Power station on the Bonaparte River near Ashcroft, date unknown. (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

Power station on the Bonaparte River near Ashcroft, date unknown. (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

In 1898, work starts on water and power plant for Ashcroft

Project hailed as excellent news: ‘Now look out for Ashcroft to grow’

125 YEARS AGO: JAN. 15, 1898

Good News For Ashcroft: The water works and electric light company have begun active work at Harper’s mill and have all machinery, lumber, etc., ordered for a first class plant and if the weather is favourable ninety days from now will see this deserving project well along towards completion. Power will be taken from the Bonaparte and a pump with large capacity will fill a reservoir on the hillside, 200 feet above the level of the river. Water will be supplied the residents and business houses at as cheap rates as can be afforded, and above all a splendid fire protection as well. Electric light will be furnished at the same rate that it is now supplied in large cities, and will be but little more than one half the cost of coal oil. Now look out for Ashcroft to grow.

The Clinton Ball: The Clinton annual ball occurred on the nights of the 6th and 7th of January. The music was good, the weather all that could be desired and those who attended enjoyed themselves. The McNiel Brothers of Lytton, that musical town, with the assistance of Mrs. Bell at the organ, furnished the intoxicating music and the ball went merrily on. The attendance was not as large as on some occasions but was large enough for perfect enjoyment. The supper at the hotels was well served and greatly appreciated. As the song goes, “There was a good time in the old town that night.”

Chilcoten: The country is prosperous and fair maids abound. By the way, Chilcoten has some as fine athletes as can be found in the northern country. How about a foot race? Ye fast men of Dog Creek, we have scheckles of silver to wager that our fellow can outrun yours. Come out or admit you can’t run.

Good Gold Season: A pleasant letter from Mr. John Bowron, Gold Commissioner for Cariboo, states his belief that a good season may be looked for next season, as the records in his office indicate great activity. “Long for Klondike as much as you will, be as enthusiastic as you please over Cassiar, dilate all you please on the richness of Omenica, but old Cariboo will still remain very dear to the heart of the gold seeker. The names of Williams and Lightning creeks have not lost their charm to the prospector.”

Barkerville: The winding up of the holiday festivities was the New Year’s Eve ball, which was another huge success in the dance line and lasted about six hours into the new year, the Grand March commencing at 9 the evening before, and a good supper at the Restaurant at midnight. When the tolling of the bell announced the New Year and the handshaking had been got through with, Mrs. Andrew Kelly ably led in singing “Auld Lang Syne”.

100 YEARS AGO: JAN. 13, 1923

At The Rink: There is no better or healthier exercise for both young and old than skating. It is an outdoor, winter sport which brings all the muscles of the body into play and stimulates blood circulation. And the proper circulation of the blood through the various parts of the body is one of the most valuable of disease preventatives in our animal matter. The Ashcroft skating rink is an entirely outdoor one, where the ice is made by flooding from the local water works supply. It is fully lighted by electricity, and covers an area as large as any in the interior of the province. Although the weather has not been favourably inclined recently, a few weeks of real zero temperature in December enabled Norman Mutch, the manager, to lay a good foundation and now the people of Ashcroft are fortunate in having ice available during the not too cold weather of January. Large crowds are patronizing the rink these nights; and even if you don’t skate, it is a pleasure to go down and be a spectator.

Little Snow: There is very little snow on any part of the Cariboo road, and autos are still running to Clinton, and as far as Williams Lake regularly. The roads are in splendid condition. A.M. Hinks is the man who fills a place on the Cariboo road between Ashcroft and Clinton which could not be dispensed with. His daily auto service is just as essential as the C.P.R.

Slide: A slide on the line of the P.G.E. between Squamish and Lillooet some time last week delayed the trains for a day. “On account of Monday next being a holiday,” says the Cariboo Observer, “the schedule for next week is delayed one day.” Imagine giving a train a holiday! Will the P.G.E. ever get down to “brass tacks”?

New Motor Highway In Jasper Park: A survey for a possible location for a forty-five mile stretch of motor road in Jasper National Park from the town of Jasper to the eastern park boundary is being carried out. Two lines are being run, one following for a distance of approximately twenty-five miles the abandoned Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Northern railway beds and the other running wholly independent of the old road beds. By this means it will be possible to select the most economical route and at the same time determine what portion of the abandoned grade may be utilized. When completed this road will form an important link in the proposed Edmonton-Vancouver motor highway.

75 YEARS AGO: JAN. 15, 1948

Board Of Trade Meeting: At the regular meeting of the Ashcroft and District Board of Trade held last Thursday in the Ashcroft Hotel, the maintenance of an efficient fire department was discussed and resulted in adoption of a motion to have an appeal made to the town for donations to the fire fund as was done in 1946.

Ladies’ Night: It was “Ladies’ Night” on Friday, Jan. 9th, when the Board of Trade entertained the ladies in the Clinton Community Hall. About fifty people turned out, the great majority being of the gentler sex. Bingo, a musical quiz, and contests comprised a smoothly run programme of entertainment. There was even a “Nursery Department”, Mr. H. Agnew proving a most efficient baby minder. After the games the men donned frilly aprons and served most delicious refreshments, which, we were solemnly assured, had all been made by the men themselves.

Highway Request: A motion was carried to request the Department of Public Works to include in their 1948 estimates of the first three miles of the Highland Valley road out of Ashcroft by widening and eliminating the more dangerous curves.

Spences Bridge: A Community Club meeting was held in the community hall with a record attendance on Monday evening. A report was read of the money raised and work done during the past year, and we hope the new officers elected will carry on where they left off with unfinished projects, such as the cemetery fence, hall repairs, church. Our thanks to the retiring officers for their work in sports, entertainment, repairs to community hall, etc. There is a lot to show for their hard work during the past year.

Automatic Block Signal: Adding to its network of rail lines under control of the latest automatic block signals, the CPR is now in the process of establishing automatic signalling on the important 72-mile line stretch from Kamloops to Spences Bridge. This will bring to 2,695 miles the Canadian Pacific track equipped with automatic signals, which virtually rule out the possibility of accident and assist materially in speeding up rail traffic. This new installation will provide an added measure of safety on the Thompson subdivision and the efficiency of operation through the important divisional point of Kamloops. The Kamloops-Spences Bridge section following the winding route of the Thompson river averages 22 trains in every 24 hours, of which ten are transcontinental passenger trains including the “Dominion” and the “Mountaineer”. Automatic block signals are electrically operated from the wheels of passing trains and a train cannot follow closer than one block behind the train ahead. This virtually eliminates the possibility of collision, and provides two other safety features — immediate warning of a broken rail, and indication if a switch is open.

50 YEARS AGO: JAN. 11, 1973

Lytton Again Has A Fire: Fire threatened the home of Mr. Guy Van Eenennaam, Lytton Weather Station employee, in the early hours of Thursday, Dec. 28th, when a pile of new lumber close to the steps of the front entrance was found blazing. This is Lytton’s 6th fire, of which arson is suspected. Mr. Eenennaam is indeed fortunate that Lytton Fire Department were soon on the spot and able to control the fire, as he was not at home and away at work at that hour. Kumsheen High School, both Shell Oil and Royalite garages, and a woodshed were all destroyed by fire within the last 8 months, while the Community Hall was saved when a small fire was destroyed and extinguished on that building before it could take hold.

Thompson-Cariboo Minor Hockey: The new Ashcroft-Cache Creek arena saw its first minor hockey games played on Saturday, January 6. All players wore their new sweaters with pride and enthusiasm. Many thanks go to the sponsors for their kind donation for the sweaters and clock.

Taking Applications For Stampede Queen: Applications are now being taken for contestants in running for Stampede Queen. Qualifications are: 1. The contestant must be between the ages of 16-19. 2. The contestants must make their own gown. 3. The contestant must be single (she may be engaged). If an engaged contestant wins and marries during her reign, she must give up her crown. 4. The contestant must know how to ride or be willing to take lessons. It is the responsibility of the contestant to supply her own horse.

Walhachin News: A special meeting of ALL citizens of Walhachin will be held at the home of George Currie on Wednesday, January 17. Mr. A.A. Duncan, Assistant Superintendent (Kamloops) of CP Rail, will be in attendance. In his words, “We want to come back in there and take out some more rock, but we want to handle it differently this time. We want to find out what it is that you people want.” In other words the petitions you signed have done some good. At least CP Rail now acknowledges our existence. That meeting is the time for each person to tell his story. How did the previous blasting, etc., affect you? Was damage done to your home — if so, how much (preferably in dollars and cents), and was compensation ever received for said damage? If you can provide actual dates of when damage occurred, receipts for replacement of glass, etc., or photographs of damage or any taken during blasts, these would be extremely helpful.

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


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