Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thomas Spence and his bridge.

Spence’s Bridge, November 1959. At this time, a lonely outpost located at the confluence of the Thompson and Nicola Rivers, northeast of Lytton.

Originally called Cook's Ferry after Mortimer Cook who ran a raft style cable ferry across the Thompson River, it was later re-named after Thomas Spence. Spence, a Royal Engineer and road builder, won the contract to build a bridge across the river to replace the ferry during the construction of the Caribou Wagon road. The bridge then became known as Spence's Toll Bridge. Unfortunately the bridge was built too low and during spring runoff in 1894 it was washed away.

After the gold rush, the town became a farming and railroad community, which it remains to this day. The site of the Last Spike of the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway is located on Highway 1, approximately 10 miles north of Spence’s Bridge on the east bank of the Thompson River. The rail line is now part of the Canadian National Railways system.

Evening shadows come early in the Thompson River Canyon. A Canadian Pacific GMD GP-9 8487 scurries into Spence’s Bridge under cover of white flags. Mileages on signs are "pre-metric" shown as "miles." Notice the ubiquitous snow shovel and broom hanging beside the switch stand.

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