125 YEARS AGO: DEC. 11, 1897
Reading Room: The Reading Room is now open for the public, the members of the Ashcroft Recreation Club having decided to open it to the public for the winter. All members and visitors can pay their dues and donations to the secretary of the club. The club has a nice comfortable reading room which should be well patronized by the men around town who have no particular place to go. All are cordially invited to call at the reading room any time.
Skating Rink: The [Ashcroft] skating rink has been in fine condition, owing to the energies of John Holyoak. Tuesday night it looked as though it was off with the rink, but before morning it was frozen over and on Wednesday evening the crowd of skaters were able to use it again. Campbell Bros., the blacksmiths, have put in an emery stone for the sharpening of skates.
Lillooet: Instead of the rattle and roll of wagons up and down our streets is heard the merry jingle of sleigh bells as the gay and festive woodcutter brings in his short cords to sell at ninety per cent above cost. The weather is delightful, not too cold, but just hard enough to keep from being slushy under foot.
Quesnelle: News has been brought in today that Geo. W. Barley, who had a ranch six miles from Quesnelle, was found dead a short distance from his home on the road. A party who had been driving out in that direction off the wagon road found the body lying covered with snow. Barley had been in Quesnelle yesterday and left about noon in apparently good health. An inquest will be held Monday.
Amazing Journey: Dr. Callanan was called to the Forks for a consultation in a serious case of illness. The distance traveled was about 150 miles and was performed without a halt except where there was a change of horses. The distance was accomplished in 20 hours.
Christmas Shopping: All of the stores in Ashcroft have a fine display of Christmas goods, and a person can find almost anything necessary for a present.
100 YEARS AGO: DEC. 9, 1922
Accident: Coming home from the dance at Cache Creek a few nights ago, N. Mutch had the misfortune to upset his car on the Cache Creek hill, and the good fortune not to injure any of the passengers who were coming home with him. The hood of the car was “badly bent” but otherwise everything was “jake”. Mutch has his own theory for the accident which we must accept for want of evidence to the contrary.
Piano For School: The parent-teacher association, through the efforts of its members, has presented the Lady Byng School with a piano. This is a very commendable move on the part of the association and will be a source of pleasure to the children and teachers when the occasions arise.
To Watch Ku Klux: Close watch is being kept upon members of the prospective branch of the Ku Klux Klan, a branch of which is struggling into existence in this province. Attorney-General Manson has instructed the provincial police to keep their eyes open, because B.C. is quite able to look after its own laws and their enforcement.
Porcupine Quills Pierce Intestines; Frank Pierreway, Old-timer, Dies At Quesnel From Strange Mishap: Frank Pierreway died at the hospital in Quesnel last night. He, with his wife and small child, had been living on a pre-emption a few miles out on the west side of the Fraser River for the last year. Eight days ago he became ill, but feeling better after a day or two, moved down to his brother’s house near town. He became worse again, and sent for Dr. G.R. Baker, who had him removed to the hospital, where on an operation being performed, it was discovered that his intestines had been pierced in several places by a porcupine quill. Mortification set in where the quill finally lodged, and caused general peritonitis.
Christmas Windows: The store windows in Ashcroft are assuming a sort of Santa Claus appearance. Presents of all kinds can be bought locally as may be understood by a “rubber” at the above windows.
75 YEARS AGO: DEC. 11, 1947
Xmas Concert December 18th: The time is just one week from tonight, folks, and we hope that, by 7:45 p.m. on December 18th, you will have found a comfortable seat in the Community Hall. One hundred and sixty children and young people will be ready then to provide you with two and a half hours of genuine pleasure. There will be drills and dances, plays and pageants, and all the joyful music of Christmas time. You will find the Spirit of Christmas when you take a seat at the Christmas Concert.
Journal Always Useful: Besides being a paper that dispenses of the present, the Ashcroft Journal publishes “news of the past”. In its “Remember” column we go back 20, 30, 40, and 50 years and glean from our historic files interesting happenings of those old days. We print news of the past as well as news of the present. No other paper in the interior can make this statement with regard to the past of the Cariboo and Lillooet districts.
Coals To Newcastle: Ashcroft and surrounding district including a number of interior towns in this section of the province are bringing coal to Newcastle as the old saying goes. They have a coal mine centrally located that is lying idle and unproductive on Hat Creek not more than 20 miles from any one centre and a number of potential markets, while we import our supply from outside the province. Those idle coal mines, being natural resources, should belong to the people and not to any individual. Under our much-boasted form of democratic government, however, they are privately owned and lying idle. At the same time coal is scarce and high in price. It may be private enterprise and “big business” that is keeping our Hat Creek coal unproductive in order to create an artificial scarcity and maintain high prices. At any rate our coal is still in the earth unmined while we import our supplies from another province… It is hopeless to suggest that the province acquire the Hat Creek mines and develop them in the interest of the people. That would be gross communism and would never occur to a democratic government. However, pressure might be brought to bear on the owners to put the mine in production. It would be a grand opportunity for our district boards of trade.
Put The Brakes On Inflation: “Editor, Journal: It seems to me the time has come to put the brakes on inflation. The official figures from Ottawa bear out what personal experience shows, that this is a national emergency of runaway inflation. In the months of August and September alone the cost of living rose 14 times as much as in the last two years of war and the food index 27 times as much. The health and economic security of the Canadian people is in jeopardy. In the meantime, profiteering is rampant. Unscrupulous big businessmen have taken advantage of the nation’s calamity to wring the highest profits out of the Canadian people… . We must protect the health and economic security of the Canadian people against the tightening grip of inflation. Angus MacIsaac, Spences Bridge, B.C.”
50 YEARS AGO: DEC. 7, 1972
Vote Saturday On Proposed Cache Creek Swim Pool: References were previously made to an Olympic-sized swimming pool, that is, a pool 82 feet by 42 feet. Premier Barrett has just publicly declared the government would grant from one-third to one-half the cost of recreational projects such as this pool and the Cache Creek Recreation Commission has therefore sent a letter of application to the government. Surely this is an opportunity we should not miss. Be sure to vote “YES” this Saturday the 9th.
Hospital Property: Ashcroft council received a copy of a communication from the Ashcroft & District General Hospital to the B.C. Hospital Insurance Service advising that the Hospital Board accedes to the request from the Village of Ashcroft to purchase portions of the Old Hospital property which is required by the Village. [The site of the Lady Minto Hospital on Bancroft Street is now the site of the Ashcroft village office.]
Loon Lake News: It would be a good idea if everyone on the Loon Lake Road make a special effort to replace the receiver of their telephone properly. Our telephone line is out of order enough due to difficulties with the lines without one person on a party line putting it out of order through carelessness and lack of common courtesy. Last week one party line was out of order for three days because of a broken cable. BC Tel seems to have enough trouble getting out to make repairs, so it is unfair to call them to replace a receiver. Please make a special effort, and then if our telephone service does not improve we will have every right to complain to BC Tel.
Wilderness Camp Near Ashcroft: An all year wilderness ranch camp for children opened recently in the Ashcroft area seven miles west of the Trans-Canada Highway on Hat Creek Road. Operated by Youth Resources Society of B.C., the children in camp come from all over the province and most are under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent of Child Welfare, Victoria. The camp is designed for 24 children. Youth Resources provides for their complete care through a staff of 18 qualified child care workers and support personnel. The children in camp have lived in a series of foster homes which have failed to be adequate for their development, or they have otherwise experienced hardships which have resulted in emotional and growth problems. The program provides an outdoor experience for these children through a regular routine, wholesome meals, work projects, climbing and hiking, care of animals, and skill learning in outdoor living. After a few months in the healthy regime of this wilderness setting a child will move on to another program which will emphasize remedial education.
Santa Claus Coming To Ashcroft And Cache Creek: Santa Claus will be around Ashcroft on Saturday, Dec. 16. He will arrive in a chuck wagon and ponies and will visit the down town area and residential areas. He will be in Cache Creek on Friday, Dec. 22nd. Santa drew a good crowd of youngsters at his appearance at D&C Hardware Monday afternoon.
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.