An undated photograph of Barriere’s early years

An undated photograph of Barriere’s early years

Community groups helped form Barriere

Valley Voices from the past - Community groups helped form Barriere

Barriere is currently celebrating its 100th birthday during 2014.  Looking back in the towns history many elements come to the forefront that helped form the community into what it is today.

One such element is volunteerism.  Volunteering has always been a big part of life for those living in and around Barriere.  Here are some of the organizations that have played a part in the community’s history:

• Barriere not only used to have an airstrip, but it also had a Flying Club. In 1948, supplies of food and sandbags were flown in to help crews effecting repairs at the Allen Lake dam.  As a result of this use of an aircraft, interest in forming a flying club and developing an airstrip was generated. In the ensuing months, Harry Mayson and Ken Petersen worked at getting a lease on the land required from the provincial government, and work commenced on clearing, grading and fencing, the lease having been granted. The Barriere Flying Club had now been formed and registered under the Societies Act as a non-profit, recreational flying club with R.W. “Bob” Andrews as president, Harry Mayson, vice-president, Dave Sorley, secretary, and T.D. Mitchell, treasurer.

By the spring of 1949, about 14 students were enrolled,  and flying instructions under the direction of Peter Cornwallis had commenced.

In late 1949, the plane was equipped with skis for winter flying. In the summer of 1950, through the efforts of Norman Newberry, Henry Cooper and Walter Mackenzie, material and labour was made available to erect a hanger that included a small office and a club-room.

In June 1950, Ken Petersen was transfered to Williams Lake. Then at a later date, Harry Mayson was transfered to Chase and R.W. Andrews left the BC Power Commission in June of 1951. With no licensed pilots left in Barriere, the club decided to sell the plane but to keep the field in operation.

• The Royal Canadian Legion in Barriere was the 242nd branch to be installed in B.C. The first meetings of the original 46 members were held in the Native Sons Hall in Louis Creek, with guidance from Kamloops Branch 52, and the branch received their charter on Feb. 3, 1953.  Property was then purchased from Barriere resident Harry G. “Pappy” Yokum. A partially finished building was converted into the Legion premises with lumber donated by Fadear Creek Mill and Bert Cleavely’s Mill.

Many parties were held using piles of lumber for benches and planks for tables. With the community and Legion members putting in many volunteer hours, the meeting place was finished, and the new building opened in 1955.

• Also in 1955, they were joined by the formation of the Legion Ladies Auxiliary. The purpose of forming an auxiliary was to assist the branch members in their undertakings and to help in the community. In 1967 the Auxiliary became an open Auxiliary, which permitted more ladies to join, and activities increased accordingly.

• Before 1952, farm youth in B.C. and the rest of Canada were organized under the Canadian Council on Boys’ and Girls’ Club Work. In each province, club programs were directed by the provincial Department of Agriculture and local leaders. In 1948, B.C. had a total of 147 clubs with 1512 members. In 1952, these clubs became know as 4-H which was a worldwide movement.

• About 1941-42, a number of local youth from Darfield, Chinook Cove and Barriere areas were meeting with others in the lower North Thompson Beef Club.   In 1943, with Willie Watt as leader, the Barriere Beef Club was formed, and the 4-H meetings were held at different farms.

The 4H Achievement Day was the Fat Stock Show and Sale in Kamloops, and after 1950, also included the local North Thompson Fall Fair at Louis Creek and later Barriere.

• In the early 1950’s, the Boulder Mountain 4-H Dairy Club was formed with Lucille Gardiner as leader, followed by Howard Beharrell and others.

• A number of girls were members of a 4-H sewing club called Barriere Knotting Bells, which was led by Kitty Watt.

• In the late 1950’s a Barriere and District 4-H Lamb Club existed.

• It was approximately 1952 when the Squam Bay-Louis Creek 4-H Beef Club was formed and continued to about 1960.

• During the late 1950’s and 1960’s, Squam Bay and Brennan Creek had an active 4-H Sewing Club. During the time of these clubs, the members attended achievement days locally and in Kamloops.

The first meeting of the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association was called by Ernie Schmidt, member of the Chamber of Commerce, at the Chinook Cove Hall in the spring of 1950. The Native Sons grounds and hall in Louis Creek, were sold to this new organization later for $1,  and enthusiasm from Heffley Creek, Squam Bay, Darfield and Little Fort grew rapidly.  Many of these farmers and craft folk had exhibited for many years at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, and at Kamloops fairs. A big factor in the promotion of this idea was from the 4-H leaders, who wanted a local outlet for their club achievements.

The Native Sons Hall at Louis Creek burned down in the winter of 1956/57 and only 4-H achievements were held in 1957. The next year a new hall was built with the plan of using it as an agricultural display building for the crafts and vegetable exhibits during the fair. Ten years later it was moved in three sections to the association’s new home on East Barriere Lake Road.  Fadear Creek Lumber had exchanged properties with the fall fair association, as they needed the Louis Creek fairgrounds property for expansion of their log yard.

• Baseball was one sport that served to tie the peoples of the North Thompson together. At these games, family and friends of the players had the valued chance to meet with and talk to people from other communities, thus created bonds of friendship that might not have otherwise existed.

The ball diamond in Barriere at the time was situated where the elementary school is now located. If there weren’t enough young men from Barriere to form a team, the men would play for another community, often Louis Creek.

• In cold weather skating was enjoyed in back yards, on lakes, the river or wherever a sheet of ice could be found. During the 1950s young men from the communities of Little Fort, Barriere, Chu Chua and Louis Creek played in a hockey league. Barriere had a number of young fellows who enjoyed hockey on a rink situated where the Barriere library sits now. If they didn’t have the necessary equipment, the players improvised using newspapers tied around their shins and an old boot heel for the hockey puck.

Article compiled by Star/Journal staff. with excerpts from the book Exploring Our Roots.