Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1909
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1909

The earliest means of travel on land throughout the district was on foot or on horseback, through a network of trails. It is estimated that the first trail system was altogether a hundred miles in length. Routes through dense bush were difficult to navigate on horseback, and it was not possible to work up much speed on such paths. Later, wagons and sleighs were hitched to horses for ground transportation. The swiftest mode of travel was in dugout canoes along the rivers.


John Houston, former mayor and MLA from Nelson, B.C. arrived in Fort George to establish his printing business. He set up a printing press in a canvas-covered shack and began publishing the Fort George Tribune. His newspaper was published weekly on Saturdays and distributed throughout the town and the outlying region. That November, he used the paper as a platform to begin a campaign to get a line strung to bring telephone and telegraph service to Fort George. The nearest the line came was sixty miles away at Blackwater. Houston proposed that the line could be strung from there, or alternatively from Fort Fraser along 100 miles of the Stoney Creek trail. He calculated that the total cost would be about $5,000 based on $50 a mile. The extension was strung from Blackwater, under an agreement with the Alberta Telephone and Electric Company Limited. That company eventually operated the first telephone service in Fort George. Later, the railway telegraph system replaced the line.


A few general stores were established in 1909. One was the William Blair and Company general store. The South Fort George location was his third, after Quesnel and Barkerville. Eventually, the store was managed by William Kennedy and the company name later changed to Kennedy, Blair and Company. Adjacent businesses were Clark┐s Sawmill and the printing office of the Tribune newspaper. Just up the street, Frank Hoferkamp operated a barber shop and A. G. Hamilton owned a general store offering dry goods, provisions, clothing, boots, shoes and hardware. The stock was similar to that offered by the William Blair and Company store.


What did not exist in 1909 was clearly listed in the second edition of the Tribune: "There are no bakeries, laundries, milliners, tailors, blacksmiths, tinners, carpenters, stenographers, lawyers, doctors, preachers, constables or school teachers at Fort George."



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