To mark and commemorate the lost town of Blakeburn, there is now a sign near where the company store and post office was once located.
It’s been 73 years since the power was turned off in Blakeburn and everybody moved away. With the ravages of time there is almost nothing left on the site and it is completely overgrown. Some people thought that was a shame. Bert Rice suggested at one of the Coalmont Community Association meetings that we should erect a sign. Everyone agreed, and the wheels were set in motion.
It turned out to be a project involving a number of people. I designed the graphic. Sharon and James McCulloch got the actual sign made (see previous story) and paid for it out of their own money. Chris Goodfellow then bought lumber and built the structure. That’s when his father, Eric Goodfellow saw the project and was thrilled that the place where he used to go as a kid was finally being honoured. The Goodfellows go back a long way in this area. (See Goodfellow Creek.) Eric then offered to procure a metal cap to finish off the top of the sign. To further show his appreciation he also donated $100 to the Community Association. He then went to the Tin Man where Fred Robbins made the generous gesture of doing the work for free since he too thought it was a good cause.
This morning a small party consisting of myself, Chris and Penny Goodfellow, and Eileen Walsh, went up Blakeburn Road, turned left onto Arrasta Creek Forest Service Road and stopped at the original site of the Blakeburn store and post office. Waiting for us there was Bert Rice with his mini excavator on its trailer. Bert is clearly an artist with that machine. It didn’t take long for him to clear a spot, dig the holes, and arrange some rocks to make the place look nice. Now there is finally a marker for this unique little mining town of Blakeburn. People who travel up that way to explore or pay homage to the history will no longer come back saying they couldn’t find it.
Left to right: Bert Rice, Chris and Penny Goodfellow, Eileen Walsh.
Some may wonder about the dates on the sign. It is not clear exactly when the site really became the town of Blakeburn since it happened gradually at first. What is clear is when the name became official. That was August 1, 1922 when the post office opened. The post office continued until it was officially closed on June 15, 1940. Although the last shift at the mine already finished on April 8, it was the day after that the last sigh of a once proud mine was heard. On April 9 the steam power plant was turned off and the company whistle sounded for a very long time until all the steam was gone. That was really the end. ~ Ole Juul
Bert Rice Mini Excavator 250-295-6218 ~ Custom work available on short notice.
The Tin Man Metal Roofing 250-295-3743 ~ Metal roofing sales and installation.