Page 1 Preview: Preface (Ghost Towns on the East Line)
Prior to the railway entering the central interior of British Columbia, Sternwheelers opened up transportation and provided opportunities for settlers along the Fraser River. Hardy pioneers were the first to come, followed by a rash of journalists. Frank Talbot wrote in "The Making of a Great Canadian Railway" in 1912; ... The timber at
places is among the finest that British Columbia can offer. He went on toadd...There is every indication that the
logging industry will assume gigantic proportions within the country.
The massive virgin forests were the economic driver that fuelled the existence of the communities along the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway/Canadian National Railway. Starting in 1912 the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway started their westward thrust through the Rocky Mountain Trench, erecting stations in locations that seemed suitable for settlement. People came and communities prospered until the mid 1960's.
I have not attempted to list or document the numerous sawmills that have over the years operated on the East Line. Very early in my research it was apparent that it would require a herculean task and beyond the scope of this document. Willow River and McBride held the distinction of having the most mills. The largest mills on the East Line were at Giscome, Sinclair Mills, Hutton, Snowshoe and Penny. In Ken Bernoshn's publication, “Cutting Up
The North”, pg 78,.. in 1956 the annual mill list showed 801 mills, with 2,316 logging operations supporting them; on page 86,... in 1971, only 135 mills in the Prince George Forest District producing lumber, down from 704 in 1957..
The house pictured on the cover was originally the home of Bert Leboe and his family, built in or around 1942. Bert Leboe served the Cariboo Riding, federally, as Member of Parliament for the Social Credit Party winning five of seven elections from 1953 to 1968. The house is one of the last remaining houses from the 1940's still standing at Crescent Spur. From 1953 to 1956 it was the home of the Olson family. Also pictured on the cover is the authors wife, Gail.