VALLEY VOICES: History of Blackpool – Part two of two

The first school in Blackpool was a log building, built in 1915. Margaret (Peggy) Tait was the first school teacher

A letter from Harry Fairbrother

Editor’s Note: The following is the second of a two-part history based on one written by Ina T. Fairbrother that appeared in the Oct. 30 and Nov. 7, 1974 issues of the Times.

Part one appeared in our Oct. 6, 2016 issue.

Ina T. Fairbrother

The first school in Blackpool was a log building, built in 1915. Margaret (Peggy) Tait was the first school teacher. Many will remember her. The School District went from Round Top to Clearwater. This school was closed in 1949 and a new school opened the following fall. It also closed when a school bus started taking children to Clearwater Elementary on Sept. 3, 1963. The original school burned down in May, 1969.

During railroad construction days a wood-burning steamboat or sternwheeler known as the Distributor was used on the North Thompson River. To keep it operating, crews were stationed along the river to cut the fuel supply. It was owned by Twhoy Bros., contractors from the United States. They once took a 100-ton shovel up the river on the Distributor, which went as far as Irvine Bridge.

Oscar Mobile and Nester Johnson were section foremen at different times in the history of the railroad. Practically all the Sunshine Valley was owned by a man called Lacock Gallop. Julius Priester, Robi Bush, and brothers Dahl and Kirk Price were one-time residents.

Mr. and Mrs. Charley Cleaveley came to Blackpool June 7, 1910, from Ashcroft. Fred Jenkins arrived in 1910 or 1911. George Heywood lived in the community in 1914. William H Johnson, who had come to British Columbia in 1896, moved to Blackpool in 1915. Robert Davoren also came in 1915. Arnold Phillips came to Clearwater June 13, 1927 and settled in Blackpool in 1946.

Floods in 1928 and 1948 caused the banks of the North Thompson River to overflow.

Captain A. H. Louten took over the post office from Mr. Miller, in conjunction with a store. This was called the Blackpool Post Office and was situated close to the present Blackpool Station. At the beginning of World War II, Mr. Louten rented the post office to Harry Best, who ran it until it burned down in November 1942. It was never rebuilt, and residents lost their post office when Mr. Best moved to the west side of the river.

Honourable Davie Fulton got a post office back again in September 1948. It was called East Black Pool. fairbrothersWhen the west side of Blackpool got a rural route they became Clearwater R.R. #2. East Black Pool was changed back to Blackpool on July 1, 1963. Mrs. Ina T. Fairbrother took over the Blackpool Post Office from Ernest Wallin on Sept. 3, 1949.

A road on the east side of the North Thompson River through to Clearwater was built October, 1952, by Atlas Construction Company. B.C. Hydro and Power Authority brought in electricity September, 1959. Telephones came in October, 1962, the year in which television came also. The Canadian National satellite was put up on the mountain in 1963.

Blackpool Hall was built from logs in 1928. It was opened Jan. 1, 1929, and is still in use. L. and C. Carter opened Golden Spur Store in July, 1950.

Over the hill in an easterly direction was another valley that contains Halamore Lake, known in those days as Beaver Lake. In this section of Blackpool referred to as ‘The Hill’ upwards of a dozen quarter sections in the valley have been taken up, all changing hands quite a number of times since.

Bill Hewitt, who owned the property at Halamore Lake, was joined later by Fred Gorden, who took the place over after Mr. Hewitt died in 1933. Mr. And Mrs William McCarthy were there about 40 years. They milked cows. Mr. McCarthy said of his wife, “I don’t need a milking machine — I married one.”

The Bradshaws lived in that area for many years. The first wedding in Blackpool was when Bill Bradshaw married Mary, his second wife, at his parents’ home November, 1942. Walter Crestle and family lived there too. Nowadays there is a lake called Crestle Lake.

More settlers were Whitfords, Bennetts, brothers Pete, Ed and Tommy Bloder, John Carlson, two Proulx brothers, Kidd and Barney Welder, and Neil MacLennan. The Emery and Davorens families lived on the flat.

There is a lonely grave on the Queens Bess flat. In the early 1900s, Pete LeRoy, a French labourer, died when he was between 75 and 80.

Billy Payne was another old-timer. He acquired Ruddick’s place, where the oldest building in Blackpool stood until its present owner, A. Matusky tore it down in 1965.

Freddie Mann was here in 1909. A trapper, he lived at the mouth of Blackwater Creek. A raft there was pushed up the river on one side and then went down the current on the other side. When people wanted to cross they would yell to have someone bring it. This was before there were any ferries.

Mr. And Mrs. Henry Morrill lived in Blackpool around 1910. They later started the Paul Lake Fishing Resort northeast of Kamloops.

William E. McLean, born in Blackpool, was elected president of the Canadian Society of New York, an organization of professional and business men who were born or had lived in Canada. He is presently (in 1974) assistant treasurer of International Nickel Company of Canada Ltd.

Just below the mouth of Blackwater Creek, the river bends and broadens. Here are several islands. Hutchinson lived on one , Jim Burns on another and Heywood on a third. And there is Cameron Island too.

Inset photo shows Ina Fairbrother, the author of this history, and her husband Harry Fairbrother, the Blackpool ferryman from 1950 until the ferry service ended in 1970.

 

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