North Bend Recollections (1926-1938)
No. 3 North Bend Post Offices W.(Bill) Young
It was with some sadness when I heard the news several years ago that North Bend would be losing it's postoffice and that, henceforth, North Benders would all have a Boston Bar Mailing address. I felt bad because it had always seemed to me that the three main support pillars of any small town were: the School, the Store and the Postoffice.
But this would not be the first time that the people of North Bend would have a Boston Bar mailing address. When the newly constructed Canadian Pacific Railway decided it needed a Divisional Point in the Fraser Canyon, it chose the site of "Yankee Flats" (named during the latter 1850's gold rush era) and the present site of North Bend. However, the new community was named Boston Bar, BC and it's first postoffice was officially opened on October 1, 1884 with Postmaster P. Fink in charge.
The new town remained Boston Bar, BC until July 1, 1887 when the postal address was changed to North Bend, BC. Mr. P. Fink continued on as the official postmaster until august 9, 1890. Succeeding him as official postmasters (postmistresses) in North Bend through the 1930's when I lived there were:
H. Fink, August 1, 1890- January 15, 1891
J. Webb, February 1, 1891-February 2, 1897
W. Arnott, May 1, 1897- October 1, 1901
E.B Richardson, ?- October 1, 1924
Mrs. A.J. Richardson, January 20, 1925- through the 1930's
Mrs. Richardson was the postmistress at North Bend during the years that I lived there. The postoffice was located at the foot of Old Postoffice Road, across the tracks. (i.e. the river side of the tracks) However, I can barely recall an earlier postoffice building. It was also at the foot of Old Postoffice Road but on the West side of the tracks. It was the last building on the right side of Old Postoffice Road and adjacent to the railroad tracks I seemed to recall that the building also served as a small store selling a few basic items. Nothing remains of this building today.
As a point of interest, the postoffice at present day Boston Bar was opened on April 1, 1917 following the decision of the Canadian Northern Railway (now the Canadian National Railway) to establish a Divisional Point in the Fraser Canyon at that site.
Long before the aerial ferry and bridge, the mail between Boston Bar and North Bend was brought across by rowboat during the 1930's. I recall that the boatman was a Mr. Cheeseman who would also bring any passengers across for a modest charge. more about crossing the river in a future "Recollection" article including the time that my uncle Andy and family drove up the canyon to visit us in North Bend and my Aunt, taking one look at the river and refusing to get into the boat.
Next "Recollection" on July 22nd, The North Bend General Store
Congratulations to the Cornelius Beaver contest winners, Brittany, Jacob and Taylor. REMEMBER, ANYTIME IS TRAIN TIME...DON'T PLAY AROUND RAILWAY TRACKS.
-- Cst. Dale Sanford, C.P. Railway Police Port Coquitlam Detachment, B.C.
Outdoor furnaces might be the solution you've been seeking
Blazing hot June may seem like an odd time to discuss furnaces, but Gary Sull's Canadian Cold Killer outdoor furnaces are not your ordinary units. Resembling a small garden shed, the units will heat not only your buildings but also have the capacity to heat hot water tanks, hot tubs, swimming pools and even clothes dryers.
Totally Canadian-made, the outdoor furnaces have a stainless steel fire chamber and incorporate rear-air technology. That means that the unit will last longer and provide better heat conduction than competitors models. Installed outside your home, the unit is free standing, eliminating the need for a cement pad, and is capable of burning any type of wood, including pellets.
The units are easy to install and can take over the work of your existing heating system at a fraction of the cost. The original systems remain in place as backup. Units are available in several sizes, Sull has units that can heat 4000, 6000 and 12000 square feet, and larger sizes are available from the manufacturer.
Sull, being the owner/operator of The Fraser Bridge Motel in Quesnel has installed a unit there. He invites you to give him a call or drop by and see a working unit. See the ad in this issue for info.
Constable Mike Galbraith and Family Bid Farewell to Boston Bar
Mike, Michelle, Brad, Tom and Steve will be waving goodbye to the canyon on June 26th. "We will miss the people of Boston Bar" says Mike, "thanks for a great two years" Mike has been transferred to a similar job on Vancouver Island "If you are ever in Comox, drop by for a visit"
North Bend in the 40's by Cliff and Irene Fisher
CPR had a round house in North Bend consisting of 12 stalls which housed the steam engines until they were needed. Repairs were also done inside the round house by the machinists. The turn crews were worked out of North Bend. they ran west to Ruby Creek and back, That was called a Ruby Creek turn. They ran east to Spences Bridge and back, this was called a Spence's Bridge turn.The terminus crews worked west Coquitlam and East to Kamloops. Only the engineers and firemen had bunk house privileges. The tail end crews consisting of the Conductor , the tail-end brakeman, and the front-end brakeman stayed in their cabooses, which were cut off from the trains and parked on the caboose track. The west end crews facing west and the east-end crews facing east.
The locomotive foreman was in charge of the round house crews, which consisted of the machinists, the hosslers, who moved the engines in and out of the round house. The wipers were in charge of calling the engine crews, turning the turn tables, greasing, oiling, taking on water and keeping up the steam on the engine. There was also a stationary fireman responsible for keeping the stationary boiler up, which was then used for heating the round house, bunkhouse, locomotive foreman's house, the agents house, the yard office and repeater station, (which was CBC radio).
The stationary boiler also supplied steam to 2 generators which supplied electric power to the houses in North Bend. The power was turned off at 8 am, each day, except Mondays so the ladies could do laundry. Other days it was turned back on depending on the daylight hours. Street lights were also run from these generators and usually each house had a light. Sometimes it was mounted on a tree and at other times on a pole.
The electrical power was metered and the charge was 10 cents a kilowatt hour, Bert Fisher, Cliff's dad was the CPR electrician, stationed in North Bend, and so was responsible for reading the meters once a month, changing the street light bulbs, wiring in new houses and other related duties. He was also a stationary boilerman, so he worked out of the roundhouse.
The CPR provided town with a steam whistle, which blew 3 whistles at 6:45 am, 2 whistles at 6:55 am, and 1 whistle at 7am. These whistles kept the shop crews reporting to work on time and were also used by the rest of town to keep everyone synchronized. The whistle was blown again once at noon, 3 times at 12:45, 2 times at 12:55 and once at 1pm. these whistles were for the school children coming home and back to school for lunch-time. This whistle sequence was again blown at 5pm- to call the children for supper- if the boilerman forgot to blow the whistle, some children were late and so, were punished because they relied on the whistle so much.
This steam whistle was also used as a fire-call. It blew steady until the volunteers responded with the hose-reels which were stationed on either side of the tracks. Also one was stationed on the high-line row of houses and one above the school for those at the top end of town.
On New Years Eve, the whistle was again blown at midnight, joined by all the steam engines in the roundhouse or in the yard. The CN engines in Boston Bar also joined in with the celebratory whistle blowing.
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Senior Citizen of the Year
Thursday June 13- responding to a minor motor vehicle accident just outside of Boston Bar, police apprehended a man with outstanding warrants for break and enter and theft, he was also driving with a prohibited license. The man will be sent to Mission.
Attempted Abduction- On June 10 there was an attempted abduction of a young girl (13) from
Agassiz. The RCMP gave a description of him. The description of the driver and vehicle is as follows:
--white stubble beard (a couple of days growth)
--driving a black Jeep Cherokee (approx. 1993)