November 27, 2021

Grand Forks TV

video for Grand Forks BC

1910 – A Different World, A Different Grand Forks

While reviewing the June 2, 1910 edition of the Gazette I came across two items that point out how different the world was 106 years ago.

First: We live in a rural area of mountainous B.C. That means the major roads in and out of Grand Forks are highways: paved roads. But what were the roads like back in 1910?
There is a public notice regarding what is allowed on the roads.

With a view to the better preservation of the Public Highways the attention of the public is herewith directed to the provisions of “The Highway Traffic Regulations Act Amendment Act” which enacts as follows:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to cause to be drawn or driven on any of the public highway of that portion of the Province of British Columbia situate east of the Cascade range of Mountains, any wagon or other vehicle carrying a load in excess of that mentioned in Schedule A hereunto annexed:

Wagons and 4 wheeled Vehicles shall not carry a load in excess of the following;
On tires under 3 inches, 2000 lbs.;
on tires 3 inches in width and under four inches. 3000 Ibs.;
on tires 4 inches in width and under five inches, 6000 Ibs.;
on tires five inches in width and over, 6000 Ibs. and over.
And Notice is hereby given that the Act in every respect must be strictly complied with.
Any person guilty of an offence against this Act shall upon summary conviction thereof before a Justice of the Peace be liable to a penalty not exceeding Fifty Dollars.
Do not draw logs or timber over highways.
Vehicles meeting ought to turn to the left. A vehicle overtaken ought to turn to the left. A vehicle overtaking another ought to turn to the right.
Government Agent.
Grand Forks, May 31St, 1910. 45-46

It speaks of tires of 3, 4, 5 inches. What kind of vehicles would have those been?

Well by 1910 the Ford Model T was going in its 2nd year of production. It used a tire just over 4 inches wide. The Smithsonian says “A family’s house with a car in the driveway has been a common sight since about 1910.” The table on this page will explain why they say that. (It is for the USA so Canadian figure could be 10% or less)

In 1900, the start of the previous decade, there were 8000 cars registered in the whole USA. No trucks or buses yet – only cars. By 1910 there were 458,377 cars and 10,123 trucks. Buses don’t show up until 1925.

While I don’t know for sure I will guess that most of the roads outside town around here were gravel. And gravel roads are more vulnerable to overloaded, narrow wheeled, vehicles carving ruts in them especially during spring runoff and rainy weather.

One thing that puzzles me though: As a visitor from the 21st century I’d likely be a hazard on the road because if I was overtaking someone I’d pass on the left but the advice is to ‘turn to the right’. Which makes me wonder when did it change?

So how was Grand Forks different?

Look at the organs of government we have now. Our policing is done by the RCMP, a national police force. Our city may have lawyers on retainer but none in residence. The Post Office is part of a nationwide entity.

But back in 1910? Well back then the Gazette printed this:

Grand Forks Directory
City Council meets first and third Mondays in each month at 8 p.m.
Mayor Fred Clark.
Aldermen W. K. C. Manly; J. A. Smith; C. E. Wolfram; G. Rutherford; Dr. Follick and E. C. Henniger.
City clerk, etc. J. A. McCallum.
City solicitor A. C. Sutton.
Police magistrate W. B. Cochrane.
Chief of police A. E. Savage.
Coroner and Medical Health Officer Dr. C. M. Kingston.
Public School Board W. A. Cooper; G. H. Hull; D. McCallum; N. L. McInnes and J. W. Rutherford.
Board of Trade A. B. Hood, President; S. T. Hall, Secretary.
Farmers’ Institute A. D. Morrison, President; F. Clark, Secretary.
Postmaster–Geo. Hull.
Customs Office–R. R. Gilpin, Collector
Police and License Commissioners Mayor Clark, Ald. Manly and Robt. Gaw.
Gold commissioner and government agent S. R. Almond.
Member Provincial Assembly Ernest Miller, Grand Forks, B. C.
Member of Parliament Martin Burrell.
Dominion Immigration Inspector P. T. McCallum, Grand Forks.
Dominion Fruit Marks Inspector W. J. Cook, Grand Forks.

We no longer have our own police force. Nor a Gold commissioner, Dominion Immigration Inspector or Fruit Marks Inspector (as far as I know). We have no Customs Office or Farmer’s Institute. Yet the cost of local government and number of city employees is an item of contention. They don’t list a City Manager which would be their version of a CAO.

You can read more this strange bygone world in the record of the day on our Old Newspapers page.