916. p. 94 to 111, and sketch
map. "Botanical Exploration of the Skagit River Basin,
21 1922. Geological Survey of Canada, "Summary
Report". Cairnes, C.E. p. 108. Descriptions and map in
text. The Hope Trail is called the Dewdney Trail in this
22 R.C. Harris, "The Hope Trail", B.C. Outdoors, (Feb.
23 R.C. Harris, "Dewdney's Second Contract", B.C.
Historical News (Summer 1981).
This year, Ontario celebrates its bicentennial.
As one of its contributions, the Royal Ontario
Museum has prepared a series of period costume
pattern diagrams. Two sets represent eighteenth
century dresses in the Museum's collection; a
third consists of diagrams for three dresses of the
decade 1834-1843. The pattern diagrams, which
include instructions on how they can be adapted
to fit dolls or adults of any size, may be obtained
for $7.95 plus 10% handling charges from the
Publication Services of the Royal Ontario
Museum, 100 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario
Page 18 Naomi Miller
The first provision for dishwashing at an early
settler's habitation was usually a washbasin seton
some improvised table or washstand. Dishes
were washed in a metal or enamel bowl that
likely served as a personal washbasin, too. Water
carried in from the well, creek, or pump was
heated in a kettle over a woodstove. Dishes were
set to drain on the table, or a cookie sheet, or in a
spare washbowl if one was available. Dishes were
dried with tattletale grey dishtowels made from
cloth flour or sugar sacks. This washing process
was done outdoors as long as weather permitted.
The bowl of dishwater would be carried over and
dumped on the garden, if such was established,
or flung among the surrounding trees.
When the tiny shack was expanded into a
house, a sink was built into the kitchen, with a
drain exiting above ground quite close to the
house. In our house we brought a cold water tap
into the house with the advent of the kitchen
sink. Water was heated in the kettle, supplemented with the warm water in the big reservoir
beside the stove. Dishes still had to be washed in
a washbasin. We whipped up suds for
dishwashing using a little wire cage holding
forlorn scraps of bath soap. Clear rinse water was
allowed to drain out of the sink, but the grey,
greasy dishwater was still carried outside to a
prearranged area for disposal. (That dishwater
area was a rich worm farm where my brother and
I gathered worms to sell to tourists for fishing.)
My uncle, Noel Bacchus, told me of one more
way dishes were washed in pioneer days. His
recounting went something like this:
When I came to Canada in 1919 the first job I
obtained was clearing land for Colonel
Richardson near Kaslo. He hired me and a
Swede named Carl Johannsen. On the block
next door to Colonel Richardson's there was a
tiny log cabin, empty at the time. Carl was a
good worker and we got along quite well. We
took turns doing the cooking and cleaning up
after meals.
Yes, I liked Carl and I liked his dog Fritz.
Towards the end of the summer Carl
insisted on doing the breakfast dishes every
day. I'd go off to start working and he'd follow
along pretty soon afterward. One day I forgot
my smokes, so I turned back to get them. As
soon as I could see the cabin I saw Carl's
dishwashing technique. He'd put the plates,
cups, and frypan on the doorstep and lolled in
the door while Fritz licked them clean. I was
mad at first, but then I had to laugh. And you
can be sure I washed my own dishes after that.
Ah yes ... pioneer dishwashing ... not
condoned even at Boy Scout camps anymore.
Public Health laws, affluence and education
have changed our ways.
Naomi Miller is 1st vice president of the BCHF, and
chairman of the Lieutenant-Governor's Award
"Wiggy" and the dishpan belong to Winifred
Spalding, South Pender Island, who is a 7ong-
time member of the BCHF.
Page 19 British Columbia Historical Federation's Annual
Convention, Vernon, May 3-6, 1984
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t/awtffl ^."4SS
Convention Characters
How many faces do you recognize? Fraser Wilson of the Burnaby Historical Society prepared this
intriguing collage. Many readers will remember Fraser's regular feature, "Candid Caricatures", which
appeared three or four times a week in the Vancouver Sun during the 1930s.
Page 20 Highlights of the Annual General Meeting
New president
Leonard McCann with guest
speaker Dr. Margaret Ormsby.
Friday afternoon visit to the
O'Keefe Ranch and St. Ann's
Sixty-five delegates and visitors were present
(approximately eighty people had registered for
the convention). Following a welcome by
President Barbara Stannard, Col. Gerry Andrews,
Honorary President, addressed the meeting.
The Treasurer, Rhys Richardson, reported that
the balance as at April 1st, including investments
and reserves for special purpose funds, was
$12,574.06. A grant of $4,000 had been received
for one year from the Heritage Trust for
publication of the B.C. Historical News
Magazine. There are now two affiliated groups
and twenty-seven member societies listing 1178
The Election of Officers was conducted by
Ruth Barnett. New officers are: President,
Leonard McCann; First Vice-President, Naomi
Miller; Second Vice-President, John Spittle; and
Member-at-Large, Mary Orr.
At the invitation of Edrie Holloway and Jack
Kendrick, who made a presentation regarding
the recreation of the Spanish ship Sut/7, next
year's BCHF Convention will be held on Galiano
Island, in the southern Gulf Islands, in May.
—Margaret Stoneberg
Page 21 His Honour the Honourable Robert C. Rogers and
Mrs. Rogers, with Charlie
Page 22 The Lieutenant-
Award for
Historical Merit
His Honour the Honourable Robert G. Rogers,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, has
kindly consented to be Honorary Patron of the
British Columbia Historical Federation, and to
allow the Federation's annual award for historical merit to be designated the Lieutenant-
Governor's Award.
This year, at the annual BCHF Convention held
in Vernon, the Lieutenant-Governor's Award
was presented by Honorary President Col.
Gerald S. Andrews to Mrs. Daphne Sleigh for her
book on local history, Discovering Deroche:
From Nicomen to Lake Errock. BCHF Secretary
Don Sale delivered a copy of this book to His
Honour at Government House on Saturday, May
12, 1984.
Col. Gerald S. Andrews and Daphne Sleigh
Page 23 Writing Competition
The British Columbia Historical Federation
invites submissions of books or articles for the
second annual competition for writers of British
Columbia history.
Any book with historical content published
in 1984 is eligible. Whether the work was
prepared as a thesis, or a community project, for
an industry, or an organization, or just for the
pleasure of sharing a pioneer's reminiscences, it
is considered history as long as names, locations,
and dates are included. Stories told in the
vernacular are acceptable when indicated as
quotations of a story teller. Please include the
selling price of the book, and an address from
where it may be purchased.
Submit your book with your name, address,
and telephone number to:
British Columbia Historical Federation
c/o Mrs. Naomi Miller
Box 105,
Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Book contest deadline is January 31,1985.
There will also be a prize for the writer
submitting the best historical article published in
the British Columbia Historical News quarterly
magazine. Articles are to be submitted directly
The Editor,
British Columbia Historical News,
1745 Taylor Street,
Victoria, B.C. V8R 3E8
Written length should be no more than 2,000 to
3,000 words, substantiated with footnotes if
possible, and accompanied by photographs if
available. Deadlines for the quarterly issues are
September 1, December 1, March 1, and June 1.
Naomi Miller presented a
Certificate of Merit to Shirlee
Smith Matheson at the BCHF
Convention for the best article
published in the B.C. Historical
News in 1983.
Deadline for Historical News is September 1,
1984. Please send all manuscripts to the Editor,
B.C. Historical News, 1745 Taylor Street, Victoria,
B.C. V8R 3E8.
Page 24 Reports from the Branches
The Society continues to play an active part in
both the past and present life of the city.
The two books published by the Society,
Company on the Coast in 1982, and Nanaimo
Retrospective in 1979, have been reprinted this
year. Nanaimo Retrospective has been revised,
and now contains the names of Mayors and
Freemen of the city, with a full index.
We shall miss Elizabeth Norcross who edited
the books, as she is now living in Duncan. She
recently received the first City of Nanaimo
Heritage Advisory Committee Service Award for
her contribution to the preservation of the city's
The Ethel Barraclough Memorial Fund book
awards were presented to Grade IX and X
students for essays on topics related to B.C.
History. Participating Secondary Schools in
School District 68 were given books for their
Two new projects remain in the planning
stage: A plaque will be installed in the old
cemetery on Comox Road, inscribed with the
names of pioneers interred there since 1853,
including a victim of the battle of Petropavlosk
on the Amchatka Peninsula during the Crimean
War. A Miners' Memorial is also proposed.
The Society's annual commemoration of the
arrival of the families who travelled from
Staffordshire in 1854 on the Princess Royal was
held on November 27th. B.C.H.F. President
Barbara Stannard recalled the trials of the voyage
from her own family's history and the ship's Log.
It is encouraging to see so many descendants
The Field Trip in June explored the museums
and countryside around Duncan.
—Daphne Paterson
This is the tenth anniversary of our society
being re-formed after a long dormant period.
We have a lot to show for the work put in by our
members over these years: our museum, our
collection of artifacts in storage, the counters
and fittings that we have stored for the day when
we have our own building, funds in the bank,
and a good and active membership. The
intangibles must not be forgotten—our museum
has fostered interest in the history of the
Cowichan Valley, help has been given to those
seeking information on the history of the Valley,
and each year we become better known.
While our major activity of the past year has
been the operation of the museum, we also put
on a tour of some historical points in Cowichan
for twenty members of the Nanaimo Historical
Society in June, 1983. Our major event was the
staging of an historic fashion show and tea on
March 24th this year that attracted an audience
of over two hundred. Representatives of
historical groups at Shawnigan Lake, Chemainus,
Crofton, Cowichan Lake, and Saltspring Island
were invited to attend and exhibit items from
their localities, and we received a good
response. We hope to have annual affairs of this
nature to build up communication and
cooperation among groups interested in the
preservation of history.
—J.W.A. Green,
Page 25 Burnaby
The Burnaby Historical Society meets each
second Wednesday, 8 p.m., Studio "3", James
Cowan Centre, for seven months of the year. The
Annual General Meeting is in March at the Ice
Cream Parlour, Heritage Village, Burnaby. The
June meeting features an outing, a noon picnic
and a tour of historical significance, usually a
museum. At Christmas, we enjoy a party with a
dinner and entertainment, in the home of one of
our 36 members.
West Vancouver
Our society was formed on February 25, 1982,
with the assistance of the West Vancouver Rotary
Club. The West Vancouver School Board has
assisted us by providing a meeting place, and
allotting the society a classroom in the Pauline
Johnson School as a work area. In the spring of
1983 we used the Community Recovery Program
to hire three aides to catalogue and file over 700
pictures, collected by Rupert Harrison, former
city clerk. Our society had ninety-three members in 1983.
—B.G. Holt
In an effort to try to clear up some misunderstandings that have arisen since the Federation's
Annual General Meeting in 1983, parts of various
letters that have been sent to Member Society
Office-bearers are repeated or re-interpreted:
(1) A Member Society sets its own dues for its
own purposes as it sees fit. Bylaw 2(1)(e) of the
Federation stipulates that "all members of a local
Member Society ... shall pay dues to the
Federation...." At that 1983 A.G.M. the members
dues were set at $1.00 per individual member
(however that term is defined by the Member
Society) plus another $4.00 if a subscription to
the magazine is desired.
(2) Since a Member Society sets its dues and its
Annual General Meeting, the above (and any
succeeding) change in Federation Dues/Subscriptions becomes effective for a particular
Society from the time of its succeeding A.G.M.
(3) For the Federation's purposes, involved as
it is with the production of The British Columbia
Historical News, it is desirable to receive
Member's Dues and Subscriptions from Member Societies as soon as possible after the start of
the program-and-publication year in September. To this end, some years ago, Council set a
common reporting date of October 31, whilst
acknowledging that each Member Society
establishes its own Financial Year. Regulation 7
under Bylaw 38 instructs the Federation Treasurer to send to the Treasurer of each Member
Society an "Annual Return" form before the end
of September. This gives Member Societies time
to prepare for the "Annual Return as at October
31." It is reasonable to expect that all such forms
should be completed and sent to the Federation
P.O. Box number before the following December 31. This fully completed "Annual Return"
helps to ensure that no oversight of entries and
receipts has occurred in the course of the
previous 12 months. During that 12 months each
Member Society will have had its own "drive"
for members and subscriptions to the B.C.
Historical News, and the resultant membership
(numbers) and subscribers (names and addresses), and any corresponding monies, should be
sent to the Federation P.O. Box. In the course of
the year, as additional members join and new.
subscriptions are made, the information (numbers) and monies (with names and addresses)
should be sent in. Keep in mind that no subscription can start until the Treasurer and Subscription Manager (through the Treasurer) have
received the information. Unless the A.G.M. of a
Member Society is held shortly before October
31, it is requested that any changes that are made
in the Office-bearers of a Member Society be
notified soon after the date of that meeting.
Now, leading up to the Financial Statement,
the Treasurer's records show that the Federation
consists of 27 Member Societies with 1178 Dues-
paying members, and 2 Affiliated Groups.
Subscribers to the B.C. Historical News include
907 members of Member Societies, 60 individuals and 97 institutions, for a total of 1,064
magazines. The post office invoice shows that
Page 26 1,248 copies of the magazine were mailed on
April 1. There is too big a difference between
these figures—1,248 copies mailed, 1,064 paid
for! The Subscription Manager is now showing
the expiry issue in the top right hand corner of
the address label, and will be removing a
subscriber's name if there is significant delay in
making the renewal payment. Conversely, an
early payment will extend the subscription by 4
In the Financial Statement a major change in
format is the separate presentation, as far as
possible, of The British Columbia Historical
News monies from those of the Federation's
Other Activities. There is no change in banking
practices as all monies are passed through our
Community Service Account at the Bank of
British Columbia.
Now, the Financial Statement in summary: we
began the Financial Year on April 1,1983 with a
Bank Balance of $7,768.32. During the year,
revenue allocated to the B.C. Historical News
was $5,532.74, whilst the actual cost of production and distribution was $11,858.49. The B.C.
Heritage Trust sent $3,333.00 being the last third
of its original grant, so that the net cost of the
magazine was $2,992.77 more than we received.
For the other activities of the Federation the
receipts from dues, interest and certain small
amounts totalled $2,748.54; working expenses
were $1,238.29 and an advance from the Publications Assistance Fund of $2,000.00 was also made,
so that there was an excess disbursement of
$489.75. The excess of the disbursements for the
magazine and for the other activities reduce the
bank balance ($7,768.32 - 2,992.77 - 489.75) to
$4,285.80 as on March 31,1984.
The Statement of Assets shows that we finished
the financial year with no change in investments,
whilst, as shown above, the working bank
balance was reduced. Also reduced were two
Special Purpose Funds: Council travel by $100.00
and publications assistance by $2,000.00. The
formulation of Regulation 9(3) under Bylaw 38
means that the two recipients in receipt of
advances must now be shown in the Statement
of Assets as having received the advance from
the publications assistance fund (one was not
reported in last year's financial report). Including
the advances just mentioned the Special Purpose
Funds amount to $7,072.69, and that leaves funds
available for general purposes at $12,574.08.
—J. Rhys Richardson
As this issue of the Historical News was being
prepared, the media was speculating on John
Turner's choice of constituency. Some commentators have suggested that he may choose to
run in British Columbia. If so, he could become
only the second prime minister to sit for a British
Columbia constituency. Our question is: who
was the first prime minister to represent a British
Columbia riding?
The prize is an appropriate one for summer. It
is a package of three volumes published by
Douglas & Mclntyre, namely: Exploring the
Southern Selkirks by John Carter and Doug
Leighton, Easy Hiking Around Vancouver by Jean
Cousins and Heather Robinson, and The West
Coast Trail by the Sierra Club of British Columbia.
While these volumes are designed to serve as
practical guides, they are well illustrated with
photographs and maps, and should appeal both
to outdoorsmen and armchair travellers.
Send your answer to the editor before September 1, 1984.
Recording Secretary, Margaret Stoneberg
Margaret grew up and attended school in
Montreal. Her first job during summer holidays
was with a newspaper. She subsequently worked
for nine years with the Princeton, B.C.
newspaper, when she became interested in local
history. Not only is Margaret a hard-working
member of the BCHF Executive Council, but she
is also a member of the British Columbia
Museums Society, and she assists with the
operation of the Princeton & District Pioneer
Museum and Archives.
The following society has recently joined the
Silvery Slocan Historical Society, New Denver
In Memoriam
History buffs throughout the lower mainland lost
a good friend with the passing of Bill Duthie,
owner of the Duthie chain of bookstores, in
April, 1984. Bill opened his first Duthie Books
store in August 1957, after serving as the western
representative for McClelland and Stewart.
Always supportive of Canadian writers and
publishers, he was happiest when selling a book
we wanted to read, rather than a book that
needed promotion. We shall miss him.
I wish to subscribe to B.C. Historical News. I enclose a cheque or money order payable to the
B.C. Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E, Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5.
Individual   Four issues for $8.00 ( )
Institutional     Four issues for $16.00 (__ )
NAME: . . _ _	
ADDRESS . ^ . .	
Postal Code
British Columbia Sports
Hall of Fame & Museum
Have you ever wondered who invented ice
rinks, what "Baggataway" was, or just exactly
when and how rugby evolved into football? Well
you wouldn't wonder anymore after paying a
visit to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and
Although located in the B.C. Pavilion on the
P.N.E. Grounds in Vancouver, the museum
encompasses the sporting history of the entire
province. Originally opened in 1966, the Hall of
Fame recognizes the achievements of this
province's outstanding athletes, coaches, and
builders. The institution has also begun to
document the fascinating history of sport in
British Columbia and is rapidly building a sports
archives that includes newspaper clippings,
scrapbooks, films, and photographs—all which
document a facet of social history that until
recently has to a large degree been ignored.
The displays reflect the changes in equipment
and facilities that have occurred in over 75sports
during British Columbia's development, and
provide the background upon which the
accomplishments of the athletes can be related.
A popular education program, "Neglected
Heritage", attracts school and community
groups of all ages year round and includes
informal lectures, films, and graded questionnaires which allow students to discover for
themselves how rich our sporting heritage is.
This year, a new display entitled "B.C. at the
Olympics", traces the accomplishments and
contributions made by B.C. athletes from as early
as 1912 through to the modern games.
Hours of operation are from 9:15 to 4:45
Monday to Friday. Guided tours and the use of
the library and archives can all be arranged
through the office (604) 253-2311/local 233 or
238, or write to Box 69020, Station K, Vancouver,
B.C. V5K4W3.
—Patricia Farrow
Assistant Curator
Yukon Archives
The Yukon Archives is located beside the
Whitehorse Library on Second Avenue at
Hawkins Street in Whitehorse, and its public
reading room is open to researchers from 9:00
a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The
Archives house Government Records dating
back to 1896, a collection of more than 15,000
photographs, corporate records, private manuscripts, films, sound recordings, a library of 6500
volumes, 2,000 maps and plans, and 65 individual
newspapers. For those people who are unable to
visit in person, the Archives can provide some
reference assistance through correspondence.
Write to: The Yukon Archives & Records Services, 2nd Avenue and Hawkins Street, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory Y1A2C6.
On the Trail of '98
Are you tracing someone who went to the
Klondike during the gold rush? If so, there are
several sources of information available at the
Yukon Archives that may help you. These are:
Mining recorders' records, Polk Directories,
Index to Miners' names in the 1902 Dawson
newspaper, and the Dawson City Funeral records. (See address for Yukon Archives in
Archives column.)
If you have the time and patience, you may
also find your quarry listed in a ship's passenger
list, published in newspapers for Victoria and
Vancouver. Relevant Vancouver and Victoria
newspapers are available on microfilm at the
three B.C. universities and in many public
Page 29 Bookshelf
Francis Rattenbury and British Columbia:
Architecture and Challenge in the Imperial Age.
Anthony A. Barrett and Rhodri Windsor
Liscombe. Vancouver: University of British
Columbia Press, 1983. pp. xii, 391, illus., $29.95
Rhodri Liscombe, an associate professor of fine
arts at UBC, had been cataloguing Rattenbury
buildings and collecting masses of information about
Rattenbury's career with the intention of producing
an "architectural monograph". Then in 1978,
Anthony Barrett, a classics professor whose
avocation is the study of famous British murder cases,
was given access to letters Rattenbury had written to
his family in England. These 87 letters represented
the only examples of Rattenbury's private
correspondence that have been found. (Recently,
after the death of Mary (Rattenbury) Burton, nine
letters were found among her papers and were
presented to the Victoria City Archives.)
Rattenbury's letters begged publication. But how
to include them in a study of Rattenbury's
architecture? Liscombe and Barrett solved this
problem by writing what their publisher describes as
a "professional biography".
"We decided," the authors state, "to combine
architecture and biography, so as to make our
account as comprehensive as possible." Whether
they succeeded in combining the two into a
satisfying whole depends primarily on the reader's
taste in biography. With its emphasis on brick and
stone rather than flesh and blood, Francis Rattenbury
and British Columbia works only as well as this type
of book can work. Inevitably, the man himself tends
to become somewhat lost in the detailed study of his
work. And detailed this book certainly is. An
appendix, which runs to fifteen pages, lists 111
Rattenbury designs, many of which are painstakingly
described in the text.
So apparently comprehensive is this study that
omissions attract more attention than they might
otherwise merit. It is, for example, hard to
understand how they missed, or why they neglected
to mention, the 'Chalet' at 1737 Rockland in Victoria,
a building long attributed to Rattenbury and
identified as "one of Rattenbury's more successful
residential commissions" in the inventory of
residential heritage buildings published by the City
of Victoria in 1978.
Some of the information they supply, which
corrects or at least contradicts other sources, is
strangely unexamined. Rattenbury's renovation of
the Hotel Dallas, they state, "seems to have been
confined to the interior." But they do not account for
the exterior changes apparent in before-and-after
photographs of the Dallas, nor do they attribute the
work to any other architect. They provide the
information that in 1908 Rattenbury invited tenders
for a schoolhouse to be erected for the Chinese
Benevolent Association in Victoria. But then they say
no more. Does this refer to the school standing on
Fisgard Street? If so, this contradicts Segger and
Franklin who, in their Victoria, A Primer for Regional
History in Architecture, attributed this building to
D.C. Frame. Or is it that Frame designed the building
and Rattenbury served as supervising architect? It
would be nice to know.
Intended for "both the specialist and the lay
reader", the text is clear, straightforward and
readable. And that, in an academic work, is
refreshing. But it should come as no surprise to
discover that a familiarity with architectural
terminology is required to process much of the
information supplied.
In describing the book as "richly illustrated", the
publisher is verging on understatement. The 200
illustrations, which include many buildings, sketches
and elevations not previously published, are superb.
Unfortunately, the book's standard (6x9) format does
not always do them justice and when three or four
sketches are printed on a single page, we are treated
to a microbe's-eye-view of Rattenbury's vision.
Not for those who want to curl up in front of the
fire for a good read, Rattenbury and British Columbia
will become a valuable source book for anyone
interested in the province's architectural heritage.
Terry Reksten is the author of the award-winning
biography, Rattenbury (1978).
Patricia Roy is the Book Review Editor. Copies of
books for review should be sent to her at 602-139
Clarence St., Victoria V8V2J1
Page 30 Imagine Please; Early Radio Broadcasting in
British Columbia. Dennis J. Duffy. Victoria:
Provincial Archives of British Columbia, 1983. Pp.
iv, 92, illus., $4.50. (Sound Heritage Series, no. 38).
Some readers will remember those days back in
the early '20s when schoolboys assembled radio sets
by buying a piece of equipment each week from
Woolworth's. Spools of fine wire, cardboard tubes
for vario-couplers, galena crystals with cat's
whiskers—slowly we amassed the components of a
wondrous machine that we didn't fully understand
but which, with the aid of borrowed headphones,
produced most satisfying Morse code in a rapid-fire
stutter, and, wonder of wonders, tiny sounds of
music and the human voice.
It is incredible now, at this late date, to learn that
the unseen, mystic transmitting stations which
caused our tableful of bits and pieces to emit soul-
stirring sounds were not much more sophisticated
than the receivers. There were "breadboard"
transmitters, with knobs and dials mounted on a
piece of wooden plank, and a cascade of tangled
wires falling to the floor. There were homemade
parts, haywire contrivances, bits of electrical
equipment borrowed from automobiles, telephones
and household machinery. It was a triumph of junk
calling unto junk—and it was wonderful!
The fantastic story of that era is detailed in the
book here reviewed. The title "Imagine Please" is
borrowed from the name of a series of radio plays
aired by producer Fletcher Markle over CKWX in
1940-41. The phrase recalls a fundamental difference
between radio and television, in that the radio
listener must depend on his imagination for
everything but the words he hears, whereas in TVthe
camera and the director's own ideas deprive the
audience of that pleasurable exercise. It is a theme
which frequently recurs as radio men get together to
discuss the world and their position in it.
Dennis J. Duffy has assembled a volume of
fascinating quotes from twenty-nine men and two
women who were prominent in the boisterous years
of the 1920s and '30s. The tapes were obtained from
numerous sources, including some from the
Provincial Archives of British Columbia.
It is interesting to note the scarcity of women in the
infancy of radio. Only later, when the TV screen
found it profitable to lure us with blonde curls and
attractive faces, did female announcers and
interviewers come into their own.
The desperate efforts of early broadcasters to keep
their low-powered, mostly homemade transmitters
on the air, the stratagems used to evade trouble with
government inspectors, curious about valid licences,
power output and live scheduling, and above all, the
frantic need for money—these were all part of the
early story.
Those were days when a dollar was worth more
than today, but tales of actors who participated in
radio plays for their share of a $5.00 fee, spread over
the whole cast, apparently were common. Most
programs used willing, stage-struck volunteers,
school choirs, musicians eager to be paid in publicity,
and other no-cost talent. One hilarious account by
Don Laws, who spent 30 years with CJOR in
Vancouver, tells us: "We had Laddy Watkis, who was
our accountant at CJOR. She was Laddy Watkis and
sang as a contralto; she was Margaret May and
played the piano. If she played and sang both, she
was Margaret May and Laddy Watkis."
Organ music, at the cost of a ten-second plug for
the movie theatre, amateur bands, live broadcasts
from hotels and dance halls, and news read from the
latest newspaper edition, all helped to fill in the time.
One small-town station read the entire weekly paper
on the air minutes after it appeared on the street,
despite the vociferous protests of the publisher. And
increasingly, as they became more readily available,
there were recordings, recordings, recordings.
A studio floor was often crowded with on-the-spot
sound effects—tubs of water, metal sheets, bells,
saws, whistles, and and grandfather clock to provide
chimes. A reasonable sound of horses' hooves could
be provided by the narrator beating himself on the
Many a mainland broadcast station got its start in
the back room of a hardware or electrical appliance
store. The storekeeper had radio sets to sell, but the
public had little opportunity to tune in a broadcast.
The answer was to improvise a transmitter, get a
licence and go on the air for one or several hours a
day to build a market for receiving sets.
Some of these stations were short-lived, or
frequently changed owners. Transmitter locations
and call letters were switched around as required.
Often several "stations" shared one outlet: a 1932
program lists a 730 kilocycle transmitter that
alternated as CKMO and CKWX during the day, and
in the evening became CKCD and CHLS. But in 1933
the granting of so-called "phantom licenses" was
The problem of interference from the signals of
other stations was common and could sometimes be
solved by illegally shifting your frequency slightly or
boosting your power. It was all part of the radio
It took a long time before advertisers with real
money could be lured into radio. But when they
were, better equipment could be bought, record
libraries assembled, power increased and staffs could
be adequately paid. The industry set out to become a
major entity in our lives.
Dennis Duffy has brought this fascinating epoch
alive again with his compendium of reminiscences
by many of the figures who were directly involved.
Page 31 With the vigorous teams of midwives who
attended its birth radio could not fail to thrive. And
with such a background of surging will-to-live as
radio provided, television could not fail to inherit the
prominent position it enjoys today.
But there is still a little sadness in some minds. To
quote Don Laws again: "Radio was glamorous.
People listened to radio. You know, you had these
big sets in the living room and it was the centre of
your living room. It was a different era, and I don't
think you can go back to it."
—Brian Tobin
Extra! When The Papers Had The Only News.
Peter Stursberg. Victoria. Provincial Archives of
British Columbia, 1982. Pp ii, 94, illus., $4.50.
(Sound Heritage Series, no. 35).
The editorial preface to Peter Stursberg's Extra!
When the Papers Had the Only News wisely disclaims
any attempt to present a definitive history of British
Columbia newspaperdom between the two great
wars of this century. The small volume is, rather, an
anthology of comments and reminiscences by two
dozen outstanding newspaper characters of those
years. The net result is a realistic picture of a vigorous,
chaotic, sometimes ruthless period in the history of
this province's daily news industry.
Some readers may question the space given to
describing a few hard-drinking, Hollywood-movie
types, but they were all able workers, and a genuine
part of the scene at a time when newspapermen were
expected by their employers to wear a jacket and tie,
and by their friends to have a bottle in the desk
It is a trifle ironic that the words of some writers,
familiar in style to many readers through their
printed output over the years, are here presented
through the medium of recording tape, and lose
their identity through the awkwardness of
impromptu speech.
A handful of individuals has been chosen from
scores of colleagues—Torchy Anderson, Mamie
Maloney Boggs, Evelyn Caldwell, Bill Forst, Bruce
Hutchison, Stuart Keate, Cliff MacKay, Pat Slattery,
Art Stott, Archie Wills and others. This, of course,
inevitably stirs memories of other possible
candidates for honorable mention: Sandy Graves,
Jack Scott, Bessie Forbes, Pinky McKelvie and so on.
But everyone could dredge up recollections, and
absence of alternative names is no criticism of the
book, merely a recognition of spatial discipline.
Perhaps the most significant chapter in the book is
the last, in which various news figures compare "the
old days" with "now"—often 'to the disparagement
of the latter. Comments on invasion by the computer
terminal, the shortcomings of television reporting,
the evolution of creative newspaper "reporters"
who find it easier to interpret the news than dig out
facts and write them down, the financiers and
industrialists who have replaced the dedicated ink-
stained publishers—these all make good journalistic
meat for chewing and will probably prove to be the
book's most interesting gift to the future.
Peter Stursberg has done a wide-ranging job and
nicely caught the spirit and feel of the era. After all,
he was there!
The photographs—mainly portraits and cluttered
newsroom shots—rouse nostalgia. A minor
annoyance is the list of errata noting misplaced type
and errors in photo captions—plus a number of
additional errors not caught by the proof readers.
But... that's newspaper business.
Brian Tobin is the retired editor of the Victoria
Because of Gold... Branwen C. Patenaude,
Quesnel: Branwen C. Patenaude Publisher, 1981.
illus. pp. 88.
In 1978 Quesnel celebrated fifty years of
incorporation. To commemorate the event a local
radio station asked Branwen Patenaude to write a
series of historic recollections about Quesnel's past.
The radio station had each tale read on the air. The
program was so successful that Miss Patenaude
decided to compile her tales into a book. The result is
a delightful collection of vignettes of Quesnel's
Miss Patenaude tells us about both the people and
the places that make up Quesnel. We meet such
colourful local characters as Alvin Johnston, Lily
Susag—"A Lady and a Pioneer", and the Sing Family.
Miss Patenaude also traces the history of Bohanon
House, The Old Fraser River Bridge, and the Quesnel
branch of the Royal Bank. Her descriptions of these
people and buildings, coupled with her careful
illustrations, make a valuable guide to Quesnel.
Everyone who reads this text is sure to find a
favourite story. The "Royal Bank Bathtub"
particularly appealed to me. In 1928 the Royal Bank
built a new branch in Quesnel. Most of the staff of
the bank lived in rented accommodation with
minimal plumbing facilities. Hence the bank decided
to incorporate a bathtub in the branch so that the
staff would, at least, be clean. "The luxury of a hot
bath was soon discovered by residents other than the
bank employees and it became a social privilege to
be allowed to use the heavy iron tub." (p. 38) In fact
the tub became so popular that the bank had to
schedule bathing times for its customers. I wonder if
bathtub and banking hours corresponded—10 am to
3 pm Mondays to Fridays and closed on holiday
Miss Patenaude's own illustrations of each of the
vignettes certainly add to the appeal of the text and
help the reader to get a "real feel" for Quesnel. Her
only omission (from the point of view of a non-
Page 32 Quesneller) is a map showing the points of interest
that she discusses. As a ready reference the map
would not only give the readers a sense of where
some of the events took place in relation to others,
but also enable us to follow the growth of the town.
Miss Patenaude is to be commended for her efforts
in this book. She has managed to compile an
interesting and informative series of tales which must
appeal not only to local residents but also to those of
us who have not yet been to Quesnel. Anyone
planning a trip to central British Columbia this
summer would do well to take Because of Gold... in
his suitcase.
Emily Sutherland is a recent graduate of the
University of British Columbia in History and French.
Fur Trade and Exploration: Opening the Far
Northwest, 1821-1852. Theodore Karamanski.
Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press,
1983. Pp. xxii, 330, illus., $27.95.
According to his brief curriculum vitae on the dust
cover, the young and handsome author of this book
got his bachelor's, masters' and doctoral degrees
from Loyola University in Chicago, where he now
teaches. This means we have western Canadian
history written from a United States' point of view.
That does not mean the history is badly written, but it
explains why the author, when considering persons
who had crossed the continent, should think first of
his fellow Americans, Lewis and Clark, who did not
travel until 1803-6, and, second only, of the Scot,
Alexander Mackenzie, who had reached the Pacific
ten years before Lewis and Clark started. Likewise,
his American angle doubtless explains his choice of
subject, since the borderlands between British North
America and the Russian Empire, which the traders
explored, have become borderlands between
Canada and the United States of America. And, while
discussing personal facts about the author, we
should add that "he had himself canoed and
backpacked" along the traders' routes—an enviable
qualification for a fur trade historian.
Dr. Karamanski has studied his period conscientiously. Among the men with whom he deals are
Samuel Black, Robert Campbell, John Bell, John
McLeod, Murdock McPherson and, of course,
George Simpson of whom he interestingly observes,
that Simpson "wanted expansion, but not its risks or
costs." (p. 214)
His illustrations include some of his own
photographs, four of the photos taken by CW.
Mathers before 1904, and pictures which Frederick
Remington painted for Caspar Whitney's On
Snowshoes to the Barren Grounds. These are good,
but examples from Frederick Whymper's 1868 book
on Alaska are less fortunate—one entitled "Moose
Hunting in the Yukon River" especially strains
credulity. (Moose are strong swimmers. How many
single canoeists can overtake one? Or make an
overarm downward dagger thrust across their
canoe's gunwale without upsetting?)
It is natural that Dr. Karamanski should be weakest
on broader aspects of his subject less immediately
tied to his special period. Thus his statement (p. 135)
that Simpson "sponsored the adoption" of York
boats, instead of canoes, is true only of the country
beyond the eleven-mile long barrier of the Methy
portage. Elsewhere these capacious and economical
craft had long been in general use by the Hudson's
Bay Company. It also hurts to read that "geography"
finally "brought the Nor'Westers down." (p. 3) That
corny old chestnut is such an unsatisfactory half-
truth! It so blandly ignores the striking advantages
which Hudson Bay lacked but the Nor'Westers
enjoyed in the St. Lawrence Valley: professional
firms to provide freighting canoes; abundant
birchbark of which to build them; a growing
population from whom to recruit voyageurs;
freedom from competition for men with British
armed forces in wartime—and for Britons "wartime"
meant most years between 1774 and 1821; also,
Montreal's opportunities for communicating with
inland posts were immeasurably superior to
London's route through the sub-arctic Hudson Strait.
Lastly, this half-truth obscures what was surely the
Nor'Westers' gravest weakness, extravagance so
reckless as finally to leave them, after all their
prosperous years, without reserves needed to face a
rainy day.
But, as noted, Dr. Karamanski is young; and the
younger one is, the less have been one's
opportunities to broaden one's knowledge. It would
be unfair, therefore, to overstress errors that belong
to the general background of his topic rather than to
his special period. Within that period his research
struck me as sound and his interesting book as full of
Dr. Richard Glover, a Victoria resident, taught
history at Carleton University for many years. One of
his special interests is the exploration of western
Canada. Among his publications is the Champlain
Society edition of David Thompson's Narrative.
Thinking of Publishing?
A seminar publishing local history, given by Philip
and Helen Akrigg, may be arranged for your
historical society. Please contact Leonard G.
McCann, #2, 1430 Maple Street, Vancouver, V6J
First Prize:
Discovering Deroche: From Nicomen to Lake
Author - Daphne Sleigh, 103 pages, $9.95
Order from: Mrs. Daphne Sleigh,
Box 29, Deroche, B.C., VOM 1C0
A very complete history of this area, 1800 to present.
Second Prize:
9th Report of the Boundary Historical Society
Editor - J.B. Glanville, 132 pages, $6.00 plus .75
Order from: Boundary Historical Society
Box 746
Grand Forks, B.C. V0H 1H0
An anthology
Honorable Mention:
Historic Guide to Ross Bay Cemetery
Author - John Adams, 40 pages, $4.95
Order from: Sono Nis Press
1745 Blanshard Street
Victoria, B.C.
Other Entries
'Til We See the Light of Hope
Editor - Ed Ouchi, 152 p. English, 156 p. Japanese,
Order from: Japanese Senior Citizens Association
307 - 24th Street
Vernon, B.C. V1T 7M2
A history of the Japanese people in the Vernon area.
Nanaimo - The Story of a City
Editors - T.D. Sale & Devina Smith, 68 pages, $9.95
Order from: Nanaimo & District Museum Society
100 Cameron Road
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
A presentation of pictures not commonly seen, plus
some written commentary.
Imagine Please—Early Radio Broadcasting in
British Columbia
Sound Heritage Series #38, 92 pages, $4.50
Author - Dennis J. Duffy
Order from: Sound & Moving Images Division
Provincial Archives
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4
Three Towns: A History of Kitimat
Author - Janice Beck, 67 pages, $4.95, $2.05 postage
Order from: Kitimat Centennial Museum
293 City Centre
Kitimat, B.C. V8C 1T6
Floodland & Forest—Memories of the Chilliwack Valley
Sound Heritage Series #37
Author - Imbert Orchard, 92 pages, $4.50
Order from: Sound & Moving Image Division
Provincial Archives
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4
Trevor Goodall's Memories of the Alberni Valley
Author - Trevor Goodall, 153 pages, $11.00
Order from: Nootka House Books
Port Alberni, B.C.
British Columbia Post Offices
Editor - William Topping, 72 pages, $8.00
Order from: William Topping
7430 Angus Drive
Vancouver, B.C. V6P 5K2
An index of all post offices in B.C. past & present.
As Far As I Know
Author - Peter S. Webster, 76 pages, $5.95
Order from: Campbell River Museum
1235 Island Highway
Campbell River, B.C. V9W 2C7
Memories of an Ahousat Elder, including some
legends of those people.
Pioneer Jewish Merchants of Vancouver Island
and British Columbia
Author - Cyril Edel Leonoff, 24 pages, $5.00
Order from: The Jewish Historical Society of B.C.
950 West 41st Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 2N7
Adventures in Arrowsmith Country
Author - David R. Elliott, 36 pages, $6.00
Order from: D.R. Elliott
Box 26, Pacific Shores
R.R. #1, Nanoose Bay, B.C. VOR 2R0
A tour guide with a few historical facts mixed with
current information.
Tall Tales of British Columbia
Sound Heritage Series #39, 100 pages, $4.50
Order from: Sound & Moving Image Div.
Provincial Archives
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4
Short stories of B.C.  history as told by local
Prince Rupert—A Gateway to Alaska & the
Pacific Vol. 2
Author: Dr. R.G. Large, 121 pages
Order from: Dr. R.G. Large
Box 759
Prince Rupert, B.C. V8J 3S1
A large glossy hardcovered book with many
illustrations and a wide coverage of sites & people.
Honorary Patron:
Honorary President:
His Honour, the Honourable Robert G. Rogers,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Col. G.S. Andrews, 116 Wellington, Victoria V8V 4H7
382-7202 (res.)
Leonard G. McCann, #2-1430 Maple St., Vancouver V6J 3R9
736-4431 (bus.)
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa VOB 2K0
422-3594 (res.)
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Rd., North Vancouver V7R 1R9
988-4565 (res.)
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper St., Nanaimo V9S 1X4
753-2067 (res.)
Recording Secretary:     Margaret Stoneberg, P.O. Box 687, Princeton VOX 1W0
295-3362 (res.)
J. Rhys Richardson, 2875 W. 29th, Vancouver V6L 1Y2
733-1897 (res.)
Myrtle Haslam, 1875 Wessex Road, Cowichan Bay VOR 1N0
748-8397 (res.)
Mary G. Orr, R.R. #1, Butler St., Summerland VOH 1Z0
Barbara Stannard, #211-450 Stewart Ave., Nanaimo V9S 5E9
754-6195 (res.)
Marie Elliott, Editor, B.C. Historical News, 1745 Taylor St., Victoria V8R 3E8
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President
Chairmen of Committees:
Seminars: Leonard G. McCann
Historic Trails: John D. Spittle
B.C. Historical News      Ruth Barnett, 680 Pinecrest Rd., Campbell River V9W 3P3
Policy Committee:        287-8097 (res.)
Award Committee:        Naomi Miller
Publications Assistance Helen Akrigg, 4633 W. 8th Ave., Vancouver V6R 2A6
Committee (not
involved 228-8606 (res.)
with B.C. Historical
News): Loans are available for publication.
Please submit manuscripts to Helen Akrigg. Recording secretary Margaret
Stoneberg, former past president Ruth Barnett, and Secretary Don Sale.
Saturday afternoon visit to the
Coldstream Ranch.
At the BCHF Convention, Vernon
Stuart Fleming welcomed
members Friday morning.
Frances Gundry, Anne Yandle,
Len McCann and Gerry Andrews.


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