December 28, 2016
January 8, 2017
Illecillewaet on the Illecillewaet (fast flowing) River eight miles west of Rogers Pass was established principally to convert local timber into ties, trestle timbers and structural lumber. Note the sawmill under construction at extreme left and the operating sawmill in the centre of the photograph at a distance. The row of false-fronted places of business on the right, connected by a wooden sidewalk, probably were originally constructed at end of track construction camps farther east, then disassemble and moved as the track advanced westward.
Illecillewaet in 1885. The two-story building fifth from the right was called the Pacific Hotel. Downstairs would have been the bar and meal accommodation while upstairs would have had rooms for overnight lodging for traveller and other activities. City of Vancouver Archives, Public Domain.
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Subsequently, Illecillewaet became a mining town, a number of veins of lead containing silver (argentiferous galena) having been discovered. When A. O Wheeler passed through in 1905 none of the mines were being worked, with the exception of a single shaft immediately to the east of the village high up on the mountain side. A very steep trail led up to the mine and was used to take ore out, packed on men’s backs, to a point where it could be loaded on pack animals. Wheeler surmised that the amount of ore extracted was probably little more than required to perform the assessment work necessary to hold the claim until a better market could be found for the product.