Hello from Flora Copley and Mackenzie Ransome at the North Thompson Museum and Archives in Barriere.
Since we have been highlighting displays in the ‘The Store’ building at the Museum, we feel it is appropriate to talk about ‘The Store’ display itself.
‘The Store’ is set up to resemble the Fennell Store in the early 1900s, which was located in Chu Chua. Opened by George Fennell, the Fennell Store thrived off the business of the railway workers at the nearby CN station. However, just as the railway played an important part in the beginning of the store, it also played a part in the demise of it when the section crew and station personnel were eliminated in the 1960s.
Here is a story about the Fennell Store in its prime as told by Les Edgar, a Chu Chua local at the time.
“Word had gotten out that a worker on the railway won a sweepstake, which brought an outsider to Chu Chua looking to steal the winnings. With the idea that the money was being kept in the Fennell Store safe, the individual broke into the store, locating the safe at the back of the store near the post office. To break into the safe, they poured nitroglycerine around the safe door (which they acquired through melting dynamite at their camp nearby) and added a coat of soap, together reacting and blowing the safe’s door clean off. Many recalled the safe afterwards looking as if it had been cut by a torch. The man’s efforts were not rewarded, as the money he had hoped to find was not in the Store but, actually in the safe above the CN station.”