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Letters to the Editor

A reader writes about long-gone homes near the Ashcroft Slough
Remains of a house between Evans Road and the Thompson River east of Ashcroft, photographed on Nov. 6, 2023. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Dear Editor,

There used to be squatters in Ashcroft. Squatters, for those who may not know the meaning of the word, are persons who occupy land that is unoccupied. Squatters were fairly common during the Depression years all across Canada and the U.S.A. They are now referred to as “homeless”. And we know how the homeless live because the media lets us know daily.

In the early 1970s in Ashcroft there were three dwellings along the Thompson River, and each of the dwellings was made of wood. They were built carefully, with windows and doors and rooftops. A few of the windows faced the river or they faced the road leading to Ashcroft’s Slough. They were highly visible dwellings and quite neatly surrounded with piles of wood stacked at the side of a wall.

The chimneys of these dwellings were stovepipe chimneys, and the smoke that came out of the chimneys during the colder months was also highly visible. No one seemed to complain about these habitations, which were built carefully, not “thrown together”. One of the dwellings had a second storey, rather like a loft.

The energy and care given these dwellings made them seem a natural part of the landscape. Then the Canadian Pacific Railway seemed to realize these dwellings were there after a while, and the occupants were ordered to dismantle their homes.

The point of this information is to inform, not to blame anyone or anything. The families displaced seemed to somehow drift away and the dwellings in the sagebrush and gravel just a few yards from the Thompson River became a memory.

Times change. Ashcroft does not appear to have homeless people. This may not be the case altogether, but who will know?

Esther Darlington

Ashcroft, B.C.