Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 15, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
10 THE LETHMIDGE HERALD TuMdcy, October Old foreman fills Bullion Mine gap VICTORIA (CP) Fred McFetridge has a long and vivid memory that spans almost 10 decades. He win be 98 this winter. He can recall people, places and things that others have long forgotten and his memory is par- ticularly clear about mining. A recent news story on the possibility of re-, opening the Bullion-Mine near Likelys B.C., sent Urn back to his notes and albums and what he calls a gap in the history of the mine. The Bullion Mine in Dancing Bill's Gulch was one of the most spectacular and biggest placer mines in its heyday in Canada. It was managed by John B. Hobson who was brought to B.C. from California in 1892 by some directors of the Canadian4 Pacific Railway to examine the gold-bearing gravels of the Cariboo area. Found gap "The Bullion was. a gigantic dig and Hobson took out millions in said Mr. McFetridge. "The mine was idle for a while after 1906 because of lack of water for placer mining. It was opened up again in 1912 but attempts at re- juvenation failed jmtil 1933 when it was acquired by Bullion Placers Ltd. under the management of Ray F. Sharpe." And this is the pp where McFetridge came in. He was in a construction when Bullion approached him to be foreman. "The size of the dig and all those men scared me to death and I didn't know anything about the mine except what 'I had read. Sharpe had four resident engineers sure knew how to throw money around. "He purchased a big shovel that cost thousands and thousands of dollars and the mine had its own electrical plant and telephone. "The gold was very about the jfee of a and I maintained that really fine gold was being forced out to the river through the pipeline. Sharpe had too much heavy equipment for such a fine operation." In Hobson's time, Bullion Camp became a sizeable community on the hillside above the pit. There was a sawmill, offices, warehouses, machine and electrical shops, barns, stables and a hospital. The foreman and the doctor had private residences and Hobson lived in a big gabl- ed house at the top of tne clearing. When Mr. McFetridge arrived, about the only building standing was Hob- son's Hotel. "It bad two large dining rooms and a gigantic he recalled, "but no water. The hotel burned down while I was there in 1935 and there was nothing we could do about only water was for the cookhouse." Mr. McFetridge left the mine before it closed in 1942 and it is his opinion that Sharpe over-extended himself, ran out of gold completely and spent more than he" ever took out. Out of gold "Sharpe wanted to beat Hobson's record and-he really, thought he could do it but he just went too big and there wasn't enough bullion to keep it alive." Fred McFetridge has lit- tle time for the promoters of some mines. for -a short time at Leech River on Vancouver Island and says it was a promotional venture with no return. Mr. McFetridge, who originally came out from -his native Nova Scotia to homestead in Alberta and Oregon, went into construction and logging in B.C., before working jn the mining camps. His daughter, Blanche Fenton, says he has lost more money than he has ever made and his venture after mining was a good ex- ample. In the late 1930s, he bought an ice cream parlor on Dunbar Street in Van- couver and spent a lot of money fixing it up. Finally; after he was 65, Fred McFetridge found the happiest days of his life, building in Victoria. He built nine houses and duplexes and was still running around the construction rafters when he was hi his 80s. "MM! MOO SERVICE _ b AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION 'LTD. PIWW3274M10 1520 3rt An. I. Guaranteed Servicing Rebuilding and Exchange Farmers received an increase of just 12 per cent on the products they sold over the last 20 years. In fact, farm prices either declined or remained un-. changed during 10 of the last 20 years. RESTORED STEAMER PUFFS THROUGH HOWE SOUND, B.C. B.C. train chuffs back to nostalgia Tomorrow's Treasure is a FAMILY PORTRAIT 1-4x10 and 4-4x5 COLOR PORTRAITS ALL FOR ONLY CALL FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT SOON! PHOTCKJKAI'm 4U-13SMM North 9 ML CLOMO MOMUYS NORTH VANCOUVER; (CP) Thousands have bought tickets to yesterday since the British Columbia Railway" began operating a steam-driven excursion train thai chuffs 30 miles into nostalgia. The train, pulled by a re- stored Royal Hudson series 2800 locomotive and capable of carrying 580 persons on the line to Squamish, began its operations on the government-owned rail line June 20 and was book- ed solid for the summer. At times, the magnifi- cent scenery along the eastern shore of Howe Sound was obscured by waving arms as passengers and crew waved to people who stood along the right of way to see the vintage locomotive and its drab, retread coaches of the 1940s go by. The train chugged along a roadbed chiselled out of cliffs and punctuated by dark, mysterious tunnels. The locomotive, which is Zf years of age, was bought by the province at the instiga- tion of railway director Bob Swanson. It pulled 11 coaches, an open observation car, a club car that served alcoholic beverages to 50 patrons and a baggage car. Missing The engine had lost cast metal crowns from her splashers that marked her pedigree as one of a class of engines chosen to power the royal' train during the 1939 Canadian tour of George VI and the present Queen Mother. Mr. Swanson had fresh crowns made locally as well as getting a new boiler casing cut in stainless steel. Cab gauges, and controls had been stolen and replacements had to be found. The boiler and superheater tubes needed replacing and Mr. Swanson had to go to the Steel Com- pany of Canada Ltd. to get new tubes made to a special order. The train 'doesn't go beyond a sedate 25 miles an" hour, robbing engineers of the chance to let No. 2860 demonstrate how its 75- inch drivers can roll. The return trip to Squamish costs 85 for adults, for students and pensioners and 82.50 for children aged 5 to 11. DAVIS ENTERPRISES (ALBERTA) METAL-CAST BAOtATOM-COPMH ETC. ALBERTA STEEL PRODUCTS (Wt ill i ill IMS 2nd AM.