Friday, May 1, 2015

The Bowling-Pin Method

Later in May of 1886, Dr. A Harrison Thomas was appointed medical officer, George F. Baldwin city treasurer, J.J. Blake city solicitor and T.F. McGuigan city clerk.

A police commission was formed and consisted of the mayor, the magistrate and the city clerk. Boultbee proposed his brother-in-law, Gardner Johnson, for the position of chief of police and Mayor MacLean nominated his old Winnipeg acquaintance, James M. Stewart. Unfortunately for Johnson, the city clerk was dating Stewart's pretty daughter so Stewart got the appointment. Chief Stewart had a force of four - himself, an assistant chief and two constables.

On May 28, at a public meeting, Sam Pedgrift was elected chief of a volunteer fire brigade. Along with this shoemaker were 13 other members. Members paid dues of 25 cents a month and a fund of $200 was collected. These donations were to go to a fire engine.

As I have said before, Granville was a passive target of Port Moody, Victoria and New Westminster papers for years. But Vancouver had its own press. In January, William Brown started the Vancouver Herald, a four-page weekly. At the end of May, N. Harkness and J.H. Ross started the publication of the Vancouver News, and R.W. Gordon the Vancouver Advertiser. The Herald was a liberal leaning paper whereas the Advertiser was conservative. Granville may have been a settlement by the inlet but Vancouver was a city!

The surveying was still going on and during the spring of 1886, 2000 were employed. A large construction camp existed in the small bay where Hamilton Street met False Creek. Wives and families of the superior employees lived in the old Hastings Townsite where the CPR construction offices were.

On March 6, the company held its first land sale, setting June 10 as the deadline for persons in occupation of land previous to the 1884 agreement to buy their lots at the reserved price of $200.

Walter Graveley was the first buyer of unreserved land, paying $700 for lots 1,2 and 3 on the southeast corner of Carrall and Oppenheimer (now East Cordova) Streets. The CPR was flooded with claims of people claiming to have been occupants of the land- "almost in excess of the entire population of Gastown in 1884". Is it any wonder Van Horne warned Hamilton to keeps his eyes open when doing business with the people of Vancouver.

The railway was also clearing the land along Water, Cordova, Hastings and Pender Streets, as far west as Burrard. Much of this was done using the "bowling-pin" method. Ranks after ranks of the close packed trees were sawed halfway through then a few were felled and those would knock down the others. Scores of the forest giants fell and created a mash up of smashed trunks and branches. Undergrowth and jagged stumps were left to dry out through the summer and burned the following wet season.

I would like to thank the book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. As always, great photo's Karen and great history.

    1. Thanks tamylee. I appreciate readers like you!