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Archive for the ‘Archives’ Category

Party in the Park

Posted on: July 10th, 2019 by Tristan Evans

When you work with archival records five days a week your mind sometimes skews timelines and it’s hard to consider what is truly ‘long ago.’  Only recently have we started to receive donations from the 1980s.  Working everyday with our records, I consider the 1980s to be relatively new, never mind the 1990s or early 2000s.  This was glaringly evident to me when I wrote a blog post on the snow storm of 1996.  Truth be told, besides a few Chilliwack Progress articles and photographs, we haven’t received many donations about this event yet. Compared to the records describing the 1935 ice storm, the snow storm appears to have had little impact.

While we know records from the snow storm of 1996 will eventually find their way into the Archives, it’s sometimes hard to think about the 1990s or early 2000s as ‘long ago.’  2006 and 2007 may feel like yesterday, but the following events actually occurred twelve and thirteen years ago.  Just long enough for us to begin having a little historical perspective on them. 

If you will, let me indulge you with a little story about one of my favourite events:

Chilliwack Court House 
[PP500910]
Chilliwack Court House
[PP500910]

I am biased.  I like parties, music, and I live downtown, so I really like Party in the Park.  Naturally, I also like to know the history of events (I wouldn’t be very good at my job if I wasn’t interested in history).  Turns out, Party in the Park has been around just long enough to write about. 

The land that is Central Community Park was once the home of the Chilliwack Court House, originally built in 1894.  The original courthouse survived two separate fires in 1906 and 1949.  Unfortunately, a third fire completely destroyed the building in 1951.  Today the only surviving remains from this building is the courthouse sign that can be seen right now in our temporary exhibit, Five Faces Five Corners: The Social Experience of Chilliwack’s Downtown (nice plug, right). 

After a few transformations, the area was eventually known as the Jean McNaughton/Happy Wilkinson Parks and home to a Chilliwack Farmers Market.  In 2005, the City of Chilliwack, Rotary International, and the Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) began construction on a collaborative project called, Central Community Park.  The idea was to create “a splendid place where everyone in the community is welcome to fully enjoy outdoor performances, special events festivals, and to learn about the history of the parks and the surrounding area.”  Central Community Park officially opened on Friday, October 13, 2006 and was designed by architect Rob Powers. 

Chilliwack Farmer's Market, ca. 1984. 
William Craven fonds [2016.032.002.1117]
Chilliwack Farmer’s Market, ca. 1984.
William Craven fonds [2016.032.002.1117]

To celebrate opening day the City of Chilliwack, the BIA, and Rotary International put together a weekend of celebrations called – wait for it – Party in the Park.  The first event featured speakers, dignitaries, and music from both Central Elementary and Chilliwack Senior Secondary schools.  According to an account from The Chilliwack Progress, Mayor Clint Hames predicted the new facility will be a focal point for future cultural activities in the downtown core

Following architect Rob Powers advice that, “the community [had] to start building new traditions around the park,” the City of Chilliwack, the BIA, and Rotary organized a series of Party in the Park events the following summer.  Each Friday between June 29 and August 24, 2007, these three organizing parties hosted what has now become the annual Party in the Park. 

The first summer Party in the Park occurred on June 29, 2007 and featured a Farmers Market at 5:00 PM, kids activities at 6:00 PM and live music at 7:30 PM. As so often happens in Chilliwack, poor weather threw a wrench into the scheduling and the local rock band, Relic’s Jetboat, was ultimately unable to perform that night.  Fortunately, the band was able to be rescheduled for the final Party in the Park date for the summer and played on August 24, closing off the festival with a bang.

Construction of Jean McNaughton/Happy Wilkinson Parks, July 5, 1983. 
William Craven fonds [2016.032.002.434]
Construction of Jean McNaughton/Happy Wilkinson Parks, July 5, 1983.
William Craven fonds [2016.032.002.434]

The exact dates of Party in the Park have changed over the years but the event is now considered a Chilliwack tradition. The event has grown to the point that venders often spread out beyond Central Community Park onto Mill Street and Wellington Avenue. Although the event changes from year to year, in my humble opinion, the heart and original goal of the event remains constant, bringing together the community of Chilliwack for a night of fun and solid cheer. Oh yeah, that and the opportunity to hear some rock-solid local musical talent.

Volunteer Spotlight – Ev Parker

Posted on: June 5th, 2019 by Tristan Evans

Are you curious to know what Chilliwack looked like in the 1980s?  Ask our volunteer Ev Parker who is currently processing a large collection of street photographs from the 1980s.  This is a unique collection that Ev is digitizing and describing so that you, the researcher, can access the images online.  To learn more about Ev and his work at the Archives, read his answers to the questions below:

Ev Parker
Photo courtesy of Ev Parker

When did you start volunteering at the Archives?

November 2015.

Why did you decide to volunteer for the Chilliwack Museum and Archives?

Being slightly familiar with Chilliwack, I enjoyed what the Museum and Archives had hidden within its walls and found it was beyond fascinating.  Some information I was familiar with previously but with a little searching, it became obvious a massive amount about Chilliwack was available to the public.  If people only knew what was available for public viewing, there would be far more people visiting the Archives.

What type of work do you perform when you are at the Archives? 

Data entry, scanning pictures and documents, looking up information, adjusting numbering systems when an item has been removed, dusting and vacuuming. When people that are familiar to me visit the Archives I try and make them feel comfortable.  I also visit with people I know when they come into my work space.   

Ev Parker
Photo courtesy of Ev Parker

Do you have a favourite memory at the Museum and Archives? 

Too many to itemize but just about every time I’m there Tristan or Anna will enlighten me with something I wasn’t aware of, making it more desirable to come back.

Is there anything else you would like to mention regarding your work at the Archives? 

It is really unbelievable how much information is there for ANYONE to have and to hold, read or use, for any purpose. 

Ev Parker volunteers every Wednesday morning at the Archives.  If the doors are not open by 9:01 AM, he’ll let you know.  We like to refer to this time as Ev’s office hours since he regularly receives visitors during this time period.  Sometimes, those visitors even stay to do a little research of their own!  Interested in knowing more about Chilliwack history?  Stop by on a Wednesday morning and we’ll be happy to show you how to search our records or just enjoy a short chat with our amazing volunteer, Ev Parker.    

Volunteer Spotlight – Lawrie Edwards

Posted on: April 26th, 2019 by Tristan Evans

Have you ever wondered how one archivist, one curator, and one archives technician have managed to describe and make available online 3,884 archival records, 1,169 library records, 9,880 object descriptions, and digitize 14,781 photographs all while doing the rest of the work keeping the Museum and Archives running?  The answer is simple really, we haven’t.  A huge amount of our descriptive material is done by Chilliwack volunteers who generously give their precise time week after week.

Lawrie Edwards at the Archives
January, 2015

Volunteers are quite literally the reason we have been able to describe and make available so much of our archival and object collection.  Volunteers research photographs, objects, and archival collections and then put in the hard, and not always exciting, work of entering descriptions for each collection.  The work is tedious and not immediately rewarding.  It is however the reason you are able to search and find so many online descriptions of our records.

Today I would like to highlight one volunteer who has been volunteering at the Archives since April, 2012.  Lawrie Edwards is a resident of Fairfield Island who moved to Chilliwack in the 1980s.  Lawrie volunteers every Friday morning and he is a huge part of the reason we have so many descriptions for our archival records.  I asked Lawrie today if he wouldn’t mind answering a couple questions and below is what he had to say:

Why did you decide to volunteer for the Chilliwack Museum and Archives?

I’ve always been interested in History.  After retirement I completed our Family tree back to the late 1700s in Wales.  My wife’s family on both sides settled in Chilliwack in the 1880s and so I decided to allocate a morning doing research of the Chilliwack area. 

What type of work do you perform when you are at the Archives? 

Mostly computer work, data description, and researching from the archives and through the archival Progress Papers.

Do you have a favourite memory at the Museum and Archives?

Every Friday morning is memorable but the 2017 British Columbia Historical Federation conference the Chilliwack Museum hosted was particularly memorable. 

Is there anything else you would like to mention regarding your work at the Archives?

Just nice to be associated with a great working crew at the Museum and Archives (No, I did not pay him to say that). 

Lawrie Edwards is an amazing volunteer.  He’s been dedicating his time for seven years at the Archives!!!  Once again, I’m going to borrow a phrase from my favourite podcast, The Secret Life of Canada, shout out to Lawrie Edwards!!!

Conferences Make a Difference

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019 by Tristan Evans

We all know the conference stereotype.  You sit through a boring lecture pretending to listen while you patiently wait to cash in those conference drinks at the hotel bar.  To be fair, most of us have been to such a conference wondering if this was really the best use of our time.  We forgive these occasional sleepy conferences for the ones that stand out.  As a relatively new professional working for a small institution, conferences are a powerful tool. 


Captain John Swalis of Soowahlie First Nation, unknown date [AM 362, File 263(D)]

Conferences allow me to connect with other regional archivists and confirm that I’m keeping up with up-to-date standards.  This is when I have the opportunity to bounce ideas around, learn from bigger and smaller (yes, there are smaller institutions) archives, and learn about new resources and recommendations.  Occasionally, I’m lucky enough to attend a conference that really stands out above the rest.  Like my favourite podcast, The Secret Life of Canada, sometimes you have to give an occasional shout-out to something or someone extra special.  I’ll use this platform today to shout-out to the 2019 Canadian-American Archives Conference hosted by the Western Washington University Archives and Records Management Program

This year’s conference theme was Indigenous Issues in the Archives: Representation and Reconciliation.  The conference began with Juanita Jefferson, a Lummi elder.  Juanita began by discussing the challenges she faced gathering information from other archives about her community.  Then we learned about how her and her community have worked to create their own archives.  It was a very inspiring presentation and left me with some wonderful ideas on how to improve relations with our institution and the communities that we serve around Chilliwack. 


A portrait of two First Nations girls holding a Salish Woolly dog. Photograph was taken by James O. Booen, Chilliwack, BC’s first professional photographer (c. 1895-1897). [P. Coll 120, P25]

Before we broke for lunch, I learned the different perspectives and challenges with indigenous records from the Canadian side and American side.  Camille Callison, a member of the Tahltan Nation in Northern BC, examined her experience with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).  Importantly, she went on to show examples of specific recommendations that archives and libraries can act on in response to the TRC’s Final Report and Calls to Action.  Her presentation was followed by Jennifer O’ Neal, an archivist and historian with the University of Oregon and a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, discussing the development of the Society of American Archivists’ adoption of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials.  Importantly, both Camille Callison and Jennifer O’Neal explained various traditional indigenous knowledge systems and possible ways to incorporate these systems into archival descriptions and learning for indigenous researchers.  The experience was incredibly eye opening and left me with pages of notes and ideas to take back to this institution. 

The conference concluded with two non-indigenous archivists, Richard Pearce-Moses and Randall C. Jimerson, and their experience working with indigenous records and researchers.  I learned the challenges they faced from other archivists trying to implement simple steps in an attempt to decolonize how we keep and classify indigenous records in a system that was created out of Western European ideology. 

In short, some conferences really do make a difference.  I’m very thankful that I work for a board and director that sees the advantages of professional development and continues to support our staff in this capacity.  I hope to continue to broaden my perspective and implement changes on how we approach indigenous archival material here at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives.  Some steps are simple, some will require years of consultation and challenging changes.  This conference was a great learning opportunity and I’ll use this platform to give a final shout-out to the Western Washington Archives and Records Management program for hosting an incredible event. 

Surviving the Great Snow Storm

Posted on: February 16th, 2019 by Tristan Evans

Perhaps you noticed that the Museum was closed this past Tuesday and Wednesday while Chilliwackians hunkered down during our most recent snow storm.  If you have friends and family from nearly anywhere else in Canada, you’ve probably already heard every joke there is about how badly we handle snow in the Fraser Valley.  Rest assured, Ontario is not the sole snowy province in Canada.  If you are looking for some ammunition to defend your snow reputation, just ask some of the long-term locals about the truly great snow storm of 1996.

Chilliwack Progress Press Photograph: Digging out a school, 31 December 1996.

Christmas Day 1996 was a typical cold, but clear day.  Those visiting their family in the Fraser Valley could not have known the storm that lay ahead.  According to Environment Canada, 18 cm of snow fell in Chilliwack on December 26th followed by an addition 3.2 cm the following day. This precursor was just a warm up (or should I say snow base) for the real storm.  Then, on December 28th, 42 cm of snow fell in town.  Three-hundred and twenty people were forced to take shelter at Evergreen Hall alone.  Unprepared, those seeking refuge in Evergreen had to sleep on the floor.  The following day, another 39 cm of snow fell.  Despite MLA John Van Dongen’s resistance, the Ministry of Transportation and Highways had no choice but to close the highway between Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

By Sunday, December 29th, 982 people, 20 dogs, several cats, and one parakeet were seeking snow asylum at Evergreen Hall and the Hall was at full capacity. With the exception of Army trucks, vehicles were banned from driving.  Nevertheless, Chilliwackians showed their true colours.  Neighbours poured into Evergreen Hall and other shelter facilities to assist the City and the Salvation Army with cooking.  Many of those seeking shelter were offered beds at nearby private residences.  Archives volunteer Lawrie Edwards remembered opening up his house for a fellow BC Tel worker for three days.  Local stores, including Fraser Valley Meats, donated food delivered by army trucks.  Eventually the storm cleared and by December 31, Evergreen was once again empty for the holidays.

Chilliwack Progress Press Photo: Collapsed barn on Prairie Central Road, 31 December 1996.

Despite the incredible strain on emergency services, not a single individual lost their life during the great snow storm of 1996.  Nevertheless, Chilliwack still experienced its share of damage.  Digging out the schools alone cost $15,000.  At Vedder Middle School, a frozen fire main broke causing the gym to temporarily turn into an ice rink.  Barns throughout the Fraser Valley collapsed and a lot of domesticated animals on nearby farms suffered.

The following month The Chilliwack Progress received a plethora of letters from locals praising emergency responders.  Commemorative survival certificates were sold for $2 with proceeds going to help fund the Chilliwack Search and Rescue and the Chilliwack Children’s Fund.  While certainly challenged, no one can doubt that Chilliwackians stepped up when needed and overcame the great snow storm of 1996.  Let’s hope next week doesn’t bring freezing rain or the next blog article will be about the great ice storms of 1917 and 1935.

A Historic Night’s Sleep

Posted on: January 23rd, 2019 by Tristan Evans

On New Year’s Day,  the Chilliwack Progress predicted, “the year 1908 holds out great prospects for this little Valley… The expectations for this incoming year are great, the prospects greater, and the realizations will be the greatest of any.”  For new immigrants and re-settlers to the area, 1908 was a pivotal year marked with major changes.  The City of Chilliwack officially incorporated as a separate government entity from the Township of Chilliwhack.  The first Empress Hotel in Chilliwack opened, the new City of Chilliwack installed the first electric lights in downtown, and just two years later the British Columbia Electric Railroad opened the first passenger and freight rail line to Chilliwack on October 3, 1910.  As the City continued to expand that year, prominent local builder and architect Robert Harvey Brock began filling in the last vacant lot on the south side of Wellington Avenue between Main Street and Five Corners with the construction of the Royal Hotel.

 

Front view of the Royal Hotel, ca. 1912. [1977.006.035]

The Royal Hotel was the brain child of David Swain Dundas, the first owner.  He approached Robert Brock who then drew up the plans for the hotel.  J. C. Robertson completed the excavation work and laid down a concrete foundation for the building.  Upon completion, the three story hotel towered over local businesses in downtown Chilliwack.  The hotel featured many luxuries that we take for granted today including closets and bathrooms on every floor, steam heating, electric lighting, and telephone services.  After thoroughly touring and measuring every room in the hotel, one writer from the Progress finished the review of the hotel simply stating, “Mr. Dundas himself, has left nothing to be desired in hotel structure and modern conveniences.”

 

Although the Royal Hotel was well received, Dundas left the hotel business after just a few short years.  He sold the building to Cyrus W. McGillivary in 1912 for $47,000.  In 1926, Tom Berry bought the hotel from McGillivary.  Tom Berry’s son, Harry “Buck” Berry took over from his father in 1947.  The hotel was owned and operated by the Berry family until 1995 when Buck sold the building (CMA, AM 373 Tax Rolls).

 

Staff at the Royal Hotel beer parlour posing with customers. Left to right : Tony Britton, Bert Harwood, Vi Harwood, and Jack Pulford, 1952. [1999.065.002]

Large, colourful, and friendly owners, Tom and Buck Berry kept the hotel running through many renovations.  The biggest change during the Berry years came in 1950 when Buck bought the Royal Bank building on the corner of Main and Wellington.  Corresponding with new liquor laws in Chilliwack that allowed hotels to sell beer by the glass, Buck Berry merged the hotel with the old Royal Bank building and built a beer parlor in the building he called, the House of Blues.  To speed up service, staff wore roller skates as they rushed between the beer parlour and the kitchen, (CMA, Subject Files – Royal Hotel; CMA, 1999.065.002).

 

The hotel saw its share of disasters as well.  On July 29, 1958 lighting struck the Royal Hotel.  Instantly, “a gaping hole was ripped in the top of the Royal Hotel.  Seconds later the fire siren sounded and the city was alive with men, women, and children expecting the worst.  It was a miracle nobody was killed.”  An early response by the volunteer fire department saved the building.  Buck repaired the damage and the business continued.  Another fire damaged the hotel on August 9, 1974.  This time the fire started near the entrance and worked its way to the beer parlour, destroying the inside of the bar.  Undeterred, Buck again repaired the damage to the interior of the building.  Perhaps knowing how much the Royal Hotel owed the volunteer fire crew, among the many charitable activities sponsored by the Royal Hotel, Buck Berry also hosted the volunteer fire department’s annual banquet in the beer parlour.

 

Chilliwack Progress Press Photograph: The August 9, 1974 fire at the Royal Hotel, published August 14, 1974.

In 1995, Buck Berry sold the hotel.  The new owners began a massive renovation project beginning in May of 1996 and continuing through 1997 at the cost of $1,600,000 (CMA, Nicholas Desautels, 2016.023.001 file 7).  All thirty-four rooms were redecorated and upgraded.  Fourteen of the thirty-four rooms received special attention including, “restoration of wall-to-wall hardwood floors, an addition of a cast-iron claw foot tub to each room, and antique furniture in the form of chairs, wardrobes, and dressers” (CMA, Nicholas Desautels, 2016.023.001 file 7).  The old boiler system was replaced with high efficient gas units, and renovations to the exterior of the building were completed as well, always with an eye towards the historic significance of the building.

 

The Royal Hotel is not the oldest building in Chilliwack.  It’s not the grandest building in Chilliwack either.  It is however, a fantastic representation of a unique time and place in the history of Five Corners and downtown Chilliwack.  Should you have guests visiting and your spare bedroom is feeling a little cramped, encourage them to spend a night in one of the rooms at Chilliwack’s Royal Hotel.

Movember Part 2 – Rise of the Goatee

Posted on: November 21st, 2018 by Tristan Evans

Captain John Swalis of Soowahlie First Nation, unknown date [AM 362, File 263(D)]

Last Movember I wrote a blog highlighting some of the individuals from Chilliwack’s historic past rocking a solid mo.  The moustache is grown each November as a symbol of support to raise awareness for men’s health issues.  This year, in addition to the typical male pattern balding, men’s health issues have particularly struck home for my family as we overcome some men’s health obstacles.  For those of you still feeling intimidated about rocking a moustache in 2018, rest assured.  Creativity is allowed and Movember is not limited to the standard stache.  Let’s take a look at some of Chilliwack’s finer individuals that went beyond the moustache and donned some pretty elegant goatees during their life.

 

Beyond the Stache – Growth of the Goatee

 

Lewis William Paisley, ca. 189- [1984.002.013]

Captain John Swalis from the Soowahlie First Nation lived on the Th’ewa:lí settlement on the North bank of SWEE-ehl-chah (Sweltzer) Creek.  Like Chief K’hhalserten (Chief Sepass), Captain John Swalis lived during a challenging time of transition for his community and was widely respected both within his community and the growing re-settler community of the area.  According to Denys Nelson, Fort Langley 1827-1927: A Century of Settlement, Captain John first came into contact with the growing re-settler community in 1858 when he successfully navigated the American steamship, the Surprise, from Fort Langely to Fort Hope, proving that the Fraser River was navigable by steamship (P. 24).  Captain John was a resourceful builder and mover of goods.  He was instrumental in the construction of the Alexandria suspension bridge, established a ferry service across Ts’elxwéyeqw (Chilliwack) River, and designed and built the first permanent bridge at Vedder Crossing with other members of the Soowahlie First Nation.  Captain John helped construct the first church at Th’ewa:lí and vigorously advocated for his community.  Captain John was a leader in the Soowahlie First Nation for approximately 40 years.  He was born around 1810 and died December 9, 1908.

 

William Knight, unknown date. [PP500260]

Louis William Paisley was born July 1, 1860 at York, Ontario.  He farmed for a number of years at Whitechurch, Ontario before heading west in 1890, settling in Chilliwack.  Described as a man of great energy, initiative, determination and good judgement, Paisley was an active promoter of Chilliwack.  In addition to his involvement in real estate development and insurance with Samuel A. Cawley, he was also a highly successful auctioneer.  He was involved with the local Masonic Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was president of the Agricultural Association, and secretary of the Dairymen’s and Livestock Association.  He purchased and brought into the valley purebred live stock, which was the nucleus of the fine dairy herds for which the Valley is now so well-known. He suffered a massive stroke in 1910, and passed away on October 14, 1914 at the age of 55 years.

 

Left to right, Tristan Evans and Greg Evans, Palm Springs, CA, December 2016.

William Knight was born on July 24, 1851 in Horton Township, Renfrew County, Ontario.  Knight moved west in 1870 to join the volunteers in the Riel Rebellion, then moved west in 1874 to the Cassiar gold fields.  Knight purchased a small sawmill at Popkum in 1878, and continued in that business for 22 years.  He married Mary Jane Jennie Kipp, eldest daughter of Isaac and Mary Ann (Nelmes) Kipp on April 23, 1883.  William and Mary had eight children together, four daughters and four sons.  Knight Peak is named in his honor.  William Knight passed away January 15, 1928.

 

And finally…

Dr. Greg Evans, father of Chilliwack Museum and Archives, Archivist (me), knows how to sport a solid goatee when the season is right.

Haunted Tales: Stories from Williams Street

Posted on: October 31st, 2018 by Anna Irwin

Photograph of the former W.E. Bradwin house near the corner of Williams Street and Portage Avenue in 1974. The subject of much local gossip, the house has since burned down. [Chilliwack Museum and Archives, 1989.042.001]

Near the corner of Portage Avenue and Williams Street once stood a white and green three-story house. Built in 1909 by travelling salesman W. E. Bradwin, the house, built with clapboard siding and equipped with six-bedrooms, became the centre of local legend in the mid to late 1960s.

Things That Go Bump In The Night:

Hetty Fredrickson moved into the house and resided in the house in the 1960s. Known throughout the community for her artistic flair, she taught art to her students from the basement of the house and was the vice-president of the Upper Fraser Valley Brush and Palette Club. Once settled into her new house, she, along with her husband Douglas Fredrickson, began to notice something was amiss.

In the dead of night, footsteps could be heard upstairs. Drawers could be found opened. Furniture, carefully arranged by the homeowners, moved out of place. In one instance, Hetty reported witnessing a light “in the shape of a human being, but with no details, no face.” (The Province, “Portrait of a Ghost” May 30, 1966) . Upon investigation, neither Hetty nor her husband could find the cause of such unusual activity and no logical explanation could be found by any who stopped by the house.

And people did stop by the house.

Hetty Fredrickson, pictured here with one of her paintings in 1965. [Chilliwack Progress Press Photograph, September 1, 1965. Chilliwack Museum and Archives, 1999.029.061.007.]

A Spirited Painting:

Using the unexplained occurrences as the basis for some of her art, Hetty painted a picture of the ghost in the hopes that by depicting it, that it would leave. The painting and her subsequent artistic pieces received widespread attention, spurred by stories of the occurrence in the house. Hundreds of people flocked to the downtown Chilliwack house, curious to catch a glimpse of the spirit at work. At one point, in 1966, Hetty Fredrickson submitted an application for a business license to City Council because she had “so many people wanting to see her ‘haunted house’ that she might as well charge admission.” (The Chilliwack Progress, July 20, 1966).  While the application was ultimately rejected, it was reported that 700 people showed up one Sunday for a tour of the premises!

New Residents, New Stories:

Following the Fredrickson’s move to Vancouver Island, odd occurrences continued to plague residents of the house. Tenants reported seeing shadows moving back and forth, doors banging closed and scaring pets living at the house, unexplained changes to the House’s thermostat… New theories about the ghost began to emerge to explain the wide plethora of baffling activities at the House. Was the house settling a contributing factor? Were residents imagining things? Perhaps it was more than one ghost? An anonymous resident speculated it could be a ghostly trio haunted the turreted house.

Charred Remains:

In the years after the departure of the Fredrickson’s, the Bradwin house caught fire twice. The first fire in 1972 was attributed to an overheated fireplace. The second fire in 1975 destroyed the House. A new house has been built in its place and, as far as we at the museum are aware, no unexplained incidents have happened since.

Make It, Mend It: Tools of the Shoe Repair Trade

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by Anna Irwin

The idea of repairing something can oftentimes take a backseat to purchasing a new item. Stores lined with new, shiny gadgets and niceties designed to make our lives easier often win out over rolling up our sleeves and fixing what we already own.

Selection of women’s and children’s footwear from the Chilliwack Museum and Archives collection [Photo credit: Anna Irwin]

These Boots Were Made For Walking?  

Buying new items when a problem occurs with an older object hasn’t always been the first instinct. Got a shoe separating from its sole? Today, we might head to Wellington Avenue, to one of the malls or look for a new pair online to see if something that might catch our eye. In the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, however, purchasing a new pair of shoes was often a considerable investment for families, especially families with young children. Visiting a local cobbler or shoe store offering repair services, such as E.O. Wickham’s or A.E. Wiltshire Shoe Repair, could often extend the life of a pair of shoes, sometimes for decades depending on the level of care and maintenance paid to a pair of shoes and the material composition of the shoe.

 

Shoe Repair Kit donated by John Groves containing sole and heel menders. [Chilliwack Museum and Archives, 1977.028.025.1a-d]

Saving Your Sole: 

Re-soling or adding soles to shoes was (and continues to be, although much less common) one way of making shoes last longer. Sole and heel menders, such as the ones found in a Shoe Repair Kit donated to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, could be attached to the underside of the shoe and were typically affixed with nails.

While driving nails into ones shoes may no longer be common outside of the cobbling profession, modern adhesives such as Shoe Goo allow for young and old alike to fully re-tread well-worn footwear, re-attach separating soles and fill holes at their convenience without use of a hammer or specialized tools.

 

Boot last featuring three forms – one for men, women’s & children’s shoes. [Chilliwack Museum and Archives, 2002.003.001; Photo credit: Anna Irwin]

A Lasting Impression: 

Shoe lasts were and continue to play a key role in the manufacture and repair of footwear. Traditionally made from wood or metal, shoe lasts are foot-shaped inserts used by cobblers to form and fill-out shoes while not being worn by a person. Shoe lasts come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate the different styles of feet and the different types of shoes people wear. They can be used as a base around which to craft a shoe or as a form to hold the shoe’s shape whilst being repaired. Shoe lasts are different than shoe trees or shoe stretchers, which are used more frequently to hold or expand the shoe’s shape when not being worn.

 


At the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, we are proud to house a variety of artifacts that have been donated by the community, including examples of historic footwear and tools used to make and mend shoes and boots of all shapes and sizes. To donate to our object collection, please feel free to contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 604-795-5210 ext. 105.

Fresh Produce and Homemade Relish

Posted on: September 26th, 2018 by Tristan Evans

Kipp Family Packing Plums, ca. 1880s [2002.101.019]

One of my favourite features of Chilliwack is the large variety of produce stands in this city.  Whether you prefer large produce shops where you can buy all your fruits and vegetables such as Hofstede’s, Garrison Gourmet Greens, and Produce Gone Wild or you prefer seasonal drive-thru fruit stands, Chilliwack has them all.

 

With Chilliwack’s rich agricultural history, it may not surprise you to know that produce stands are not a new phenomenon.  The Kipp family used to sell boxes of plums from a small makeshift table in front of their house as early as the 1880s.  Many long time residents of Chilliwack may remember the Carter Family Fruit Stand on the Haas Hop Yard at Evans Road or Woo Farms Potato Drive-in at Chilliwack’s South Chinatown.  The most iconic produce stand in Chilliwack’s history might just be Christie’s Produce Stand.

Christie’s Service Station, 1936 [P7496]

 

 

James Christie and Caroline Runzer married in 1925 at the age of 38 and 25 respectively.  The relatively new immigrants to Canada opened a restaurant in Stony Plain, Alberta.  In 1935 a devastating fire destroyed their restaurant so the couple packed up shop and moved to Chilliwack. They purchased land on Yale Road West just south of Cheam Avenue near the gates of the City for $600.

 

Upon arrival in Chilliwack, James immediately built a Standard Oil gas station that contained the living quarters for the family and a small lunch counter.  The gas station was sold in 1939.  A newer Chevron station still operates at the same location as Christie’s gas station.  In a 2005 interview with the Chilliwack Progress, James and Caroline’s daughter Audrey Neufeld recalled how, “dad was quite an entrepreneur, he had all kinds of ideas, and he did it all right here.”  After selling the Standard Oil station, James and Caroline Christie built a new home to house their growing family just south of the gas station.

Christie’s Hot Dogs, ca. 1940s [P7497]

 

 

In front of the new house James built a small produce stand that also sold honey, ice cream, dill pickles, and hotdogs.  Just north of his produce stand James built a number of small commercial buildings that he leased out.  The hotdogs were served with a special relish made by Caroline.  She sourced her ingredients for the relish from her own garden.  Mrs. Caroline Christie’s famous hotdog relish recipe is available in a book, Chilliwack Pioneer Recipes.

 

Christie’s Hot Dog stand operated throughout the 1940s.  The family stopped selling hotdogs in the 1950s but kept Christie’s Farm Fresh Products open selling produce, honey, homemade dill pickles, candies, ice cream, tobacco, and camping supplies.  James and Caroline even began raising and selling chickens.  According to research by Sharon Lawrence, the family had 5000 chickens that were slaughtered, cleaned, and cooked.  They were used for lunch plates which consisted of half a cooked breaded chicken, homemade pickles, and homemade bun all for the price of $1.

Christie’s Produce, ca. 1950s. [P7498]

 

 

As the autumn colours come into full swing, I am reminded to stop by the produce stands and pick up a bag of apples.  Whether you prefer making apple pie or drying your apples for an outdoor adventure snack, make sure to support your local Chilliwack produce stand.

 

Disclaimer: Much of the material for this blog post comes from research by Sharon Lawrence and an interview from Audrey Neufeld conducted by Sharon Lawrence.