The Historic Times of a Vancouver Community
In the summer of 1865, when Captain Edward Stamp began to organize the construction of a small sawmilling operation on the south shore of Burrard Inlet, he likely never realized that a future metropolis was in the making. The fledgling Stamp's Mill, later to become Hastings Mill, was Vancouver's first community-a townsite inhabited by an eclectic mix of colourful characters from widely diverse backgrounds. Life centered around the iconic Hastings Mill Store, where one came to obtain groceries, hardware, mail and the warmth of human interaction around an oil drum fire. Historic times aplenty unfolded at Hastings Mill. Here residents rallied to assist victims of the Great Vancouver Fire. Lumber cargo loads of legendary size and quality were shipped to markets near and far. Dominion Day festivities were celebrated in fine style on a sports field of mill sawdust. Indigenous occupants of the region engaged in mill employment and commerce. Chinook jargon was the widely spoken, multi-lingual trade language of the era. When time and local demographics ultimately spelled the death knoll for the sawmill and its weathered structures in 1930, an unlikely group of determined ladies rose to the challenge of saving the Hastings Mill Store, Vancouver's oldest building.
About this Author
LISA ANNE SMITH was born in Burnaby, B.C. She is a longtime education docent at the Museum of Vancouver and is a member of Native Daughters of B.C., owners and operators of the Old Hastings Mill Store Museum, Vancouver's oldest building. Her published books include Vancouver Is Ashes: The Great Fire of 1886 (2014), Our Friend Joe: The Joe Fortes Story (2012) and Travels with St. Roch: A Book for Kids (2001). Lisa lives in Vancouver, B.C., with her husband.
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