The abundance of timber soon attracted loggers and sawmills, of which the most important example in Coquitlam was Fraser Mills. This sawmill was in operation with occasional shut downs for years, from to So we need to take a close look at its early history and the community that grew up beside it.
He bought it as a speculation with no intention of farming, but hoped that the opening of the transcontinental railway would increase its value. He and his seven sons frequently walked from their home in Sapperton to work on this property. The family eventually sold the land around In the firm of Ross, McLaren completed construction of a sawmill on the banks of the Fraser River, in what is now southwest Coquitlam, close to the New Westminster boundary.
This would be no ordinary sawmill. It was designed to supply wood products to foreign as well as local markets. The estimated production of the plant for a ten-hour shift was , board feet. The main building was feet long by 72 feet wide and 45 feet high. It became the nucleus of a small company town created to accommodate the mill workers. The plant went into full operation.
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Sailing ships bound for Australia and South America loaded lumber. Houses were built in Millside. Then in , the mill closed Néanmoins, la petite ville de la scierie Fraser Mills, comme on appelle Millside à ce moment-là, grandit. Elle comprendra bientôt une résidence pour le gérant, environ vingt maisons, un magasin, un bureau de poste, un hôpital, un immeuble de bureaux, une échoppe de barbier et une salle de billard.
Toutefois, les. Et la Première Guerre mondiale est déclenchée en août Il faudra attendre de nombreuses années avant que la scierie ne reprenne ses activités à pleine capacité. Bon nombre des témoignages existants ont été rédigés au début des années par des résidents nés à Fraser Mills durant les deux premières décennies du XXe siècle.
De plus, leurs connaissances sur les événements de Fraser Mills et les conditions y régnant avant leur naissance. Il reste tout de même que leurs récits contiennent certaines des données les plus fiables sur les débuts de Coquitlam. In a new company bought the mill. However its owners still delayed reopening until they received a promise from the Canadian federal government that the channel of the Fraser River would be dredged to improve navigation.
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The first few years were slow going, due to the depressed state of the lumber business throughout Canada partly caused by unfavourable tariffs. Then, as now, the resource based Canadian economy was highly sensitive to world commodity prices and other external conditions. Nevertheless, the little town.
In the company operating the mill changed its name to Canadian Western Lumber Company. For years, residents of Fraser Mills and neighbouring areas in Coquitlam who wished to go to New Westminster including children on their way to school had to walk many kilometres to the nearest tram line in Sapperton. The plant was reputed at this time to be the largest lumbering operation in the British Empire and the second largest in the world.
However, the boom years were almost over. By the end of , a recession set in and continued into Then World War I broke out in August, Many mill workers enlisted, and the mill operated only three or four.
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Life at Fraser Mills Fraser Mills is an early example of the many company towns that would arise, and sometimes disappear, in Western Canada in the twentieth century. Until , as discussed below, Fraser Mills was not a separate legal municipality: it was a part of the District of Coquitlam. The hallmark of the company town is the presence of one major employer who is attracted to the area to exploit some natural resource. At Fraser Mills that resource was timber, and the mill shaped daily life in the little town in many different ways.
Four police officers maintained law and order. One excellent source of information are the written recollections of the people who lived there. Many of the existing accounts were written in the early s by residents who were born in Fraser Mills during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Of course their memories of childhood are subject to the usual frailties of memory that occur as time passes.
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Furthermore, their knowledge of events and conditions in Fraser Mills before they were born is necessarily second-hand because it is based on what they learned from their parents, grandparents and other older relatives. Still, their stories contain some of the best evidence available on these early days in Coquitlam. Edward, près du sommet de la colline, et son grand-père habite à quelques maisons de là. Harold Schiefke est né en à Fraser Mills. On payait un loyer très symbolique. Les lumières étaient éteintes à une heure du matin.
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De temps en temps, la maison était refaite — repeinte et retapissée. Le propriétaire de la scierie possède le magasin général de Fraser Mills. Ils disaient, eh bien, vous avez ceci et vous avez cela et maintenant, vous êtes ceci et vous êtes cela. Les travailleurs achètent les dindes et les légumes et les font cuire eux-mêmes. Elle résonnait à nouveau à midi et encore une fois à cinq heures moins dix, à la fin de la journée de travail. La sirène servait aussi à appeler les contremaîtres et il y avait aussi un code pour ceux qui le connaissaient, indiquant où un incendie se trouvait. On pouvait entendre cette sirène à des milles à la ronde.
Les brûleurs de la scierie et de la fabrique de bardeaux produisent des étincelles et les séchoirs de la fabrique de contreplaqué deviennent très chaud. Un énorme incendie rase une maison occupée par des travailleurs japonais. Kenneth Charlton, born in the family home at Fraser Mills in , mentions the multicultural nature of the work force in the early years.
He remembers children of all these ethnic groups playing, competing in sports, and going to school together. Florida Nadon Lamoureux remembers that they had the. His father, who had come to the town from Bellingham, Washington in , worked at the plant as a millwright. You paid a very nominal rent.
You burned wood from the mill and, later on, sawdust. Lighting was supplied by the company. Every once in a while, you got your house redone painted and wallpapered. According to him, the school was paid for by the mill owner. The mill owner owned the general store in Fraser Mills.
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Above it was the meeting hall. The workers paid for and cooked their turkeys and vegetables themselves. Stuart Windblad, whose grandfather Andrew J. Snap Stewart was hired as a foreman at Fraser Mills in , recalls that Snap Stuart was one of many Americans recruited from Washington State by the mill owner for management and skilled positions in the early years.
Stuart lived on King Edward Ave. You could have any colors you wanted, as long as they were white and green, or green and white. Those were the company colors. It sounded again at noon, and again at 10 minutes to five, quitting time.
I believe the 10 minutes to the hour was to coincide with the tram schedule. The whistle was also used to call the firemen, and there was a code for those who knew it as to where the fire was located. This whistle could be heard for miles around, and local folk set their clocks by it, and expected their men folk and children home shortly after it sounded. Sparks flew from the sawmill and shingle burners, and the dryers in the plywood factory got very hot. Les travailleurs chinois, japonais et asiatiques du sud y habitent.
Coquitlam Agricultural Society [N. Il leur arrive parfois de vendre leurs produits agricoles ou de les consommer elles-mêmes.