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In 1897, arrival of a woman mining expert creates a sensation

‘Miss Gire is a thorough mineralogist, and has a most pleasing manner with strangers’
Ashcroft c. 1906, showing the CP yard and station with Railway Avenue behind it; the Ashcroft Hotel is at centre to the right of the steam engine. In 1897 a chop house called The Welcome had opened along Railway, although its precise location is not known. (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

125 YEARS AGO: JAN. 1, 1898

Lillooet: The Christmas holidays have been enjoyed so far by all, good cheer abounding on all sides. On Thursday the 23rd, the school children and their teacher gave an entertainment in the new town hall. A large number of songs, recitations, tableaux, etc., made up the program and was enjoyed by all present. The smaller members of the concert company gave the most enjoyed numbers of the evening, one especially, Miss Flossie McKivor, bringing down the house with her inimitable rendering of “Hurry, Dr. Tommy!” St. Nic came, ushered in by the booming of bombs and squibs, to present to the expectant children the gifts on the Xmas tree.

Woman Mining Expert Arrives: Grand Forks: Miss Gire, an English mining expert, arrived yesterday, having come direct from Paris. She was on her way to Central camp, where she is heavily interested in mining properties. Miss Gire is a thorough mineralogist, and has a most pleasing manner with strangers. The novelty of seeing a female mining expert has created a sensation in these parts as Miss Gire is the first lady expert to appear in this section.

New Chop House: “The Welcome” is the name given to the new chop house opened by Woods & Keeler, on Railway avenue. The two young men will try and extend to all as hearty a welcome as the name implies. They will keep open night and day, and will have constantly on hand all kinds of shell fish. Give them a trial. They will also keep fresh bread, pies, cakes, etc. for sale.

North To Yukon: Major Perry, of the mounted police, who traveled ahead of his party to the coast to look up the facilities for getting into the Yukon country with his party, spent a day in Ashcroft this week gathering information for the use of the government. Major Perry, who is a thoroughly business-like officer, states that from advices received at Ottawa there will not be the destitution and famine so much feared at one time. He stated to the Journal that a party of mounted police would follow shortly bound for the northern country about 160 strong, and that the Canadian government would have a sufficient number of men there to enforce order and regulations, but does not anticipate any trouble in so doing.

From The Alaska Mining Record: Gospel bands and Salvation Army people are preparing to invade the Yukon next spring to point out to the miners the sinfulness of the greed of gold and their other manifold sins and wickedness. Having a dread of religious discussion, it is suggested very timidly, to those well-meaning people, that the terrorism of a warm hereafter will fail of a salutary effect upon the old-timers.

100 YEARS AGO: DEC. 30, 1922

Presbyterian Cantata: A large number of citizens and others gathered in the town hall on Thursday evening last and enjoyed the cantata “Santa Claus and the Fairy Godmother” which was presented under the auspices of the Woman’s Guild to the Presbyterian church. A notable lead was the part played by Miss Elsie Sutherland as the Fairy Godmother. She did not only act the part but she looked it as well. A number of the fairies staged a very pretty poinsettia drill which was very much enjoyed. The effort was augmented by the multi-coloured spot lights which were cast upon the performers. It seemed a true picture of what one might imagine a real fairy land scene to be. The staging of this proves just what talent is lying dormant in our very midst awaiting the magic wand which is to arouse it from slumber and bring it into action.

Congratulations: May I crave a brief space in your Journal, Mr. Editor, to pay a personal tribute to the many performers who played their parts so splendidly in the cantata on Thursday evening. Simply as one in the audience it is a pleasure to express a word of appreciation. The whole performance maintained a high level throughout. From the senior members down to the naive artistry of the youngest performer there was a rhythm, a beauty, a clearness and finish of rendering which not only bespoke the skill and patience of careful training, but captured and held the enthusiasm of the audience to the end. In thanking one and all for a most enjoyable evening, special mention should be made of those whose presence and help gave a singular fitness to the teaching of Santa Claus and the Fairy Godmother, never to miss a chance in doing a simple act of kindness. Signed, W.J. Kelley

Ashcroft Locals: Christmas is over! All we have to do now is to pay the bills, and this is the agony of the thing.

Mild Weather: The ill wind of a mild spell of weather may be blowing the householder some good in the saving of fuel, but it has put the “crimp” in the skating rink proposition.

75 YEARS AGO: JAN. 1, 1947

[From the Dec. 11, 1947 issue]: There will be no issue of the Journal the week New Year’s falls on. This is to allow the staff to have a ten day holiday, which has been the custom of the paper for some time.

50 YEARS AGO: DEC. 28, 1972

Village Of Ashcroft Year End Report: Plans are well underway for the year 1973. Major improvements to the water works system are slated for early spring. Another item proposed for the year is the purchase of a new fire truck to continue the present standard which the Fire Department has maintained. Other proposals which will receive consideration is the construction or purchase of suitable buildings to house the Municipal Office, Public Works Shop, and a possible new fire hall. A consideration is underway for a boundary extension to include a large surrounding area. The outlook for the year 1973 and in the future is for an exciting and substantial increase in growth, area and economy for the Village of Ashcroft.

Village Of Cache Creek Review: The following projects and equipment purchases were accomplished in 1972 under Mayor A.F. MacLean and Aldermen Larry Reaugh, Dave Debert, Ron Colclough and George Benna: Water extension program; paving project; purchase of ½ ton truck; municipal building; fence enclosure for water supply station; new fire siren. The Village of Cache Creek was also instrumental in assisting other concerns: a road connecting the Village to Development Area Lot 556, and a footbridge across the Bonaparte River attached to the Department of Highways bridge at the south end of town. The 1972 Council has spent many long hours deliberating about each project. They know they will not have pleased everyone, but they have honestly done what they considered to be in the best interests of Cache Creek.

Clean Windshields: Motorists are reminded that it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle while the windshield or any other windows in the vehicle are obscured with snow or frost. It takes but a few minutes to clean your windows before driving and it may save the life of a child or the embarrassment of being charged.

Do you want to read more from the Journal archives? An expanded version of this story is available on the Journal website at

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