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TIMELINE: THE HISTORY OF LILLOOET

1859

First boom of the gold rush.

St. Mary’s Anglican Church was built by the Sappers and Miners of the Royal Engineers, second oldest church in BC and bulldozed down under the cover of darkness in the fall of 1961.

First tobacco grown in British Columbia at East Lillooet and the tobacco was sold to miners up and down the river.

1860s Camels were imported into area for use as pack animals during the Cariboo Gold Rush.
1865 Lillooet annual stampede established.
1898 New school was built with 45 students registered with one teacher in charge.
1899 A gold nugget of 5 5/16 ounces was found at Bridge River. In the 1860’s finding this size of nugget was a common occurrence.
1901 The new jail was completed with four cells.
1903

Completion of the water system marks a most important event in the history of Lillooet.

Erection of the fish hatchery at Seton Lake because of concerns with regulations affecting the sockeye salmon.

1905 First gas-powered truck brought to Lillooet.
1911 The suspension bridge built to cross the Fraser River.
1912

Construction of a telephone line from Lillooet to Pioneer mine on Cadwallader Creek.

The first automobile to go over the new Bridge River Road, a distance of about 59 miles from Lillooet.

1913 The preliminary work on the electric plant began and lights were established 6 months later.
1915 The Pacific Great Eastern Railway Company completed the rails to Lillooet. A depot was erected just across Cayoosh Creek. The first train came into Lillooet on February 20th.
1917 A snow and rain station was established to become a regular weather station for the Lillooet District. Besides having telegraphic communications, Lillooet is the ‘central’ for 50 telephones extending 70 miles into the Bridge River mining district, 47 miles to Lytton, 47 miles to Clinton and 50 miles to Ashcroft.
1920 – 1930 No newspaper was published in Lillooet during the roaring 20s.
1922 British Columbia drivers switch from driving British-style on the left, to driving on the right side of the road.
1934 The first edition of the Bridge River-Lillooet News rolled off the press in March. Subscriptions $1.00 per year. George and Margaret Murray founded the News.
1934 Bralorne Hospital was partially completed and included an x-ray room, dispensary, operating room, reception hall, nurses room, two wards, two baths, one private suite and two private rooms above, linen rooms and diet kitchen.
1935 The Bank of Toronto was robbed by two bandits with a gun, the first robbery of its kind in the valley.
1938 The Bridge River valley began production of mercury to their mining activities. The only mercury mine in the British Empire. Engineers were impressed by the mercury showing.
1939 Celebrating eighty years of continuous activity in mining by establishing a nine foot cairn of mortar and stone to make an everlasting marker for the Mile Post Zero, on the Cariboo Road.
1942 Lillooet District organized their first blackout when the alarm was given at Bralorne. During WWII, lights of Lillooet would be a valuable aid to bombers taking the inland route along the Fraser River.
1942 Japanese settlement began in East Lillooet. They grew tomatoes and other crops.
1945 The new cannery at Lillooet was open for business with a ton of ripe tomatoes being processed.
1946

The first Fall Fair in the history of the old gold town held mid September.

Commissioners of the Village of Lillooet held their first meeting.

1948

One of the biggest fires ever seen in the country, consumed a whole block of buildings.

Memorial Park was established to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in WW I and II.

1952 Lillooet public service ambulance made its first public appearance.
1959

Opening of the new Lillooet and District Hospital, built in the form of a ‘T’ and is a one story reinforced building that can have another floor added when needed. The building provides room for 16 beds and 8 bassinets, as well as a 10 bed staff residence.

The Lillooet Swimming Pool Committee officially opened the Centennial pool.

CBC relay transmitter goes into operation, broadcasting radio service for the people of the immediate Lillooet area.

1960 The Curling Rink had its official Grand Opening.
1966 Cayoosh Elementary School opened in the fall, preparing for 300 students.
1971 A rampaging forest fire raced from Seton Lake, jumped the canal, destroyed the Rancherie reserve and consumed homes in Conwayville, seventy people were left homeless.
1979 A passenger rail car shuttled students for school from Shalalth and Seton to Lillooet and home every night. The solution was jointly organized by BC Hydro, BC Rail and Indian Affairs.
1981

The new crossing of the Fraser River located 3.2 km downstream from the original suspension bridge.

A new high school was constructed in Lillooet, located on a 12-acre portion of the Russell Subdivision.

1987 The new Rec Centre was opened.
1990 Core area of the REC Centre was destroyed by fire, consuming the gymnasium, library, cafeteria, kitchen and meeting rooms.

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