Rebuilding the road through Darfield in 1957, where the new passing lanes have just been constructed in 2018 on Highway 5.                                Bruno Schilling photo:

Rebuilding the road through Darfield in 1957, where the new passing lanes have just been constructed in 2018 on Highway 5. Bruno Schilling photo:

Valley Voices: Important dates in the history of the Lower North Thompson Valley

The following is a list of important dates in the history of the Lower North Thompson Valley as published by the website Learn Forestry, with photographs courtesy of the Barriere and District Heritage Society’s Exploring Our Roots History Book.

• 1810 – The Simpcw people had first contact with Europeans when the fur traders from the Pacific Fur Company arrived.

• 1826 -1843 Little Fort, fur trading post established and fur trade in decline by 1860.

• 1860 – Little Fort established as a Hudson Bay post, some gold was found in area creeks and rivers.

• 1862 – The Overlanders arrived in the vicinity of Chu Chua, they were near starvation and fed by the Indigenous people of the area. – Small pox decimated the North Thompson people.

• 1877 – Louis Creek was marked as the name of the creek on government maps.

• 1886 – Louis Creek had a post office and store on the north side of the creek.

• 1891 – The road was finished from Kamloops to Louis Creek.

• 1907 – Little Fort post office was opened and named Mt. Olie.

• 1908 – Little Fort school was built. • 1909 McLure was named after John Mc- Lure, an early rancher in the area.

• 1910 – Telephone services in Barriere at the Genier store and hotel (which was also their home). Telephone service also reached the area of Little Fort.

• 1912 – Crews arrived in the North Thompson to begin building the railway.

• 1913 – Telephone services in Chu Chua at the Fennell store. • 1914 – Barriere Valley School opened at the Forks. – Power plant on the Barriere River, which supplied Kamloops with economical electricity until it closed in 1950, operated only in the warmest months because the water in the flume and pipes froze (it did not supply power to the Barriere district). – The McLure post office was established. – Lumber company. – Forest fires.

• 1916 – Railway began operation in the North Thompson. – Barriere Powerhouse School (later renamed Floral Creek School in the 1920’s).

• 1919 – McLure ferry was the glue that held the community together, ice bridges were made at the ferry landing when the weather allowed, and often a basket on the cable was used if the ice was too soft.

• 1935 – Little Fort’s name officially changed from Mount Olie.

• 1939 – Little Fort Community Hall was constructed by volunteer labour.

• 1947 – Louis Creek, BC Electric agreed to supply power.

• 1948 – Barriere, BC Hydro power hook-up.

• 1955 – Little Fort, hydro was extended in December.

• 1958 – Chu Chua and McLure, power was distributed to these two areas. – The highway was changed and paved from Heffley Creek to McLure.

• 1964 – Squam Bay and Brennan Creek gets power.

• 1971 – Upper Fadear Creek gets power.

• 1972 – East Barriere gets power.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the area check out the North Thompson Museum and Archives in Barriere. The museum can be found at 434 Lilley Road, Barriere, and is open in July and August, or by appointment. The museum is operated by the Barriere and District Heritage Society who meet on the third Wednesday of the month, 1 p.m., during the winter at the Station House Restaurant, and during the summer at the North Thompson Museum. New members are welcome. For more information contact Shirley Wittner at 250-672-5916.

Article compiled by Donna Kibble. Sources: Learn Forestry, and Exploring Our Roots History Book published by the Barriere and District Heritage Society.