August 25, 1898
RAILROAD IS HERE
Steele was Laid into Cranbrook on Tuesday, the Twenty-Third.
WILL ALWAYS BE A MEMORABLE DAY
Cranbrook the Headquarters for Construction Until End of Work
GOVERNMENT AND RAILWAY OFFICIALS SEE THE TOWN
M.J. Haney, Manager of Construction,
Has Some good Words for the Metropolis of East Kootenay and Her Future
At last Cranbrook has a railroad. The people have waited long for this event, and today they are happy. Tuesday morning the smoke from the engine that propels the tracklayer was seen at the further end of the prairie to the northeast, and slowly but surely the great iron horse approached the town of Cranbrook. Length after length of rails were laid by the large force of men employed for that purpose, and when the sun dipped behind the timber covered hills to the southwest, the dying rays were reflected back from the steel rails that carried the first train into Cranbrook. Tuesday, August 23rd, will always be a memorable day in the history of Cranbrook, the leading city of South East Kootenay. That day brought the railroad, and with it the fruition of the people's fondest hopes, and the material evidence of the prosperity that is to follow. It gave absolute assurance of transportation facilities, and a positive guarantee that the pack horse and the freight wagon would soon be relics of the past so far as shipping goods into Cranbrook is concerned.
And how rapidly the grand transformation was wrought! At sunrise, an open prairie and a grade. At sunset, a main track, several side tracks, trains of freight cars loaded to their full capacity, company's dining cars located and ready for use, a telegraph office a short distance away, and everything moving along as though the road had been duly installed for a month. The wonderful work was accomplished in a manner characteristic of the methods that prevail in the west, and is parallelled by the rapidity that the town of Cranbrook sprang from an oat field into a thriving, hustling business center.
But the work done that day and since in nothing compared with what is to follow. That work was temporary. The work that is to follow will be of a permanent character. There are switches to construct, many side tracks to lay, depot, round house and shops to build, and many other things to be done by the company that will make Cranbrook its official headquarters for the Crows Nest Pass line. There are months of work ahead for many people, and an increasing pay roll that will be permanent. Cranbrook is to see a great era of prosperity follow the introduction of the railroad, that will increase as the country tributary to the place develops.
Last Friday evening Cranbrook was visited by more important railroad and government officials than ever before in the history of East Kootenay. Among them were Chief of Construction Haney, Government Railway Inspector Rideout, Government Railway Engineer Fellowes, CPR Inspector Lumsden, Chief Engineer MacLeod and Bridge and Building Superintendent Weller.
The distinguished party were on a trip of inspection of the C.N.P.R., destined for Kootenay lake and return this way. Apparently everything was satisfactory with them, but they could not anticipate their reports to the government and railway company by expressing themselves to the reporter for publication.
Regarding Cranbrook they had nothing but the kindest words, and it seemed to be their candid opinion and belief that Cranbrook will be all that has been claimed for it by its most sanguine advocates.
Mr. Haney said the railroad would come into the town and pass along, but unlike some other places, after the construction camps had passed Cranbrook, there would still be a town here and a good one. Many men would remain here at work after the construction gang had passed. The depot was to be constructed (details regarding which will be found elsewhere), "and," Mr Haney remarked, "it will be unequalled in size and elegance by any depot, constructed of lumber, on the Canadian Pacific line." The shops, also, would engage a large number of men in their construction, and consume a large amount of material, which in turn would help to keep the local saw mill actively employed a long time.
From the above it does not require a very acute mind to discern the fact that from railroad sources alone Cranbrook will be a very busy town for a long while to come. A gentleman in position to know has assured THE HERALD that the pay-roll of the railroad company at Cranbrook, for all classes of employees, will be not less that $6,000 per month. And it should be remembered that this sum is the minimum amount - that before a year has passed it is very liable to be doubled, and possibly more than doubled.
In less than two weeks there will be a regular tri-weekly train service east and west, and then East Kootenay and Cranbrook can say that it is no longer an isolated spot, rich in unrivalled natural resources.
Capital can and will come to examine, buy and develop the very promising mineral claims which surround Cranbrook on every side, and before another year has passed it will be satisfactorily demonstrated that Cranbrook is what this paper has claimed for it - the centre of one of the richest gold, silver, copper and lead regions in British Columbia, if not the continent.
Long steam boat rides, tedious, tiresome, awfully dusty journeys on rickety lumber wagons, alleged to be stages, will soon be matters of history in East Kootenay, and capitalists can make the trip here with east and comfort. Many have been deterred from investigating the resources of this country and from aiding in its development by these reasons alone.
Contractor McCarty was taking in the sights in Cranbrook last Friday night.
There was another smash-up on the Loop last week and 14 cars were ditched.
Contractor Grant came up from his work Monday.
Contractor McDonald is in town today. He expects to be through by Saturday night. Most of the contractors are now figuring with the sectional engineers on their estimates.
Paymaster Barnhardt and is assistant Mr. Latimer, paid out over $12,000 to the employees here last Monday.
Conductor Templeton came up from Wardner Wednesday. He will be able to resume work in a few days.
Superintendent Turnbull stated one day last week that steel would be laid to Kuskonook within 30 to 35 days.
George Colcleugh, the Wardner storekeeper, arrived in town Tuesday night and expects to be located here very soon.
It is reported that the Crows Nest pass road, from Lethbridge to Fernie, will be turned over to the CPR within a short time.
Billy Davis' dog and Billy Davis came over from Wardner Tuesday. Billy expects to make Cranbrook his headquarters henceforth.
The CPR will erect headquarters' stables at once. Cranbrook will be used as headquarters for their teams until the end of construction.
The construction train had a little bad luck working through Isador canyon. The engine got off the track several times causing considerable delay.
A temporary telegraph office was located in a tent near the trestle two miles from town. Poles are being set across the prairie, and the line will be in town thing evening.
Superintendent Turnbull had his family cars brought to Cranbrook yesterday evening, and this place will be his headquarters for several days. He follows up the end of steel as closely as possible.
Contractor Wellman's classic features are often in evidence around Cranbrook these days; he seems to avoid the outlying telephone stations of late, for some reason.
Dan McGillivray and Charley McDougall, two of the greatest joshers on the line, have headquarters in Cranbrook and are making it lively for the rest of the contractors.
Commencing tomorrow regular trains will be run from Cranbrook east, giving passenger accommodations from this point. This will prove a great convenience to the people.