Ashcroft’s Barnes Block (at centre), pictured in 1912, was starting to take shape in 1898 with the impending construction of Clements’ Drug Store (false-fronted white building with two windows), Cumming’s General Store (false-fronted white building with three windows on the corner of 4th Street across from the Ashcroft Hotel), and the <em>Journal</em> building (two-storey building behind the other two). (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

Ashcroft’s Barnes Block (at centre), pictured in 1912, was starting to take shape in 1898 with the impending construction of Clements’ Drug Store (false-fronted white building with two windows), Cumming’s General Store (false-fronted white building with three windows on the corner of 4th Street across from the Ashcroft Hotel), and the Journal building (two-storey building behind the other two). (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

In 1898, big changes are announced for Ashcroft’s Barnes Block

A new drug store, general store, and newspaper building are reported to be on the way

125 YEARS AGO: JAN. 29, 1898

New Drug Store: Mr. J.H. Clements will shortly begin the erection of a new and commodious building for a drug and stationery store. It will be by the side of his present store. His trade has, by close attention, rapidly increased, and his business demands a larger stock and more space. [The site of Clements’ new store on Railway Avenue at 4th Street was a pharmacy until 2013, when People’s Drug Store moved to the 200 block of Railway.]

New General Store: Mr. J.C. Barnes has called for tenders for a building to be at once erected on his corner opposite the Ashcroft Hotel. It will be occupied by McArthur and Harper. [This building, on the corner of Railway and 4th beside Clements’ store, was to be better known as Cumming’s General Store after it was purchased by future Journal editor R.D. Cumming.]

New Newspaper Building: A new building for the Mining Journal and offices will shortly be begun on the Barnes Block [around the corner on 4th Street from Clements’ drug store and the new McArthur and Harper building], and a new building will take the place of the old one on the lot now occupied by the Journal office [in the 200 block of Railway Avenue].

Death Sentence Averted: A court was convened in town the other evening and a noted jurist living at Cache Creek elected judge. A stranger who had been detected in a snide trick was brought up for trial. At first the jury selected had about decided to hang him, and took him outside for that purpose, but after due deliberation concluded to find him guilty and let the court pronounce the sentence, which was duly given, that the culprit should be sentenced to drink three glasses of cold water. The culprit plead that the penalty was too severe for the first offence, but it was rigidly enforced. The result was that the next morning there was a more sober and better man in town.

100 YEARS AGO: JAN. 27, 1923

Roads In Good Shape: The roads in this country, generally speaking, are in excellent condition for sleighing, even into the remotest parts. The roads to Big Bar, Chilcoten, Fish Lake, Horsefly and Cedar Creek are in splendid shape for sleighing. Unlike other winters the main Cariboo road is still open for motor traffic between Ashcroft, Williams Lake and Quesnel. This is very unusual, as in former winters cars were stopped by heavy banks early in December and not infrequently in November. A daily motor stage has been maintained with but slight interruptions this winter between Ashcroft and Williams Lake, and from all appearances at present it will continue all through the season.

School Inspection: A.F. Matthews, inspector of schools for this district, was in Ashcroft Wednesday and Thursday of this week. He inspected the Lady Byng and also the Black Canyon school while here. He gives a good report of the Ashcroft school, and is well pleased with the standard of teaching as well as the progress that is being made by the pupils.

The Ice Carnival: A record crowd gathered at the rink last night and enjoyed an ice carnival which was perhaps the record of carnivals for Ashcroft. The weather was most agreeable, and conditions were such that the event was more successful than might otherwise have been. There were some very grotesque as well as beautiful costumes, and it was difficult to determine which one outdid the other in attractiveness. The judges were faced with a task which must have been unenviable. The “city band” was out in full swing and added to the attraction.

75 YEARS AGO: JAN. 29, 1948

Bags Four Cougars: Johnny Pierro of Cache Creek bagged a mother and three cub cougars several days ago up Scotty Creek way, about two and one half miles back of Ed Ferguson’s place. Johnny heard that there were cougars in the district, so took after them. Finding their tracks in the snow he followed, found a deer carcass, which was killed by the cougars, and soon after ran across the mother and her three cubs. There are more in the district up Loon Lake district and Johnny is out after them.

Loon Lake Cougar: Ed Dougherty tracked and killed a big cougar. The animal measured 8 feet 6 inches in length. The cougar had killed one of the Baker Bros. two year old Percheron colts, which led them to believe that such an animal was in the valley.

Loon Lake Freezes: Loon Lake froze over from one end to the other on January 25th. The temperature dropped to below zero on the 26th of January, first real cold weather this winter.

Watch Hockey Under Umbrellas: In Clinton on Wednesday, January 21st it was “the first time” for two things. The first hockey game was played at night and it was, surely, the first time that Clinton had seen people under umbrellas watching hockey! The Clinton Bluebirds played the Williams Lake Stampeders on an open air rink in a steady drizzle. The final score was 5-3 in favour of Clinton. It takes more than rain to dampen the ardour of Clinton hockey fans and there was a good crowd out. A dance in the community hall wound up the evening.

50 YEARS AGO: JAN. 25, 1973

Kumsheen School: The Board of School Trustees have been advised that the working drawings for the Kumsheen Secondary School in Lytton will be completed in the next few days. The school will be built totally of fire proof materials and be heated by propane fired roof-top heating-cooling units. These units during the hot weather will supply the school with refrigerated type air conditioning. The Board has also decided to request permission to renovate the heating in the Lytton Elementary School, also to roof-top heating-cooling units. The existing steam plant in this school has now reached the age that parts are no longer available to make repairs should there be any major breakdowns.

Walhachin and CP Rail: So far, our liaison officer, Jack Andrews, has not been contacted by CP Rail regarding repair of damages in the town during previous blasting efforts.

Marchand Approves Grant: Len Marchand, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Cariboo, has announced the approval of a $21,215 Local Initiative program grant to the Ashcroft Indian Band Community Development Committee, to employ seven people to develop a recreation area for the use of the residents of the Ashcroft area. The work to be done includes the preparation of a grassed playing area; the construction of 20 picnic tables and barbecue pits; the installation of an irrigation dam and water supply system; the making of a parking lot and the construction of various log buildings. Chief Clifford Kirkpatrick is in charge of the project which will not only create jobs but will also provide a recreation area for the enjoyment of Ashcroft residents.

Proposed Library Development: A cordial invitation is extended to the general public to attend a public meeting in Ashcroft next Saturday, Jan. 27th. The object of the meeting is to make known what is now taking place towards the establishment of an Integrated Library System for the Cariboo Regional District and the Thompson-Nicola District. The Plan, in brief, envisages a Resource Library, which would likely be in Kamloops, a Major Library in each large town, and a Community Library in each smaller town. Rural areas would have book collections housed in convenient locations while Bookmobile services would take care of scattered areas. The financing of the new Integrated Library System would be by a combination of local taxation and provincial aid. Those who are concerned with this plan are desirous of receiving the views and suggestions of the general public in the areas which the scheme is intended to serve.

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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