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Letters to the Editor

A reader writes about historic Ashcroft and the newly refurbished Ashcroft Library
Esther Darlington (l) with three of her paintings of old Ashcroft currently on display at the Ashcroft Library. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Dear Editor,

Thinking of the aphorism made by Gordon Matthews, a longtime resident of Ashcroft, “You grow where you are planted”, I was grateful for the reminder. I came from a family of archivists with a passion to record everything we did as a family. Thank goodness for the Kodak Brownie box camera. Today the handheld cameras record much faster and more easily.

In 1973, when I moved to Ashcroft, the downtown core on Railway Avenue begged to be recorded the only way I felt was appropriate, in painting. Chinatown’s row of false-fronted shops stood out like a beacon from the past. I painted what I saw. The feeling and the mood of the end of an era seemed to pervade every foot of the first block on Railway.

I confess it never occurred to me that I was recording it in paint for posterity, yet that is what the work has turned out to be. A page of Ashcroft’s history which future generations can see. The rustic charm was never there. No pretty gardens of roses, no stone walls. Railway Avenue’s Chinatown and the cottages along Bancroft Street were the homes of Ashcroft’s earliest families. Not a stroke of the pretentious about them. I suppose it was that absence of size, and the simplicity, that drew me; a hearkening back to an era similar to the one I grew up in.

The newly refurbished library on Brink Street is spacious, filled with light. The library was filled with life and joy on the day of the ribbon cutting on Dec. 7. It was certainly one of the most exciting and pleasant experiences in my life. The library has always been an intrinsic part of my cultural and educational experiences, and I thank all those who worked to make the occasion so memorable.

Esther Darlington

Ashcroft, B.C.

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