Fred Braches has compiled his columns that have told the story about Maple Ridge, through the pages of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News. Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS

Fred Braches has compiled his columns that have told the story about Maple Ridge, through the pages of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News. Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS

Maple Ridge historian saves columns in a book

Looking Back highlights 20 years of local stories

These days, it’s much easier to figure out what went on, back in the day, when pioneers were still carving out dirt roads and hewing huge trees, relying on horse power and steam engines to get work done.

Maple Ridge historian Fred Braches says thanks to the internet, it’s possible to look at records and see some of the actual documents that say conclusively what happened decades ago.

“Today, you can really dig into it and find out what the facts are,” Braches said. “The resources are so much larger.”

Braches has spent more than two decades researching and ferreting out the facts about the early days of Whonnock and Ruskin and bases his writings on the actual documents and records that he finds instead of relying on word of mouth or local legend.

“I can tell you, local history is so fickle. What people say as fact – is so much conjecture,” Braches said Thursday.

He recently self published a compilation of his contributions to the Looking Back columns that are regular features in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.

The book is appropriately titled, Whonnock and Ruskin: Looking Back and includes columns from 1999 to 2017.

Braches also publishes his columns and findings online via Whonnock Notes (whonnock.ca) and also wrote Searching for Pitt Lake Gold, published by Heritage House.

With a commitment to rigourous research (he cites a quote on the book’s back cover, “History isn’t a myth-making discipline, it’s a myth-busting discipline,”) Braches says it’s important that the City of Maple Ridge create an archives, a place where the public can go to pore through original documents, either from the community, or from the city itself, to ensure history is preserved.

“Maple Ridge needs an archives, not what they call and archives and museum, no, a real archives,” he said.

Many of Maple Ridge city’s documents are now stored in the Misssion Community Archives, he notes.

Looking Back is available at Black Bond Books in Valley Fair Mall in Maple Ridge. He plans to write more books.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Fred Braches has compiled his columns that have told the story about Maple Ridge, through the pages of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News. THE NEWS/files

Fred Braches has compiled his columns that have told the story about Maple Ridge, through the pages of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News. THE NEWS/files

Just Posted

The speculation and vacancy tax declaration must be filled out by the end of March. (The News files)
SVT declaration packages en route to homeowners in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

A penalty will apply to those, not exempted, who don’t pay by due date

COVID-19. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure at Westview in Maple Ridge

Third high school reporting virus in 2021

A vehicle incident is blocking the eastbound lanes on Lougheed Highway at Jim Robson Way in Maple Ridge on Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Google)
TRAFFIC: Lougheed Highway cleared in Maple Ridge, expect congestion

Earlier, eastbound lanes at Jim Robson Way were closed

CP Rail intends to create a logistics park with fuel and grain storage in Pitt Meadows. (Special to The News)
LETTER: CP’s history in Pitt Meadows does not bode well for the future

National rail company needs to be a better neighbour if it wants to expand operations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read