In the beginning the flats at McLure in the North Thompson Valley were wintering grounds for some of the First Nations tribes who inhabited the North Thompson Valley.
Wrigley’s BC Directory for 1920 states that previous to 1900 all the land north of the 25 Mile stopping place, a facility run by Mrs. Struthers and her brother-in-law Bob Struthers, was known as Potter’s Flat named after Mr. Potter who claimed the pre-emption at the south end of a three mile flat lying between the mountains and the river. Mr. Potter died, and his wife married Edward Jones. By 1907 the Potter place was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Potter-Jones.
In 1909 the community was named after John McLure, who was an early rancher in the area, being born in 1831, and passed in 1907 .
Early post office records tell us that McLure is located 25 miles north of Kamloops on the North Thompson River.
The first post office in the area was established in 1914 and run by Arthur Connine. It was the called the Fishtrap Post office and was closed in 1916.
The glue that held the community together was the ferry, put into service by 1919, and the name McLure was formally established with a new post office. The post office was part of the ferryman’s job as it was situated in an addition to the house. Ferrymen were Richard Jones, George Brown Nathaniel Hammond, Art Genier.
In 1955 the post office was moved, and Mrs. Christison became postmaster.
Lloyd Smith was ferryman from 1957 to 1961 and other ferrymen have worked until the present day.
The reaction ferry is still in use today, an integral part of McLure’s history and current everyday life. In winter, ice bridges were made at the ferry landing when the weather allowed. The ice was tested for safety and then used as a crossing when it was hard enough. If the ice bridge was too soft the basket on a cable was used. Cars were also driven over it when the bridge was firm enough.
In the early years the only phone on the west side of the river was located at Gordon and Winnie Grants house. The first phone on the east side was installed at L. Sadlier-Brown’s in 1955.
In 1958 the process for getting electricity was started by BC Hydro. Each household paid a deposit and was responsible for digging a share of the post and anchor holes.
The highway was changed and paved from Heffley Creek to McLure in 1958.
The last CNR steam engine went through McLure in 1954 and was replaced by present day engines.
The population has gradually increased but it continues to be a farming and residential community.
Information and pictures compiled for this article by Donna Kibble and taken from The Barriere and District Heritage Society/North Thompson Museum history book “Exploring Our Roots”.
The Barriere and District Heritage Society operates the North Thompson Museum and Archives in Barriere, which reflects the life of native people and pioneering settlers, with displays of photos and artifacts, including a general store and one-room school at; 434 Lilley Rodd., open in July and August, or by appointment. For more information contact: Museum office at 250-672-5583, or Shirley Wittner at 250-672-5916.