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In 1948, Lillooet is already rebuilding two months after fire

Fire wiped out part of the business district but town’s slogan was ‘business as usual’
Horse racing on Railway Avenue in Ashcroft, 1921. From one end of Railway to the other it was a distance of ½ mile, making it a natural spot to hold horse races, which often took place on public roads before the advent of purpose-built tracks away from the downtown core. An article in the Journal in 1948 lamented this change, blaming it for the decline in attendance at race meets throughout the district. (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

125 YEARS AGO: OCT. 1/OCT. 8, 1898

Ashcroft Fair: On Tuesday and Wednesday of next week Ashcroft hopes to have you as its guest, and that all will bring along something to exhibit: stock, cereals, vegetavles, fancy work, or anything of interest to the community. It is especially requested of farmers that those living in this community should be able to talk over the matter of tobacco culture, the establishment of creameries, and any and everything of interest to agriculture in this district. Turn out and help make it a success. If it does not suit you as it is, get in and help make it better.

Building Delays: New buildings are being delayed on account of the lack of material. As soon as lumber that has been ordered arrives, several new buildings will be pushed along to completion.

The Man’s In Luck That Feasts On Duck: We have been most fortunate this season through the courtesy of our good neighbours, Messrs. Goss, Lehman, Haddock, and this week Messrs. Wm. Bailey and Marcus Bailey, having returned from a week’s hunt near the 70-Mile House with large bags of ducks and a number of geese. They report having had a very fortunate trip from a sportsman’s view. Besides all game eaten or given away, they brought home nearly 100 ducks and four geese.

Entertainment: It is to be hoped that something will be done at an early day to secure a [music] teacher and organize a band in Ashcroft. There is good material here for a band and we believe it could be made a success of.

100 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 29/OCT. 6, 1923

Ashcroft Race Meet; Financially Not So Good But Socially Better: The Ashcroft sports of last week, although financially not so good as last year, were perhaps an improvement in a social way. All races were pulled off on scheduled time, and very little delay was noticeable between the various events, which was a feature very agreeable to the audience. The “Point-to-Point” race was unique and one which awakened much interest from the crowds which gathered. The total receipts including dances was about $950, as against double that amount last year.

Clinton Round-Up: The Clinton annual round-up was wild and woolly, but not to that extent which might create alarm in the camp of the S.P.C.A. The crowd on Thursday was not in keeping with stampedes of this kind in years gone by, owing, it is said, to the fact that so many Indians are away hop picking at the coast. And, “No Indians, no races” must always be the slogan in this section of the province. There were a number of side shows which sprang out of the ground from somewhere, and the races had all the appearance of a city exhibition on a miniature scale. Perhaps, apart from the bucking horses and steers, the “bull-dogging” of horned wild cows was the most daring of the sports and called for a great deal of skill and risk on the part of the “toreadors”.

Overdone: Perhaps the vital falling off in attendance at the various race meets which take place throughout the district can be traced to the overdoing of a good thing. The time seems to have arrived when every small town or community have their annual race meets and race courses. We have them at Williams Lake, Lac La Hache, Clinton, Hat Creek, Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Lillooet, Lytton. Is it not too much? Is there support throughout all the district for more than one or two good annual races? There are other factors which may be strangling them to death, and one of those is the expense attached to attending. The race course [in the past] was up and down the main street. The crowd enjoyed the sports, bought food and clothing while in town, and everybody was happy. Are them days gone forever? Now we have race courses away from the towns with toll gates at their entrances. There is a transportation graft to get to the towns, an entrance graft to get in, and another at the grandstand. Will it pay in the long run?

“Safe, Sane, Scenic”: The Vancouver Automobile club is in receipt of a letter from a prominent resident of Hope, who is evidently a strong booster for the Hope-Princeton road to the interior. The envelope bears a large advertisement printed on the back. This occupies the whole space and reads: “Boost for the inter-provincial highway over the Hope to Princeton route. Sane — Safe — Scenic — No level crossings.”

75 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 30/OCT. 7, 1948

Lillooet Rebuilds After Fire: Although cleaning-up operations are still going on, rebuilding is already in progress at Lillooet to replace the damage done by the fire that wiped out part of the business section of town on Sunday, Aug. 1. Burned-out merchants are arranging for replacements and have carpenters at work. Business as usual is the slogan and temporary quarters have been thrown up for storage of new stock and for retail business. The fire began at the west end of town and completely wiped out the business side of the street.

Lillooet Road In Good Shape: The “wagon road” up Hat Creek, through the Marble Canyon to Pavilion and along the Fraser to Lillooet, besides being the most scenic in B.C., is in splendid condition today, notwithstanding the damages done in spots by last spring’s abnormal floods. There has been a great deal of gravel surfacing done recently, and the entire road is perfectly safe for traffic, rain or shine. Compared to the Cariboo road from Cache Creek to Clinton it is a boulevard, although no paving has ever been done there from end to end. There are no corrugations and no chuck holes, and there seems to be no explanation offered why it is so free from those annoying features on unpaved roads.

Sixty-Five Years To The Day: During the course of alterations being made to the Provincial Government Agent’s house, at Clinton, during which one room was being torn down, a board was uncovered, on which was written the following inscription: “This room was built in the year of our Lord 1883 by Charles McIntyre, Architect and Master builder, for Frederick Soues, Government Agent, Clinton. September 19th, 1883.” By a strange coincidence the day on which this was found was September 19th, 1948, 65 years later, to the day.

Hunters’ Ball: Clinton went swinging into the autumn season on a highly successful note this year, with a hiyu “Hunters’ Ball”, which went off last Friday night. This affair was convened by members of the Clinton branch Canadian Legion. There was a grand big crowd with an excellent attendance of out-of-towners from Cache Creek, Ashcroft, and Clinton district points, not forgetting the generous sprinkling of hunters. Delicious refreshments, with plenty for everyone, were served at intermission time. It was the latest hits and your favourite oldtimers, with music by the Clinton Music Makers. The square dance changes were called by Edward Dougherty of Loon Lake. Mr. Bill Evans of Kelly Lake was the capable emcee for the night’s session.

Narrow Escape: Two men, names unknown, had narrow escapes from drowning in the Thompson river near the mouth of Nicomen creek about half way between Spences Bridge and Lytton on Tuesday afternoon. The men are said to have been stringing a cable across the river when the raft upset, throwing them into the stream. One swam across to safety, the other clung to the raft until saved. Dozens of cars gathered around Shaw Springs Auto Camp while the rescue was being made.

50 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 27/OCT. 4, 1973

Ashcroft Village News: Members of the Ashcroft Library Association presented a breakdown of costs and benefits for the Village of Ashcroft if the Village were to enter into the Thompson-Nicola Regional Library System. The cost to the Village would be $3,794. Council endorsed the Thompson-Nicola/Cariboo Regional Library system in that amount without a referendum. Council had already received and filed a letter from the Thompson-Nicola Regional Library District advising that the Village of Ashcroft may enter the Library system by a resolution or through a special referendum.

Zarthan Lodge Fiftieth Anniversary: Zarthan Lodge No. 105. A.F. & A.M., celebrated the 50th anniversary of constitution Saturday, Sept. 22nd, the Lodge having received its Charter in September 1923. The Lodge room was filled to capacity with members and visiting brethren from other points in the province. After the meeting the brethren and their ladies congregated at the community hall for dinner, followed by dancing until 1 a.m. The hall was tastefully decorated for the occasion. Wander Inn, Cache Creek, provided the hot turkey sit-down dinner.

Cache Creek Public Meeting: On Oct. 10, at 8 p.m., at the Cache Creek Hall a PUBLIC meeting will be held to discuss the governorship and future of the hall. Interest in the hall has been sadly lacking to the point where this meeting had to be called and a definite policy and decision has to be decided. So come out and help the few willing workers carrying the load for the community.

Walhachin News: In a chat with B.C. Tel the other day, they assured me they will deduct a percentage from our rental bills for the days we have been without telephone service. At the ending of the billing period you simply phone the business office (on their Zenith number, of course) and tell them how many days your phone has been out of order. They will tell you exactly how much to deduct from your bill. For those who haven’t been keeping track of the exact days, my calendar shows phones out September 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, and 17th.