Looking Back: Post card reveals history

Interesting to read the words of someone who lived and worked more than 106 years ago

The newest addition at the Pitt Meadows Museum is a postcard that we already have multiple blank copies of and could easily acquire a few more from eBay if we so chose.

The postcard dates to the early part of the 20th Century, is colourized and shows a farm scene along the lowlands next to the Fraser River.

The south side of the river is far enough away to indicate it is not part of Barnston Island, but Surrey, thus leading us to believe the Pitt Meadows side is near the bottom of Bonson Road to the west of Katzie.

But this is just an educated guess.

In the upper left corner of the card, imprinted in red is “Pitt Meadows, on the Fraser River, B.C.  Love photo.”

Now, this is where the donation gets interesting. This post card is not a blank. It was sent by Thomas Blackmun from Vancouver to his parents in Sussex, England on Dec. 5th 1909.

According to the donor, a member of this museum society and a descendent of Blackmun, he had come to Canada to join his brother James in search of work and found some for a short period in Pitt Meadows.

Blackmun wrote in the body of the card:  “Dear Dad, how do you like this place? I am working in a grocery store right close to the Fraser River …”

Could this be the grocery store that was in the building that now houses the museum? We do not know of any other stores in the community at that time and the population was less than 200, certainly would not have supported one.

For those who are unaware, the history of the building the museum occupies is that it was a general store and the first post office in Pitt Meadows, opening in January 1908 at its present site. However, the story of the building is that it was dragged by horses to the site shortly before it opened and that it was originally on a site at the south end of Herring Road.

Herring Road disappeared under the Pitt Meadows airport when construction began in the early 1960s, but its south end would have been very close to the Fraser River.

When we first saw the postcard and could not read the year in the cancellation stamp, we thought Blackmun may have been employed at the store on Herring Road. But a scan of card revealed the date and we now realize he may have been working in the store at its newer site on Harris Road. If this is the case, it is the second postcard we have received in less than a year that relates to activity at this old building and that is very exciting indeed.

Even if it is not the case, it is still interesting to read the words of someone who lived and worked, even if for a short period of time, in this community and, perhaps, this building more than 106 years ago.

Leslie Norman, curator at Pitt Meadows Museum and Archives.

 

 

 

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