Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1924
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1924

Tragedy struck in May when the Cranbrook sawmill burned down. Operating five miles west of the city, the plant had been particularly successful with production uninterrupted for eleven months straight. It had been closed down for one month for repairs and the day operations resumed, fire struck. The owners believed the cause was a hot journal under the planer. Although a fireman was within thirty feet of the blaze with a full crew and ample water and pressure, it was not possible to fight back the flames. The mill was gone in twenty minutes. This was a heavy loss not just for the owners, but for the local economy. The Cranbrook mill had been described as ┐the best industrial asset the city of Prince George had, aside from the railway.┐ All of the season┐s cut of lumber was spared and the owners vowed to rebuild.

Prince George had two movie houses, both located on George Street across from each other. The Dreamland was on the east side and the Rex sat facing it on the west. The theatres showed silent films on their silver screens. The films were shipped here from Hollywood in canisters, each accompanied by a cue sheet to indicate where music would be played. Words explaining the action appeared along the bottom of the screen and the story was enhanced by piano music played from the orchestra pit under centre-stage. The pianist would have to look up to see the action and then play music at the right time and according to the speed required. Song standards like ┐Let Me Call You Sweetheart┐ or a Strauss waltz were typical ┐ sometimes a march was needed for a parade scene. Regularly sold-out houses were attracted to watch stars like Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Tom Mix and Mary Pickford.

City Council focussed on safety by supporting the cost of installing a ┐silent policeman.┐ This inanimate object was a four-foot high sign embedded in an 18-inch block of cement. The sign had an electric light that was meant to function as a traffic regulator. Since the ┐traffic┐ downtown in 1924 was mainly horse-drawn, the need for such a contraption is puzzling.

A new highway from Prince George to Quesnel was opened. The route, built east of the Fraser River, opened up new land areas for settlement and provided a more scenic direction to travel.


Photographic History of Prince George
| Milltown to Downtown | Settlers' Effects |

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