Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Terrace, British Columbia

Canadian National Railways, Western Region, British Columbia District, Smithers Division, Skeena Subdivision, Terrace, Mile Post 24.8. Station identification: ON. RZY; R= Train Register, Z= Yard Limits, Y=wye, a 24-hour train order station with a telegrapher on duty! And, the northern terminus of the 38.5-mile long Kitimat subdivision.

That’s me on the right, with my buddy Ron, with whom I occasionally stayed on overnight treks, and “Ken” who is totally lost in my memory bank. Ron and I became good buddies the first year we lived in Prince Rupert. When his family moved to Terrace the following year, my travel options on freight and passenger trains opened immensely!

The first residents of this area were the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas, two of the seven Tsimshian tribes that ranged more than 100 miles down to the Pacific Coast, along the Skeena River – “Water from the clouds.” Indeed! Rainfall averaging 200” per year have been recorded in Prince Rupert!

A fellow by the name of George Little had snow-shoed in from Kitimat in 1905. He had a vision that this would be a great location for farming and trading, being on the Skeena River. Different sources relate that the settlement carried various names, with the founding fathers looking toward the natural benches or terraces surrounding the site. Thus the name “Terrace” was selected.

As testimony to Mr. Little’s faith in his vision, he established a sawmill in Terrace, shown here in 1914, a store and the local post office.

The terraces above the Skeena River turned out to be ideal for orchards, and of course the abundance of timber was obvious. Old growth cedar poles were mined here, ideal for power transmission lines.

It was soon discovered that Terrace was accessible to the Pacific Ocean via steam ship from Port Essington. Port Essington was the hub of a very prosperous salmon cannery industry.

Here we see the steamboat “Conveyor” passing Kalum, on her way up to Terrace and head of navigation at Hazelton, BC. Steamship was the only mode of transportation until 1912, when the Grand Trunk Railroad was completed linking coastal Prince Rupert with the transcontinental line at Jasper. Indeed, a fleet of steamboats were kept busy ferrying men and supplies to the Grand Trunk construction camps along the banks of the Skeena!

The construction of the Grand Trunk Railway Prince Rupert Extension began in 1910, and here we see photos of the original Terrace Station – a type 100-152 - being completed in 1911.

This structure was replaced in 1960 as a type 100-391, later replaced with a modern brick structure serving CN freight and VIA passenger duties. This photo taken in 1954 is the Terrace as I remember it.

As for Mr. George Little? Well, he lived long enough to ride the Last Spike Ceremony train between Kitimat and Terrace; virtually over the same route he had snow shoed in 1905!

1 Comments - Click here:

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

I enjoyed reading this, You have given me a new insight with the Prince George line of the CNR

Thank you Robert for sharing

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