Heritage afloat: The first government wharf was built in 1907 by W.L Gibbard’s crew for $5

Wharf inextricably linked to Salmon Arm’s history

When D.W. Smith and William Van Horne dissolved their partnership after a heated argument in 1921, the two men never spoke again

When D.W. Smith and William Van Horne dissolved their partnership after a heated argument in 1921, the two men never spoke again. According to history buff Rollie Jamieson, the partners jointly owned the Alexandra Hotel where the argument took place in the bar room. Van Horn said Smith spent too much time in the bar. Smith accused Van Horne of talking too much to the ladies. Neither man was happy and the hotel work wasn’t getting done.

Bar patrons expected a real fight that night, but were disappointed. A few days later the Salmon Arm Observer announced the legal dissolution of the partnership. Van Horne kept the hotel business and Smith went to work as the city’s wharf keeper, a career that was to last 30 years. He began building small boats. The ladies called him Mr. Smith and everyone else called him D.W. The craftsman became a fixture. Smith was also the official security on-site and reported to city council on petty thievery and vandalism.

How did earlier residents gain access to the waterway that connected to Kamloops and beyond? One hundred and twenty years ago, early surveyor George Mercer Dawson wrote that he “was grounded on the mudflats a quarter of a mile from the Salmon Arm station. Took off boots, and wallowed to shore and back through about a hundred yards of soft mud – so soft in places as to evoke fear [of] being engulfed altogether. To the station and telegraphed for mail to be sent to Sicamous tomorrow. Then to McGuire’s store and got a fresh supply of provisions of which we seem likely to be short.”

Then Mrs. McGuire had a private jetty built. In 1907, McGuire’s pier was replaced by a substantial Government wharf. The Enderby Progress newspaper reported that “[t]he hearts of all Salmon Arm citizens were gladdened by the report on the progress of the wharf question…$5,000 has been placed on the BC Supplementary Estimates for the purpose of building a wharf at Salmon Arm.”

Paddlewheelers that had brought supplies to crews building the C.P.R. were still in use as new ones were being built. They no longer had to nose to shore or rely on a gang plank to access dry land.  Residents on the north side of the lake were still regular visitors and needed access to the railroad, roads, and markets.

This year’s Heritage Week theme, Heritage Afloat, is a nod to a special place – the historic government wharf   that continues to be one of Salmon Arm’s defining features. The celebration is an opportunity to explore all the ways we use water as transportation and how it historically interlinked with road and rail travel.

Heritage Afloat is being celebrated at the Mall at Piccadilly. To see displays, courtesy of the Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village and others, visit between Feb. 17 and 22.

For more, contact the Museum at 250-832-5243.

 

Just Posted

Canoe Forest Products takes extra break over Christmas to cut costs

Prediction for future of plywood plant looks positive, says general manager

User fees in Sunnybrae, Sorrento and six more water systems going up

Increases attributed to added regulatory requirements for water treatment

Registration underway for Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

Annual cross-country ski race has raised more than $400,000 for Heart and Stroke Foundation

Shuswap Dance Center shows celebrate the season

Junior and senior dancers rehearsing for weekend of performances

Donkey refuge wins big at Shuswap Women Who Wine event

More than $4,000 awarded to Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge for education project

B.C. woman charged in connection to stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Shuswap history in pictures: SPCA bake sale at Cedarvale Mall

SPCA volunteer Frances Jackson helps Delta Franklin (wearing the cowboy hat) as… Continue reading

Most Read