By David J. McWatters
With all the cell phones and internet, it is hard to think of a time when communication from Barriere was a hard thing to do. But for many years, Barriere had only one telephone.
The first telephone system in the North Thompson started operating in the Genier hotel in 1910. The telephone used a magneto boosting switchboard system, and you definitely did not carry it in your pocket.
The hotel burned down in 1918, but luckily by 1916, the railway was in service and James Nelson had closed his mill operation and built a hotel across the tracks, using the lumber from his mill. The telephone switchboard was moved to his hotel.
Amazingly, until 1944 there were only two telephones in Barriere. One telephone was in the Trader’s Supply Store, and the other was at the B.C. Forest Service Office.