Friday, February 7, 2014

Would You Believe...

This drawing dates back to 1870 and is of the townsite of Granville. What is now Gastown. The crooked line is the original shoreline. City of Vancouver archives.

1887 photo of the Stag and Pheasant on Water Street. Vancouver Public Library collection.
1886 photo of the Carter House on Water Street. Vancouver Public Library.

Taken sometime in the 1890s, this is a photo of the outside of the Hastings Mill and Store. The Vancouver Public Library credits Bailey Bros for this photo.

Considering that two of these photos are of drinking establishments, would you believe originally this area was dry - no alcohol allowed.

The area around Stamp's Mill on the South Shore was home to a little shacktown of mill hands and supervisors. There was a wharf for small boats and a store that sold food, clothes, cooking pot, medicines and such but no liquor. 

Across the Inlet, on the North Shore, was Moodyville. Since the mill owner, Sewell Prescott Moody, was a strict teetotaler, the north side of the water was also 'dry'. If the loggers, mill workers and sailors wanted a drink they had to hike to New Westminster - 20 miles round trip. The route went over the Douglas Road which reached Burrard Inlet near where the Pacific National Exhibition grounds are today.

In 1884, the Wah Chong family posed for this photo outside the family laundry. City of Vancouver.
Erskine Beaveridge took this June 3, 1885 photo looking east on Water Street. Vancouver Public Library Archives.

A log train at Royal City Mills Camp. Taken by the Bailey Bros in the 1890s. Vancouver Public Library. 

Once again in the 1890s, the Bailey Bros took this photo of ships at the Hastings Mill. Vancouver Public Library. 

Here we have a group of thirsty men with money to burn yet no local place to drink. You know that some enterprising individual is going to take advantage of that. In 1867, John "Gassy Jack" Deighton arrived on the shores of Burrard Inlet with a First Nations wife, a keg of whiskey and a plan. He offered free whiskey to any of the off duty mill workers who would build him a saloon. Just west of Stamp's property line, the Globe Saloon was built and the Granville Townsite had begun.

Social life on the Inlet was interesting. North Road - from New Westminster to the head of the Inlet - was soon abandoned. Douglas Road was the main overland link with New Westminster. A hotel was built, the New Brighton Hotel, which I wrote on here, to cater to Inlet residents and serve as a pleasure resort for the young people of New Westminster. These people travelled by stage in the summer and sleigh in the winter.

In 1866, John Thomas - Navvy Jack as he was known - had the idea of transporting people from Moodyville to the hotel so he started a rowboat ferry service. A year later, James Van Bramer brought his steamer Sea Foam round from the Fraser River and started a triangular ferry route from the hotel to Moodyville and Hastings Mill (formerly Stamp's Mill).

 View of Hastings Mill in the 1890s. Photo by the Bailey Bros. Vancouver Public Library.
Corner of Hastings and Granville, 1880s, photographer Bailey Bros. Vancouver Public Library. 
Same as above.
Gold House Hotel on Water Street, 1890, Bailey Bros. Vancouver Public Library.

Gastown's population was a mixture of different races, nationalities and religions. The language most people spoke was Chinook - a trade jargon of the north west coast. Even court proceedings were held in Chinook.

Sometimes, for a couple of days after payday, the mill had to close because so many of the workers were gambling. Gassy Jack staged cockfights for the South Sea Islander crewmen of the lumber ships.

There were times when a dozen deep-sea vessels were in port at once. If several of the masters had wives - or mistresses - aboard then dances and other entertainments would be held.

Sunnyside Hotel, 135 Water Street, in the 1880s. Photo by the Bailey Bros. Vancouver Public Library.
The first Hotel Vancouver, 1880s, Bailey Bros photographer, Vancouver Public Library.
The Dominion Photo Co took this photo on September 13, 1917. Vancouver Public Library.
Bailey Bros took this photo of a train at the Hastings Mill loaded with timber in the 1890s. Vancouver Public Library.

Thanks go to the book Vancouver's Past by Raymond Hull, Gordon Soules, Christine Soules.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

See where the people are sitting on the verandah? That is Gassy Jack's Saloon.
Taken between 1910 and 1930. This is a Steam Donkey and logging crew clearing land for the railway in Capilano region, North Vancouver. Vancouver Public Library.
Bailey Bros photographer. Vancouver waterfront and skyline as seen in the 1880s from Hastings Mill. Vancouver Public library. 
C.P.R. wharf and a trainload of shingles. Photo taken by Bailey Bros. in the 1880s. Vancouver Public Library.

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