Monday, December 5, 2011
John Hendry was born in Belledune, NB on January 20, 1842 as the second son of a family in the sawmill and flour milling business. After a short time running the family business after his father's death and travelling through the Western United States, Hendry moved west to British Columbia in 1872.
He arrived to find the lumber industry in BC in a slump. For two years he worked as a log and timber surveyor and millwright for sawmills on the Puget Sound. IN 1874 Hendry was hired to work in the rebuilding of the Moodyville Sawmill which was on the north shore of the Burrrard Inlet. He also worked as nightshift superintendent before travelling to Winnipeg in 1875.
Like many of our city's pioneers, Hendry found the arrival of the railway in 1887 to be fortuitous. He promoted the New Westminster Southern Railway-NWSR- which was granted a federal charter in 1888. Hendry had served as on the city council from 1879-80 and he was elected mayor of New Westminster in 1889. H resigned the position in July however because he felt that his business involvement with the NWSR and his official duties would be in conflict.
There were problems shipping forest products from New Westminster. Hendry solved some of those when his company bought the Hastings Saw Mill in Vancouver in 1889. Since the mill was located between the Burrard Inlet and the CPR line it provided convenient access between land and sea.
The purchase of the mill gave way to a new company, The British Columbia Mills Timber and Trading Company - B.C. Mills of which Hendry was president and the manager of the mill, Richard Henry Alexander was the secretary. The company became quite successful and in the next ten years it employed 1,100 workers and had a sawing capacity of 400,000 board feet per day.
In 1902 BC Mills purchased the Moodyville Land and Saw Mills Company. They then began calling themselves “the largest lumber manufacturing establishment in Western Canada or on the Pacific Coast, and one of the largest in the world.” The head office was moved to Vancouver and Hendry moved into a home in the West End in 1903.
Although timber was proving to be very prosperous for Hendry he also speculated on the railway and was involved in several business such as Nicola Valley Coal and Coke Company Limited and a director of the Hendry Land Company Limited, the British Columbia Sugar Refinery Limited, the Dundee Gold Mine Limited, and the West Shore and Northern Land Company Limited.
Hendry also made various trips over to England between 1910 and 12. During a visit to a nerve specialist in London he was advised to slow down so Hendry sold some of his holdings though he did hang on to the Hastings and Moodyville mills which were the core of his lumber empire.
The house that was built on Angus Drive features a porte cochere, or a porch with a covered entrance which protected visitors from the elements as they visited.
This private residence is a beautiful building and was a fitting home for one of British Columbia's first lumber barons.
Karen Magill, John Hendry, Vancouver, Titanic, BC Mills, Angus Drive, CPR, Hastings Sawmill