Readers help solve the history mystery

Author thanks everyone who helped to identify the mystery building in her photo.

Dear Editor

“The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution if you only know how to use it.”

So said Sherlock Holmes (via his creator Arthur Conan Doyle) in the 1893 short story The Final Problem; and both Holmes and Conan Doyle were quite right. The Press – or newspapers, in this case – can be very valuable indeed, especially when seeking information.

Last week I asked, via this paper’s Letters column, for help in solving what was, to me, a mystery; and myriad Journal readers were willing and able to supply an answer.

My question was about a now vacant patch of land to the west of Hwy 97C as one comes off the Ashcroft bridge; a vacant patch of land that somehow sports a neat row of lilac bushes. I had wondered for some time why the lilacs were there, and recently came into possession of a postcard from c. 1965 that shows a building on the spot. I asked what might have been there in years gone by, and Journal readers came through in magnificent fashion.

Thanks to Chuck Winslow, Esther Darlington MacDonald, Michelle Allen, Murray Abram, Louise McKague, Terry Daniels, Kathleen Cordell, Fergus Joslin, and Al Midgeley, all of whom were in touch with me to say that this was the site of a sewage treatment plant for North Ashcroft. I will have more details (some of them not entirely savoury) in my next column; but in the meantime a heartfelt “Thank you!” to all who replied.

Barbara Roden


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