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Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

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. 

Facial Recognition – Archives Style

Posted on: July 25th, 2018 by Tristan Evans

Unidentified group with big smiles [2016.032.002.0786]

Big tech companies and government agencies have the advantage of using facial recognition software to help them identify individuals from digital images.  While I love a good conspiracy theory, I’ll break the myth and let you know that as a small community archives, we do not have such technology in our possession.  However, we here at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives have a secret tool that Google, Facebook, and large agencies do not have.  We have a great set of dedicated volunteers and a community that cares about preserving Chilliwack’s history.

 

Unknown individual doing something important [2016.032.002.0784]

 

Today I am going to tap into the community (you) and ask for help.  Throughout this blog you’ll notice photographs from a large collection.  The donor, I, and our volunteers have all tried to identify these remaining photographs from this large collection.  Unfortunately we have not had any luck.  This is when I ask you to kindly put on your archives hat and see if you recognize any of the individuals in these photos and/or maybe the event itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like a charismatic speaker [2016.032.002.0787]

Any information you have on these photographs is appreciated.  Feel free to contact me directly if you recognize these photographs and I will gladly update our database.   You can find my contact information at the bottom of the blog post.  After you’ve looked at all the photographs of course.

 

 

 

 

 

Kids being patient [2016.032.002.0788]

Just three more photographs to go.  How about this fantastic family on the right with “smiling” kids?

 

 

 

 

 

 

More smiles [2016.032.002.0790]

Almost done.  How come this family is so lucky?  They appear in a few of these photographs!

 

 

 

 

 

Where is this store? I don’t know, do you? [2016.032.002.0791]

You made it to the final image… for now.  Recognize where this store is?

 

Thank you for looking.

 

Tristan Evans

[email protected]

604-792-5210 ext. 104

Volunteer Spotlight – Wayne Bowes

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by Tristan Evans

The Chilliwack Museum is so much more than one individual.  To fulfill our mandate of preserving Chilliwack’s rich history, we rely on the work of so many individuals who generously share their time.  This includes (but is not all inclusive) members of the Chilliwack historical society, the Board of Trustees, 32 volunteers, 5 permanent staff members, 2 summer students, and 3 part-time staff members.  In the Archives building specifically, there is one archivist, one curator, one archives assistant, one summer student, and currently 4 volunteers.  As the name implies, volunteers charitably give their free time here doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that allows us to preserve and make available our archival records and cultural objects.

Volunteer Wayne Bowes and his wife Coleen Bowes

 

Each volunteer brings a unique skill set to the Archives that we try and pair up with tasks that are needed.  To this day I regularly use the research done by past volunteers such as Sharon Lawrence or Evelyn Johner.  Today I am going to use this opportunity to highlight one volunteer in particular:

 

Wayne Bowes volunteers in the Archives building mostly working on the curatorial side describing cultural objects.  Wayne is a retired architect, designer, and worked for many years in the antiques business.  With his knowledge, Wayne is the perfect individual to help us describe cultural objects.  His antique skills are particularly useful.  He knows far more about the material and use of an object than us generalist (the curator and myself) could ever hope to know.  He is here every Monday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM imputing descriptive information into our database.  The work is often tedious and underappreciated.  Very few individuals understand all the behind-the-scene descriptions that Wayne is a part of.  During his last shift I asked Wayne a few questions about his work and why he is so committed to helping our mission.

 

Just one of the projects Wayne is currently describing

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

 

I wanted to give back to Chilliwack.  I have an interest in history and older items and wanted to use my knowledge in a meaningful way to give back to the community.

 

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

 

I work mostly on the curatorial side.  I take photographs of objects and record the information into the database.  I look up the value of items and describe the items.  I use my past experience from working in an antiques shop to describe the artifacts and objects.

 

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

 

I haven’t been working here for very long yet; but, I have really enjoyed some of the socials and luncheons for the volunteers.

 

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

 

Staff are friendly, nice, and informative.  (I promise, I didn’t force him to say the last response)

 

Wayne Bowes has been volunteering since November, 2017.  He lives in Chilliwack proper with his wife Coleen Bowes.  They are long time residents of the community in Chilliwack and Cultus Lake.  From a personal perspective I can say without hesitation that it is an absolute pleasure working with Wayne.

 

Borrowing a phrase from one of my favourite podcasts, The Secret Life of Canada, shout out to Wayne Bowes!