Sunday, October 11, 2015

Old Hazelton British Columbia (Pictures)

Hazelton is one of the oldest settlements in Northern British Columbia, its European settlement dates back to 1866 when the Collins Overland telegraph went through.

Hazelton was the original gateway and staging area for the Omineca Gold Rush of 1869-73. Besides the hunt for riches, there was one other important reason to visit: it had the only proper hospital for hundreds of miles in any direction. 

One of its other, less appreciated, distinctions was in having dozens of roaming, foraging and howling sled dogs, as nearly everyone had their own team and many were allowed to run free. 

Transportation options got better in 1891 when the Hudson's Bay Company’s sternwheeler Caledonia arrived from Port Essington. Being the head of navigation on the Skeena, Hazelton was to play host to more than a dozen sternwheelers throughout the next twenty-two years. 

Two Mile was a community two miles out of Hazelton. During the gold rush and rail construction, it was home to a roadhouse and a prosperous red-light district.

Steamboats of the Skeena River.

The Skeena River is British Columbia’s fastest flowing waterway, often rising as much as 17 feet (5.2 m) in a day and can fluctuate as much as sixty feet between high and low water.

For the steamboat captains, that made it one of the toughest navigable rivers in British Columbia. Nevertheless, at least sixteen paddlewheel steamboats plied the Skeena River from the coast to Hazelton from 1864 to 1912.

Gives layout for the town: From the Library and Archives Canada.

The first car, a Flanders 20, arrived in Hazelton on the evening of October 4th, 1911. It came from Seattle. It did not arrive by rail, which wouldn't be completed from Prince Rupert until 1912, nor did it come in by sternwheeler. 

It was brought in overland from Seattle. None of the people in town believed that story, as it was nearly impossible to walk into Hazelton overland in 1911, much less drive.

The next day everyone went to go see the car where it was parked in front of the Hazelton Hotel and questioned the owner, PE Sands, on how he had accomplished the feat. At a banquet held in his honor later that evening, Sands revealed his secret. He had brought along a mechanic and they had often had to disassemble the car and load it unto mules.

Clearly they'd had enough of doing that by the time they reached Hazelton. They packed the car up on a sternwheeler and went to Skeena Crossing (Gitsegukla) where the car was loaded on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway for the trip to Prince Rupert. There the car was loaded on a coastal steamer for the trip back to Seattle. 

At a banquet given in Seattle by the Pacific Highway Assocition in November, he was presented with the Challoner & Mitchell trophy, a solid 14 ct. gold medallion in the shape a small wheel, now owned by the Village of Hazelton. Note: This automobile is now on display at the Kittitas County Historical Museum in Ellensburg,WA.

Source information: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Above Photo: A paddle wheel shaft.

Links: First car in Hazelton, B.C. - From Digital Collections.

Link To: Photo of the first car in Hazelton, B.C.

Link To: Photo of the first car in Hazelton, B.C.

Above Photo: Light plant Motor.

Above Photo: River House Est. 1911

Above Photo: Blacksmith shop.

Above Photo: I loved the old wagon on top of the building.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the good photos Brian. I imagine the mules were glad when that first car left town on the sternwheeler...