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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

About one-sixth of students in School District 83 choose to ‘restart’ June 1

Superintendent of schools expects numbers may increase as word of safety protocols spreads

Drugs, machete found in truck with stolen plate driven by Salmon Arm man

Chase RCMP arrest driver and have vehicle towed

Column: Shuswap Emergency Program an important asset for region

Council Report by City of Salmon Arm Councillor Kevin Flynn

Trial of accused in Salmon Arm church shooting expected to be brief

Crown won’t dispute not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder defence

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Princeton RCMP sergeant kills cougar threatening residential neighborhood

An RCMP officer shot and killed a cougar, close to a residential… Continue reading

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read