New Westminster And Fraser Mill, 1911
In 1910, some of it was subdivided, but only the lots facing Austin Road were ever sold. The rest later passed into the hands of the District of Coquitlam for unpaid taxes, and eventually became a municipal park.6
Floods The Fraser, Pitt, and Coquitlam Rivers provide two major benefits: fish and natural transportation corridors. However, throughout Coquitlam’s history their periodic floods have also had a negative impact on the local economy and residents’ lives. The most famous examples are the Fraser floods of 1894 and 1948, but there have been many others. As local historian Chuck Davis points out, the 1894 flood was actually the greatest in the Fraser River’s recorded history, although its 1948 flood caused more property damage because there was more property to damage.7 People responded to these natural disasters by building an extensive system of dikes completed in 1896, although many improvements have been made since. Fraser Mills Furs, gold, and then … trees! The next natural resource to drive the economy of Coquitlam, and the rest of the Lower Mainland, was timber. The tallest first growth trees in the Lower Mainland were
up to 91 meters.8 The surviving stumps of these giants can still to be seen in many places in Coquitlam (e.g. Mundy Park). The abundance of timber soon attracted loggers and sawmills, of which the most important example in Coquitlam was Fraser Mills. This sawmill was in operation (with occasional shut downs) for 115 years, from 1890 to 2005.9 For many decades it was the largest private employer in Coquitlam. So we need to take a close look at its early history and the community that grew up beside it.
1886 to 1914
name, for the land now known as Mundy Park. He bought it as a speculation with no intention of farming, but hoped that the opening of the transcontinental railway would increase its value. He and his seven sons frequently walked from their home in Sapperton to work on this property. The family eventually sold the land around 1902.
In 1890 the firm of Ross, McLaren completed construction of a sawmill on the banks of the Fraser River, in what is now southwest Coquitlam, close to the New Westminster boundary. Its location was at the southern end of King Edward Street, near that street’s intersection with present day United Boulevard. This would be no ordinary sawmill. It was designed to supply wood products to foreign as well as local markets. The estimated production of the plant for a ten-hour shift was 200,000 board feet. The main building was 455 feet long by 72 feet wide and 45 feet high.10 The plant was connected to the CPR spur line from New Westminster to Westminster Junction (now Port Coquitlam), and a railway station, Millside, was built. It became the nucleus of a small company town created to accommodate the mill workers. The plant went into full operation. Sailing ships bound for Australia and South America loaded lumber. Houses were built in Millside. Then in 1893, the mill closed 33
Published on Mar 3, 2017