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Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

North Vancouver Museum and Archives

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Introduction:

The lost sawmill community of Moodyville was the first significant non-Native settlement on Burrard Inlet, now the harbour of Vancouver. Surrounded by lush forest, it had easy access to seemingly never-ending supplies of raw material. The townsite was named after Sewell Prescott Moody, a dynamic entrepreneur originally from the United States who turned the mill into a success story. It soon became one of the biggest exporters in the new province of British Columbia, and the community achieved many firsts in the region, including the first wedding, school and electric lights. By the early 1890s, however, voracious logging and a worldwide depression had depleted its trees and fortunes. The mill closed in 1901 and the City of North Vancouver gradually absorbed the site. Curiously, almost no physical traces have survived -- no buildings or landmarks, and only a few artifacts and photographs remain.


MP130
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Carte géographique
Le port de Vancouver
Vancouver Harbour Commissioners
1932, 20e siècle
41 x 147 cm
MP130
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Moodyville was located on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, a large, deep-water harbour on the south end of Canada's Pacific coastline. The City of Vancouver and its suburbs eventually grew around this body of water. In the 1860s, entrepreneurs established the first mill at the spot later named Moodyville. It was the first significant non-Native community on the inlet. Although the mill shut down at the turn of the last century and the City of North Vancouver had officially annexed the site by 1925, its existence was still noted on this map published in 1932. This is proof of the community's importance to the early history of Burrard Inlet, although all traces of the town disappeared with later development. If you zoom in, you will find Moodyville located just underneath the large pink territory marked on the north shore.

Quoi:

This early map of Burrard Inlet refers to Moodyville, although the community was no longer in existence at the time of publication.

Où:

Burrard Inlet is located on the mainland at the southern end of British Columbia's Pacific coastline. Zoom in to find Moodyville (pink area) on the north shore.

Quand:

This map is a 1932 edition, titled Vancouver Harbour. It shows depth soundings and marks industrial sites along the 98 miles (158 km) of shoreline.

Qui:

This map was published by the Vancouver Harbour Commissioners, who were responsible to the federal government for the operation of the port.

CVAMiP52N56
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Photographie
Chargement de bois à bord des bateaux à Moodyville
1888-1890, 19e siècle
12 x 17 cm
CVAMiP52N56
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

In its heyday, the mill at Moodyville was a huge commercial success. During the second half of the 19th century, the company pioneered lumber sales to overseas markets. British Columbia's wood was internationally famous for its size and lack of knots; massive cedar beams ended up in the ceilings of the Imperial Palace in Beijing, China. Ships from as far away as Australia, China, South America and Europe would dock at Moodyville to take on cargoes of milled fir. For the first two decades after British Columbia entered Confederation in 1871, the mill was the largest single source of export revenue in the province. In 1888, for example, it shipped out 30 million board feet or 70,800 m3 of lumber (one board foot measures 12 x 12 x 1 inches [0.00236 m3].) of lumber. Yet it was always a tiny community. At the time, the two major regional hubs were New Westminster, located on the Fraser River, and Victoria at the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Quoi:

Four sailing ships load lumber in this photo of the Moodyville docks. Note the piles of pickets ready for loading.

Où:

The docking facilities at the Moodyville mill could accommodate the largest vessels in safe anchorage. Fresh water from nearby Lynn Creek helped loosen marine growth such as barnacles from hulls.

Quand:

This photo was taken sometime after August of 1888 and before November of 1889. During this time, the mill was shipping some 30 million board feet (70,800 m3) of lumber annually.

Qui:

Moodyville locals serviced marine vessels, with a rigging loft available for mast and sail work. The mill provided superior wood-handling and machining equipment.

6604
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
Moodyville Sawmill Co.
1882-1900, 19e siècle
19 x 24 cm
Don de Mr. Brian Kelly
6604
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

The lands and mills of what became Moodyville were bought and sold for 40 years. In 1863 T. W. Graham and George Scrimgeour pre-empted 480 acres (194 ha) of Crown land and established Pioneer Mills, the first sawmill at the site. (Pre-emption was a process that allowed pioneers to apply to the provincial government to claim, settle and eventually buy or be given Crown land.) The next year, J. O. Smith bought the struggling business, renamed it Burrard Inlet Mills and sent out the first international cargo. Sewell Prescott Moody (1834-1875) and two partners bought out the near-bankrupt undertaking cheaply in January 1865, changed the name to Burrard Inlet Lumber Mills and made it a success. In 1866 Moody took on new partners George Dietz (1830-84) and Hugh Nelson (1830-93). After a fire, he rebuilt the second mill as a 330-foot (100 m) structure capable of producing 100,000 board feet (236 m3) of lumber per day. The complex was named the Moodyville Sawmill Company by the early 1870s. The mill and town were actually built on pilings, with dumped ship's ballast and sawdust making up the reclaimed land underfoot.

Quoi:

A barque loads through her bow ports at the Moodyville mill. Many residences belonging to community members can be seen in the background.

Où:

The busy waterfront was a centre of activity. Zoom in to see a Native canoe and men on a scow unloading hay for horses in the logging camps.

Quand:

This photo was taken sometime after 1882, when Moodyville was already well established.

Qui:

Houses visible in the background belonged to people such as mill owner Sewell Moody, cook Philip Sullivan, and engineer and machinist James Lockhart.

CVAMiP51Ni46.3
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
La rive nord à une époque lointaine
1898, 19e siècle
24 x 103 cm
CVAMiP51Ni46.3
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

The heavily forested slopes of Burrard Inlet's north shore had initially seemed impossible to exhaust. However, by the end of the 19th century, the area had been heavily logged and the mill felt the cost of bringing in wood from sources farther away. This photo was taken only three years before Moodyville's demise. At the time, activity on the north shore was concentrated in two areas. The Moodyville mill is on the right, and farther to the left you can see the single spire of St. Paul's Church, built on the Mission Indian Reserve in 1884. Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish Native people had lived around the inlet, or come there to fish and gather clams, for millennia. They moved into more permanent settlements when many of the men took jobs in the sawmills. Native men made up a significant proportion -- about one third -- of Moodyville's mill workers.

Quoi:

This view of Burrard Inlet's north shore shows extensive logging and two tiny communities. A Squamish village and Moodyville were the only settlements on the shore at that time.

Où:

Taken from the water, this view resembles what Capt. George Vancouver, the first European explorer to enter Burrard Inlet in 1792, would have seen.

Quand:

This photo was taken in 1898. One decade later, the entire area had metamorphosed into the nascent city of North Vancouver.

Qui:

The men who invested in Burrard Inlet's first lumber mills were usually involved a variety of business ventures, such as provisioning and mining.

63
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
Bûcherons coupant un sapin
20e siècle
14 x 8 cm
63
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

The legendary massive Douglas firs of Burrard Inlet were often featured on postcards such as this one. Trees hundreds of years old, almost a hundred metres tall, and up to 20 feet (6 m) in diameter were recorded, although hard to imagine today. In this image, you can see some of the hand tools used by loggers to cut down these giants: a crosscut saw, a long-handled axe and springboards. Loggers had to find ways to cut trees that were easily as wide as their eight- or nine-foot (2.7-m) saws. This sometimes required sawing from various angles, complicating the issue of felling the trees in a specific direction. By the 1880s, crosscut saws -- also called "Swedish fiddles" -- had sets of four cutting teeth interspersed with rakers to pull out the sawdust. To clean the sticky pitch off the saws, loggers carried whisky jugs filled with kerosene.

Quoi:

This early postcard was titled "Taking it Easy" and is signed Smith Photo. The diameter of the tree is marked at eight feet six inches (2.6 m).

Où:

This picture was likely taken on the north shore of Burrard Inlet. The giant trees were cause for amazement to locals and foreigners alike.

Quand:

The photo was likely taken in the late 1800s, when loggers were commonly working in the area.

Qui:

The photographer behind Smith Photo probably recognized that he could turn a good shot into a money-making postcard.

000.20.48
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Hache
1950, 20e siècle
86 cm
Don de Mrs. Margaret Morgan
000.20.48
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

To cut down the massive trees, loggers used only simple hand tools and followed a specific procedure. First, they wedged springboards into notches cut into the wide base section. While standing on these, they sawed into the tree on the side towards which it was intended to fall, creating an undercut. Using axes, they would widen this cut from above into a semicircular notch. They continued sawing and chopping in the same fashion from the opposite side, but at a slightly higher level, until the tree toppled over of its own accord. To prevent a tree's weight from squeezing the saw, the loggers would insert narrow wedges while cutting. The double-bitted axe, seen here, was a North American innovation that appeared in the 1870s. It spared loggers from having to carry two axes into the bush instead of one. Handles were especially long on the West Coast because the trees were so huge.

Quoi:

The double-bitted axe had two cutting blades, doubling its usefulness. This one had a 4.5-pound (2-kg) head mounted on a 42-inch (1.1-m) hickory handle.

Où:

Double-bitted axes were a classic product of Yankee ingenuity that spread to Canada's West Coast. They became standard tools for loggers working on the north shore.

Quand:

Double-bitted axes began to appear in logging-tool catalogues published in the eastern United States as of about 1875.

Qui:

Canadian loggers working on the West Coast likely purchased the factory-made axes, which were shipped in bulk to logging areas.

A.92.1
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Échafaudage d'abbatage
1925, 20e siècle
14 x 5 x 122 cm
Don de W. J. Baker
A.92.1
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

West Coast loggers adapted tools and invented new techniques to fell the area's giant trees. Springboards were an innovation that allowed loggers to more easily fell trees with a flared base, such as firs. Notches were cut into the tree above the base; the logger then wedged in the springboard, on which he stood to chop and saw the tree down. The springboards had a steel tip with a lip that was bolted to the end of the board. The steel provided a good grip on the tree, while the board itself had a level, springy surface from which to work. Loggers made only one clear concession to safety in the slippery wetness of the rainforest: hobnailed boots to prevent slipping off their springboards. Hardhats and steel-toed boots did not exist at the time. Today you can still find huge stumps with springboard notches in North Vancouver.

Quoi:

This springboard was used on the north shore. Note its chewed-up surface, caused by the logger's hobnailed boots.

Où:

Springboards such as this were likely made locally, since they were tools specific to the region. Any local blacksmith could have made the wrought-iron hooks.

Quand:

This springboard is from the early part of the 20th century; they were still in use until at least the 1930s, when chainsaws started to appear.

Qui:

Loggers, who usually worked in pairs, included logging-camp staff as well as independent hand-loggers who supplied the region's several mills.

9233
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
Moodyville
Vers 1865, 19e siècle
16 x 24 cm
Don de Mr. Don Steele
9233
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

When Sewell Moody (1834-1875) arrived on Burrard Inlet, trees were still so plentiful that they could be felled directly into the water and floated to the mills. The waterway of Burrard Inlet, too, was an almost perfect natural harbour for sailing ships. Sometimes up to six or seven vessels loaded at once at the Moodyville docks. According to historian Derek Pethick, the captain of the British ship Jeddo wrote the following description to his company's agent in about 1866:

"This is, without exception, one of the finest harbours I ever saw. It is locked in all round with high lands, covered with trees 300 feet [91 m] high, so that no wind or sea can hurt ships, and very easy of access for the largest ships afloat, and good anchorage. It is, likewise, a good place for loading. The ships can moor head and stern about half a cable's length (92 m) from the mills in six fathoms (11 m) of water."

Quoi:

This image illustrates the ideal location of the Moodyville mill. Burrard Inlet allowed water access, and the slope made it easier to pull logs to the mill along skids.

Où:

This photo looks east toward the mill and up Burrard Inlet, one of the world's largest natural harbours.

Quand:

This photo was taken after 1864. Sewell Moody had recognized the area's potential when he purchased the mill in 1865.

Qui:

Sewell Moody and his partners secured many large timber leases to guarantee wood supply and set up logging camps to ensure the success of the mill.

BCARSA0351
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Photographie
Sewell Prescott Moody
Vers 1870, 19e siècle
17 x 12 cm
BCARSA0351
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

A man of intense vision and energy, Sewell "Sue" Moody (1834-1875) developed to its fullest potential the Burrard Inlet sawmill he bought "practically for a song." He invested in the newest technology and made a point of bringing "civilization" to his community in the wilderness. Originally a timber cruiser and estimator from the state of Maine, Moody made a point of getting along with ethnically diverse inhabitants while notably forbidding gambling and alcohol. He married Janet Watson in July 1869; she and their two children lived in Victoria. Unfortunately, he died in a shipwreck at about 40 years of age while on a business trip. The steamer Pacific, on its way to San Francisco in 1875, struck another vessel in a violent storm off Cape Flattery and sank. Sewell was not one of the two survivors; oddly, a plank with his signature and the words "all lost" washed up weeks later on a beach near his Victoria home.

Quoi:

This is a portrait of Sewell Prescott Moody, Moodyville's namesake. Tall, dark and slim, he was also known locally as the tyee, which means chief.

Où:

Moody spent much of his time on the road, travelling up and down the British Columbia coast to order supplies and arrange charters for lumber and spars.

Quand:

This portrait dates from circa 1870 and was taken by B. F. Howland & Co.

Qui:

The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized Sewell Prescott Moody as a person of national historical significance in 1988.

265
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Gravure
Scierie Moody, Dietz and Nelson
1872, 19e siècle
17 x 23 cm
265
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

In the late 19th century, popular magazines often celebrated the promise of industry. This engraving shows a somewhat glorified view of the Moodyville mill, based on a photograph. The picture would have come across to the public as a vision of progress rather than as a document of the rape of the forest, as we might interpret it today. At the time, Canadian society held imperialistic, colonial attitudes. Making the most of natural resources in the motherland's far-flung territories was the proper thing to do. Today's attitudes and environmental consciousness are, of course, very different. This image shows mill details, such as the flume bringing water down the mountain to the boilers to run the mill's steam-driven saws (zoom in on the checkered-like line, two thirds of the way up on the left). You can also see how raw logs floated to the site were pulled up a chute and into the mill.

Quoi:

This engraving, based on a photograph, was published in the Canadian Illustrated News, which was Canada's first national magazine.

Où:

Canadian Illustrated News was published out of Montreal.

Quand:

This image is from the June 22, 1872, issue of the Canadian Illustrated News. The magazine was published from October 30, 1869 to 1883.

Qui:

David Withrow, a cabinetmaker and the first photographer on Burrard Inlet, took the photo on glass plate from which this engraving was made.

1459
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
Bateaux à la Moodyville Milling Co.
1897, 19e siècle
11 x 16 cm
1459
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

In December of 1873, a fire destroyed the main Moodyville mill. Sewell Moody (1834-1875) rebuilt it in 1874 as a colossal, 330-foot (100 m) complex capable of producing 100,000 board feet (236 m3) per day. The length of the building allowed for the greatest possible length of cut for the planks. It also accommodated a planing machine, lath-splitting machine and a lathe capable of turning shafts and cylinders for the mill. In this photo, you can see dormer windows above an extension, which contained the planing shop and lumber storeroom. Visible at the dock is the tugboat SS Lorne, which towed any vessel for pay, including the lumber ships in Burrard Inlet. Originally commissioned by local coal barons James Dunsmuir (1851-1920) and his brother, Alexander, she was the biggest, strongest and most expensive tugboat in the area. After a long coastal work history, she ended up as a barge.

Quoi:

This photo shows the enormous dimensions of the large, steam-powered mill envisioned and rebuilt by Sewell Moody. The tugboat SS Lorne is docked alongside.

Où:

The SS Lorne, a steam tug, assisted sailing ships to and from loading ports. It worked up and down the cost, towing for anyone willing to pay.

Quand:

This photo was taken in 1897, when the international lumber industry, including Burrard Inlet, was suffering from the effects of a worldwide depression.

Qui:

The SS Lorne was named after an early governor general of Canada, the Marquess of Lorne (1845-1914), who served from 1878 to 1883 and facilitated British Columbia's entry into Confederation.

CVAMAPP101N62
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Carte géographique
Plans pour l''assurance contre l'incendie
1889, 19e siècle
12 x 17 cm
CVAMAPP101N62
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

In 19th-century North America, a devastating fire was a major threat to any city. Fire insurance maps were one of the main measures taken to assess the risks and costs. They were usually drawn on a large scale and included detail about building materials and the use of the property and structures. Often, accompanying notes would provide insight into social life. This fire map is invaluable for the details it provides about the layout and composition of the Moodyville sawmill and community. It marks the location of groups of Chinese residences, or "rookeries," indicates numerous shanties scattered across the slope above the townsite and names the mill's various outbuildings. Notes at the bottom tell that the mill at this time was "not tidy"; employed 160 men, 36 of whom were Chinese; used electricity and dogfish-oil torches; and often ran all night.

Quoi:

This fire insurance map focuses on details of the mill site that could indicate fire risk. Zoom in on the note "Slabs & sawdust. Fire!" in the upper left.

Où:

Besides Moodyville, this map depicted two other mills in the region: G. Cassady & Co. mill in False Creek and the Royal City Planing Mills in New Westminster.

Quand:

This map was drawn up in 1889, when the Moodyville mill was in high production.

Qui:

This map was produced through a local association of fire insurance underwriters.

CVAMiP2N26
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Photographie
Débardeurs à Moodyville
1870-1900, 19e siècle
12 x 17 cm
CVAMiP2N26
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

This group of Native longshoremen posing on the Moodyville docks with a Kanaka laundryman and boy gives some insight into the town's amazing ethnic diversity. A population of about 400, made up of mill workers, longshoremen, logging-camp workers and their families, also included Africans, Chileans, Chinese, Americans, English, Irish, Scots, Swedes and Norwegians. One planked street was called Kanaka Row, and the Chinese lived in groups of shanties known as rookeries. While equality for minorities and women did not exist in British Columbia at the time, mill owner Sewell Prescott Moody made a point of getting along with everybody. The longshoremen in this photo appear rather proud of their strength and profession. In the background, the incredible complexity of the sailing ships' rigging is plainly visible.

Quoi:

Squamish Native longshoremen and a Kanaka laundryman and boy pose in front of sailing ships on the Moodyville dock.

Où:

Native settlements expanded on Burrard Inlet, since much of the heavy labour in the lumberyards or for loading ships was done by local First Nations people.

Quand:

This photo was taken in 1889. The presence of Native people on Burrard Inlet increased as work became available, starting in the 1870s. Their settlements became permanent when the Dominion government introduced the reserve system in the 1880s.

Qui:

Mill owner Sewell Moody made deals with local Native chiefs. He would supply tools and the promise of a cash market for logs, while they persuaded their men to go logging.

978.78.3
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Bouteille
1885, 19e siècle
Verre
28 x 10 cm
Don de Mrs. I.E. Anderson
978.78.3
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Although Sewell Moody (1834-1875) famously forbade drinking in his mill town during his lifetime, plenty of booze bottles have been found at the site. His Yankee practicality and work experience likely led him to realize that alcohol and machinery did not mix, and that drinking could be a detriment to productivity. He may also have been influenced by North America's temperance movement, which sought to reduce social evils by advocating total or partial abstinence from drinking alcohol. This attitude does not appear to have lasted; a visitor in the late 1880s noted that the Moodyville Hotel served fine spirits. This green glass case gin bottle was excavated from the town's former dump in 1972, which is littered to this day with pieces of such bottles. Striations on the bottle show that it was made in a wooden mould.

Quoi:

Holland case gin was regularly imported to Canada's West Coast from Rotterdam, Holland. Gin was a real workingman's drink. The four-sided bottle was designed to fit into a case of 12.

Où:

At the time, Rotterdam had 300 distilleries exporting around the world. Gin was made from grain and flavoured with juniper berries.

Quand:

The bottle dates from about 1885 or 1890. Moodyville workers may have drunk gin to ease muscle strains and the dullness of their repetitive jobs.

Qui:

After Sewell Moody's death, Moodyville's men argued that it was better to have one drink at home every night than to go on weekend benders across the inlet in Vancouver.

CVAPORTP449.IN278
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Photographie
Mme Murray Thain de Moodyville
1886, 19e siècle
17 x 12 cm
CVAPORTP449.IN278
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Margaret Thain became Moodyville's second schoolteacher in 1872. Although the town was informally known as Moody's Mill at the time, it did not have an official name. Not wanting to live in a nameless place, she is credited with suggesting Moodyville. The name was soon officially adopted, and the mill was eventually renamed the Moodyville Sawmill Company. Thain held teaching qualifications from Britain and had been called in to improve the educational situation of the community's children. Conditions were far from ideal. Two years later, John Jessop (1829-1901), British Columbia's first superintendent of schools, reported:

"In addition to want of room, the continual smoke from burning of sawmill refuse just under the door and windows of the school room has necessitated dismissal at noon almost every day for several weeks. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the school has made progress, and is well and efficiently conducted by Mrs. M. Thain."

Quoi:

Margaret Thain, Moodyville's second schoolteacher, was married to Burrard Inlet's first harbour master, Murray Thain.

Où:

Margaret Thain and her husband migrated to the West Coast from the province of New Brunswick.

Quand:

Margaret Thain and her husband came to British Columbia in 1859 and to Burrard Inlet in 1865. Murray Thain was appointed harbour master in 1886.

Qui:

Margaret Ann Thain, née Harbell, was a community-minded person who played a prominent role in Moodyville's social life.

A.90.1a-c
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Robe
1890, 19e siècle
Soie
Don de Alderman Stella Jo Dean
A.90.1a-c
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Although Moodyville was Burrard Inlet's most developed community in the late 1800s, few women lived there. Some married couples had arrived, and the first wedding on the inlet took place there as early as 1868. However, it was some time before enough women to go around had arrived from England or eastern North America. Immigrant men had liaisons with Native women that often produced children. Sewell Moody was known to have had an "Indian wife" and family. Sometimes these relationships lasted, sometimes not. If the men later married white women, they abandoned their wives of convenience, who would return to their families. According to one account, an early hand-logger could "buy" a Native woman companion to cook for him for $50. All she would cost was her keep, and he could leave or sell her at any time, provided the buyer agreed to again pay her father or nearest relation.

Quoi:

This black silk dress is reputed to have belonged to Moodyville schoolteacher Margaret Thain. It was likely her best dress.

Où:

This dress would have been worn to church services and receptions. Black was an appropriate colour for various functions at the time.

Quand:

This machine-sewn and hand-finished dress is typically mid-Edwardian in style, with a stock collar, puffed sleeves, surplice bodice and pouter-pigeon chest. It dates from between 1904 and 1908.

Qui:

The size and length of the dress indicate that its wearer was unusually tall. She would have worn three petticoats and various undergarments, including a corset, beneath it.

994.71.1a-b
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Tablier
1901, 20e siècle
31 x 34 cm
Don du Mount Hermon Lodge No.7
994.71.1a-b
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

The Freemasons, an international fraternity for mutual help and fellowship with elaborate secret rituals, were active throughout North America in the late 1800s and arrived early at Moodyville. Given the difficulty of travelling in the undeveloped region, the town's most prominent men decided to create their own Freemason lodge rather than make rare forays to New Westminster. The name chosen was the Mount Hermon Lodge, which exists to this day in Vancouver. Josiah Hughes was the first worshipful master, Coote Chambers the first secretary, and mill owner Sewell Moody (1834-1875) was satisfied with the minor office of inner guard. Since almost all prospective members were connected with the mill, the lodge was built directly north of it. It was inaugurated with 17 members. The building also functioned as a community hall, containing the Mechanics' Institute with a library as well as a cabinet of curiosities. Christian church services were also held there.

Quoi:

This turn-of-the-last-century apron was part of the secret regalia and rites of Freemasons active at Moodyville.

Où:

Started in Moodyville, the Mount Hermon Lodge moved to Vancouver in 1886, becoming one of the premier lodges in British Columbia.

Quand:

The provincial grand master consecrated the lodge and installed its officers in January of 1869.

Qui:

This apron was worn by an undisclosed member of the Mount Hermon Lodge. Often members chose to be buried with their regalia.

884
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
L'hôtel de Moodyville
1900, 20e siècle
12 x 17 cm
884
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Established in 1882, the Moodyville Hotel was a two-storey wood-frame building with a wraparound balcony that accommodated visiting sailors and new migrants. According to an 1888 issue of the San Francisco Journal of Commerce, it deserved the following special mention:

"The excellent manager, Capt. Power, fills a difficult position with credit to himself, with great satisfaction to the company, and in a manner to win unbounded popularity with the mixed company surrounding him ... The company do [sic] not "run" this hotel there for what it can make of it, but simply to supply a want. The hotel is well furnished and well appointed and the cook is all that can be desired. Capt. Power, moreover, sees to it that his guests are made to feel contented in a manner that only a genial man of the world, who himself knows "what's what," can do."

Quoi:

This photo of the Moodyville Hotel shows that it was a well-run establishment for a frontier town. Note the bottles visible through the window.

Où:

The hotel was built next to the mill on pilings sunk into three feet (a metre) of sawdust infill, like much of the rest of the community.

Quand:

This photo is from 1900. The hotel continued to operate long after the Moodyville mill closed in 1901.

Qui:

Initial hotel proprietor William Power had been active in the gold rush. A land investor, he also accumulated properties that became part of the city of North Vancouver.

980.28.1
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Pichet à eau
1900, 20e siècle
25 x 13 cm
Don de Mrs. Brenda Malyed
980.28.1
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

This pitcher belonged to the Mee family, who ran the Moodyville hotel after 1900. It arrived at the North Vancouver Museum and Archives in pieces and was painstakingly reconstructed. Although little is known about this particular artifact, its ornate appearance indicates a high calibre of service for a frontier town. This is consistent with a report in an 1888 issue of the San Francisco Journal of Commerce, which fairly gushes:

"At the bar only the very best wines and liquors are kept, and here again [manager] Captain Power displays equal good judgement and ability, knowing well how to combine the suaviter in modo [gentle in manner] with the fortiter in re [resolute in execution]. Notwithstanding the large community surrounding him, drunkenness is unknown, another standing example to show ... that the liquor traffic, properly managed and controlled, is far more effectual in its results than prohibition."

Quoi:

This pressed-glass pitcher with a metal spout is said to have been used at the Moodyville Hotel.

Où:

The pitcher likely contained water and stood on the hotel bar. It was probably manufactured in the United States.

Quand:

The pitcher was likely ordered from a U.S. catalogue in the late 1800s.

Qui:

The Mee family, whose descendants donated the pitcher, ran the hotel after the turn of the 19th century.

A03322
Cet artefact appartient à : © B.C. Archives & Records Service
Photographie
Magasin général à Moodyville
1870-1900, 19e siècle
12 x 17 cm
A03322
Cet artefact appartient à : © B.C. Archives & Records Service

Clefs de l'histoire:

The amenities at Moodyville initially made the settlement a gathering spot for the whole population of Burrard Inlet. With a major source of employment, general store, school, community hall/Masonic lodge/Mechanics' Institute with a library, and even its own newspaper, The Moodyville Tickler, it was a self-contained community. Officers and crews of visiting ships were allowed to use the library, which subscribed to newspapers and periodicals. A flotilla of small boats and schooners brought in supplies, vegetables and fodder for the draft animals. The population of Moodyville and the surrounding area provided a substantial market for produce and livestock from the nearby farming areas of Lulu Island and the Fraser Valley. Thomas Kidd recalled rowing a load to Moodyville: "We ... there met Mr. Dietz, who had charge of the store and found that he already had all the potatoes he needed. [He] took pity on us perhaps because he finally bought our boatload ... at a much reduced price."

Quoi:

The general store at Moodyville served the company town as well as the whole area's pioneer settlers and logging camps. Note the pulley in the gable to haul up heavy goods.

Où:

The store, like most amenities in the town, was located close to the mill. It served as a purchasing agent as well as a supplier.

Quand:

By the 1880s, the west extension of the store, with its false front and row of sash windows, had been built. An east extension was added later.

Qui:

The store initially served the entire population of Burrard Inlet, which numbered between 400 and 600 people -- mostly men.

F195
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Grand livre
Livre des ventes de Moodyville
1875-1879, 19e siècle
40 x 30 cm
F195
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

The Moodyville store served everyone from the mill and its employees to company logging camps, local inhabitants, residents of the whole region and transient shipping crews. It carried food, supplies, tools, clothing and even some luxuries. The company store accounts mention supplying men who sold logs to the mill. Even George Black, the butcher, was on the books as a logging contractor. The local Native people, for their part, came up with a product to sell to the mill: dogfish oil. Loggers would put this oil on their skid roads to make the logs run more easily. A man with a pail of it would walk ahead of the oxen or horses pulling the logs and give each skid a brush. The oil had a strong smell, especially if it had been in the sun for some time, and bears would come out of the woods to lick the skids.

Quoi:

This sales book recorded financial transactions and is one of two surviving ledgers -- the other recorded wages -- which must have been preserved carefully over the years, as they are in good condition.

Où:

This sales book was used by the Moodyville mill store. It recorded all kinds of financial transactions related to the community and its mill.

Quand:

This ledger records a period of time from October 30, 1875, to the end of that year, and another from December 1878 to December 1879.

Qui:

This ledger was donated to the North Vancouver Museum and Archives by the Cates family, who have been in the Burrard Inlet tugboat business since the Moodyville era.

SGN130
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Photographie
Gérants
Vers 1890, 19e siècle
12 x 13 cm
SGN130
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Smoking cigars and pipes was evidently a manly pastime at Moodyville, judging by this casual and rather jovial shot of a group of mill employees and visitors. The men are seated in front of stacks of lumber ready for shipping; visible in the background are a cedar-shake roof, the cookhouse with its bell tower, and a house facing onto the ironically named Maiden Lane (presumably home to prostitutes). Seated from left to right are George Armstrong (profession unclear), tallyman E. Lunn, office staffer Richard Flood, alderman Capt. Donald, Capt. F. M. York and foreman Henry Ramsdall; standing behind is Capt. E. A. Swift. White-clay pipes of the type the men are puffing on were excavated near this site in 1997. Smoking in a highly flammable lumberyard presumably did not cause anyone much concern at the time.

Quoi:

Various men associated with the Moodyville mill pose for a smoke break while they whittle pieces of wood. Even the dog is working on a piece of wood.

Où:

The men are sitting on the dock at the Moodyville mill. They must have brought their factory-made chairs down with them for the occasion.

Quand:

This photo was taken sometime between 1888 and 1890.

Qui:

In an 1889 provincial directory of Moodyville inhabitants, Henry Ramsdall is listed as a fireman. In this photo, he is a foreman. By 1891 J. H. Ramsdall is listed as superintendent.

A0185
Cet artefact appartient à : © B.C. Archives & Records Service
Photographie
Hugh Nelson, associé de Sewell Moody
Vers 1870, 19e siècle
12 x 17 cm
A0185
Cet artefact appartient à : © B.C. Archives & Records Service

Clefs de l'histoire:

After Sewell Prescott Moody's untimely death in 1875, his associates kept his ambitious plans for the mill and company town alive. They included some of the young province's most prominent entrepreneurs, including Hugh Nelson (1830-93), who managed the business for seven years before entering politics. He became a member of Parliament for New Westminster, was appointed to the Senate in 1879 by the Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald (1815-91), and was named lieutenant-governor of British Columbia in 1887. He unsuccessfully lobbied the government to make Moodyville the Canadian National Railway's western terminus. Nelson's legacy in Moodyville included electric lights to allow evening ship loading. Since they were the first streetlights on the West Coast of Canada, the mayor and entire city council of Victoria attended the inaugural illumination.

Quoi:

A portrait of Hugh Nelson, Sewell Moody's business partner (along with George Dietz), who took over as mill manager after Moody's death.

Où:

Originally from Ireland, Nelson had started out as a pioneer merchant with George Dietz in Hope and Yale, BC.

Quand:

Hugh Nelson managed the Moodyville mill from Moody's death in 1875 until 1882, at which point he sold his interest in the business.

Qui:

Before Moody's death, Nelson acted as company secretary, looking after dealings with the government, while Dietz took care of operations and supply at the inlet and on the mainland.

CVABUP2N51
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Photographie
Grande maison
1887, 19e siècle
12 x 17 cm
CVABUP2N51
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

The Big House, a colonial home with a widow's walk on top, was home to Hugh Nelson (1830-93) and subsequent mill managers. The architectural style had been developed in British India, with lots of verandas for ventilation. This type of home was only constructed in the British colonies, and an architectural pattern book may have inspired this version. To bring another hint of high society to the backwoods, manager Benjamin Springer created Burrard Inlet's first croquet lawn and tennis court on the grounds. The estate was, essentially, a symbol of Moodyville's prosperity during the late 1800s. The Colonist newspaper described it in 1881: "On the summit of a beautiful grassy knoll, surrounded by neatly laid out lawns and flower pots, stands Invermere, the elegant home of Senator Nelson, the resident partner of the Moodyville Sawmill Company."

Quoi:

This is Invermere, a fancy colonnaded residence nicknamed the Big House, which was built for mill manager Hugh Nelson.

Où:

The house was surrounded by lawns and located on the grandly named Knob Hill overlooking the community.

Quand:

The house was built in 1879. This picture was taken in 1888, when the Springer family was living in it.

Qui:

Benjamin Springer initially found work as a tallyman at the Moodyville mill, then became the bookkeeper and later the manager.

CVAOUTP231N95
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives
Photographie
Court de tennis
1888, 19e siècle
12 x 17 cm
CVAOUTP231N95
Cet artefact appartient à : © City of Vancouver Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

The cream of Burrard Inlet society would gather at Invermere, or the Big House, for events like this tennis party held by the Springer family. Social visits had become more feasible with the improvement in ferry service. People also crossed the inlet for concerts given by touring performers at the Moodyville community hall. The Fourth of July was a major celebration (Sewell Moody, George Dietz and other mill partners were originally from the U.S.), drawing the entire inlet community for sports competitions, boat races, dinner, a ball and fireworks -- free for everyone. Attendees in this photo of the garden party include Dr. Bell Irving, the Springers and their children, Dr. and Mrs. Beckingsale, Mrs. John Bowell (daughter-in-law of Sir Mackenzie Bowell [1847-1917], who was prime minister of Canada from 1894 to 1896), Miss Nell Boultbee, Miss Rose Townley and her mother, Miss Mackay, Miss Monte Wood, J. O. Benwell and several unidentified women.

Quoi:

Mill manager Benjamin Springer and his wife hosted this garden party. The company is seated next to the tennis court of the Big House at Moodyville.

Où:

Benjamin Springer improved his residence's grounds after 1880 for use as a croquet lawn and tennis court.

Quand:

This photo was taken in 1888. Two years after Vancouver's Great Fire, Moodyville was still the centre of "civilization" on Burrard Inlet.

Qui:

Richard Flood, a Moodyville store clerk and husband of Mr. Springer's sister, blocked off the first tennis-court lines with a mixture of whiting and water poured from a jug.

193610
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Prospectus
Mme Emily Patterson
25 x 17 cm
193610
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Moodyville had the good fortune of counting among its population Burrard Inlet's first nurse, Emily Susan Patterson. Attracted by its status as a model community, she moved there in 1874 with her husband and four children after spending a year at another mill town. At that time, the inlet had no hospital or resident doctors. Stories abound of Patterson's willingness, fearlessness and success as a midwife and giver of first aid, despite her lack of formal training. She was known as a Lady of Grace of St. John or Dame Hospitaller. She helped whites and Natives alike, and parents of both communities named children in her honour. Almost three decades after her 1909 death, Nora M. Duncan wrote the epic poem The Heroine of Moodyville to commemorate a particularly selfless deed of attending to the wife of the local lighthouse keeper.

Quoi:

A portrait of Emily Susan Patterson, a Moodyville resident famous for her nursing abilities and the epic poem written about one of her selfless deeds.

Où:

The dramatic poem The Heroine of Moodyville was published in Chatelaine, a national women's magazine.

Quand:

The poem was written and published in 1936. Chatelaine is now more than 75 years old and still widely read.

Qui:

The poem's author, Nora M. Duncan, née Dann, was born in 1881. She also wrote Rainbow Reveries and Down to the Sea in the 1930s.

995.27.1
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Bâton de marche
Moodyville Mill
1873, 19e siècle
90 x 3 cm
Don de Mr. Ron D'Altroy
995.27.1
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Emily Susan Patterson travelled around Burrard Inlet as part of her nursing activities. The Heroine of Moodyville celebrates her 10-mile trip by Native dugout canoe during a raging storm to help the critically ill wife of a lighthouse keeper. Here is a sample:

The captains scan the frowning heav'ns, "Tis fools push off tonight!
We cannot face those surging seas that beat in monstrous might

Upon the cliffs and rockbound coast of Atkinson's great light!"

"Oh, pity! Pity! Who will go with me on errand blest?"
Ah, daughter of a valiant race, thy life to good confessed!
Wouldst dare the tumult of the winds that suffering find rest?

"No! No!" the hoary captains said; but up spake Indian brave:

"With me you go, most merciful, a dying one to save --
Chinalset strong, a Squamish son, fears not the leaping wave!"

Quoi:

This walking stick has an iron-rod core covered with layers of shaped leather disks made of industrial belting -- materials that likely came from the mill.

Où:

A copper disk on the head of the walking stick is engraved, "Belonged to Mrs. John Patterson of Moodyville. First Nurse of Burrard Inlet 1873."

Quand:

Nothing is known about the walking stick's date of manufacture.

Qui:

A millwright working at the Moodyville mill is believed to have made the walking stick. Perhaps he was a grateful former patient or relative of a patient.

2000104001
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Peinture
L'ancien front d'eau
John M. Horton
1991, 20e siècle
2000104001
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

In 1884 it was announced that the Canadian Pacific Railway's western terminus would be located on the south shore of Burrard Inlet, at Vancouver. This news sounded the death knell for Moodyville's position as the inlet's leading community. The first passenger locomotive arrived in May of 1887. Vancouver rapidly outgrew other communities in the region, and land speculation replaced timber exporting as the primary regional activity. By the 1890s, Moodyville's industry was suffering the effects of that decade's worldwide depression. Voracious logging had also depleted the area's famous trees, and the larger mills on the Fraser River were more competitive due to rail access. As this painted view from Vancouver illustrates, by the last decade of the 19th century, Moodyville's relevance and status in the region was rapidly diminishing.

Quoi:

This painting of "The Old Vancouver Waterfront" shows Hastings Mill and the bustling rail and steamship terminals at Vancouver.

Où:

This aerial oblique view from the south shore of Burrard Inlet looks northeast. Moodyville is but a wisp of smoke on the distant shore.

Quand:

The painting depicts the Vancouver and south shore waterfront in 1898, but it was painted almost a century later, in 1991.

Qui:

This work is by the well-known contemporary Canadian painter John Horton, who trained at art schools in Britain and specializes in historical maritime scenes.

9164
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
Scierie de Moodyville
1910, 20e siècle
6 x 10 cm
Don de Mr. W.D. Green
9164
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Moodyville's owners after 1882 turned to English investor Arthur Pemberton Heywood-Lonsdale to provide a mortgage. Upon the Englishman's death in 1897, the owners could not repay their debts and the mill and lands became the property of the Lonsdale estate. Its administrators closed the mill in 1901 and proceeded to sell off the associated lands. The mill was stripped of equipment and stood abandoned, finally burning down in 1916. The town carried on as a settlement in decline for some time, with nearby Lonsdale Avenue, just to the west, becoming the north shore's commercial and residential hub. The new Vancouver-to-north shore ferry terminal was also located there. The post office moved to Lonsdale in 1902, and Moodyville's school closed in 1910. In bits and pieces, the townsite was gradually incorporated into the City of North Vancouver by 1925.

Quoi:

In this picture, the Moodyville mill looks more or less abandoned. No ships are at the dock and no log booms float in the foreground.

Où:

This view looks east up Burrard Inlet. The grouped pilings in the water had been used to tie up log booms.

Quand:

This photograph was taken about 1910, nine years after the mill shut down.

Qui:

The BC Mills, Timber and Trading Company took over the mill facilities in 1902. The company specialized in prefabricated wooden buildings for western Canada.

13285
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
Route en contrebas
10 avril 1928, 20e siècle
12 x 17 cm
13285
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

During 1927 and 1928, a low-level waterfront road and rail line was constructed right through the former Moodyville site. To accomplish this, the entire slope on which much of the town had stood was removed. This development obliterated the last traces of the former mill town. The waterfront transportation route was an extension of the new rail-and-road route to the north shore created by the Second Narrows Bridge, which was finished in 1925 and was the first span crossing Burrard Inlet. The bridge was built to alleviate overburdened car ferries and to provide easier access to the scenic "playground" of the north shore. Moodyville's former waterfront turned into an industrial zone mostly taken up by shingle mills, lumber yards and grain elevators. In the late 1950s, even Knob Hill was subdivided and sold as the Ridgeway Place residential development.

Quoi:

A new waterfront road-and-rail route opened up bulk-shipping potential on the north shore, especially from the former Moodyville site.

Où:

The terrain along the waterfront was flattened to build an easy access road. At the time, cars did not have the power to easily negotiate steep hills.

Quand:

Grain from the western prairies was increasingly exported via Vancouver in the 1920s. It was now able to reach the deep-water port facilities of the north shore, where the first elevator opened in 1928.

Qui:

The City of North Vancouver built the low-level road. Since the population of Moodyville had disappeared, it was a logical place to construct an industrial site.

13286
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Photographie
Route en contrebas, 2000
2000, 11e au 17e siècle (Thulé)
12 x 19 cm
13286
Cet artefact appartient à : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Clefs de l'histoire:

Considering the importance of Moodyville to the history of Burrard Inlet, it is curious that nobody thought to save more of its heritage. Today, however, several names used in the community recall the original settlement. Moodyville Park was created on undeveloped land near the former townsite and features interpretive signs. Street names in the area serve this function, too, with Moody Avenue appropriately running directly north of the waterfront where the mill stood. Interestingly, few streets are named after those who actually lived and worked at Moodyville, but many relate to the investors who inherited and subdivided the lands after the mill's demise. These include references to its final mortgage provider, Arthur Pemberton Heywood-Lonsdale, and his family estate in Shropshire, England; various village names as well as family names, such as Lonsdale, Chesterfield and Heywood, can be found on North Vancouver's street signs today.

Quoi:

The grain elevators now standing at the Moodyville site benefit from the same ideal deep-water port facilities that the former mill enjoyed.

Où:

The qualities of the site remain: ideal for getting Canadian resources of the land to the water's edge to store and ship out.

Quand:

This picture was taken in 2000. From 1862 until today, the site has been chosen for its convenience for industry.

Qui:

Visible is the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool elevator. Nearby are James Richardson International (grain distributors), Neptune Terminals (coal and potash exporters), SeaBoard and LynnTerm (kiln-dried lumber exporters).

Conclusion:

Hard as it might be today to imagine Burrard Inlet surrounded by heavily forested shorelines, punctuated by a few tiny sawmills, that is what the area looked like in the mid-1800s. As the first major community on the inlet, Moodyville exemplified the early pioneer spirit in British Columbia. Founders and inhabitants of the company town sustained themselves by exploiting the land's raw material -- in this case, wood -- in keeping with British colonial attitudes of the time. In doing so, however, they also created the first vestiges of European-style civilization: a school, library, electric lights and eventually even a tennis lawn. But despite its early prominence and economic importance as an exporter of lumber, Moodyville was not well situated for the future. The basis of its industry shrank and the community became redundant, overshadowed by booming Vancouver across the inlet. Sadly, it disappeared completely before its historical significance was fully appreciated.


© Musée McCord Museum