Monday, April 13, 2015

Dirty Bob

In July of 1882, Captain Raymur died. Raymur was an austere and lonely man who won the respect and admiration of the community but never their affection. But for more than a decade, he was steady and reliable influence on Gastown.

Another event in Gastown during 1882 deserves a mention. The settlement was visited again by royalty on October 19. The Marquis of Lorne arrived and from that visit comes a legend.

There was a huge tree at the water's edge and it was spared at the request of the Marquis' wife, Princess Louise. For years, this tree stood there, known to all as Princess Louise's tree. The only problem with that legend is that the Princess never saw the inlet. She preferred to stay in Victoria while her husband did all the travelling.

With the coming of 1883, the term Gastown became a term of derision, heard only in places such as Port Moody, where town lots were selling for as much as $2,000 each as the railroad drew near. Gastown was the little settlement shut in by forest whereas Granville was open to the world. And the world was coming in.

March 15, the ship Duke of Abercon passed Granville on its way to Port Moody with the first shipment of steel for the CPR; June 9, the barques King Ceolric and Karen F. Troop brought the second consignment; in October, a locomotive purchased from the Panama Railway was put at the head of the inlet and renamed the Lytton.

William Irving and his son, Captain John Irving were long active in Fraser River shipping. In 1883, they merged their Pioneer line with the Hudson's Bay Co. coastwise fleet to form the Canadian Navigation Co.

The CPN replaced the Irving's tiny Maude on the Burrard Inlet with the large Yosemite (called locally the Yo-se-mite) and would sometimes run with such famous vessels as the Enterprise, Reliance, and R.P. Rithet.

William Rogers, brother of the late Jerry, built and ran the Robert Dunsmuir. That ship earned the nickname the Dirty Bob since she carried coal for the railway builders on the Nanaimo-Port Moody route.

There was so much activity on the inlet - lumber ships coming and going and now the traffic for the railway - that it almost went unnoticed when the pioneer SS Beaver sank! Fortunately, someone noticed and she was raised, refitted and returned to work as a supply vessel for the northern logging camps.

Thanks to Alan Morley and his book, Vancouver from Milltown to Metropolis for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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