A logging truck photographed in 'downtown' Terrace in the 1920s. Local historians are working on gathering personal anecdotes about the forestry industry in the region.

Terrace historians rush to preserve forestry heritage

The Terrace Regional Historical Society wants to share stories of forestry in the lower Skeena and Nass Valley

Local historians are hastening their efforts to record the history of the forestry industry in the lower Skeena and Nass Valley region citing concerns this chapter in Terrace heritage will soon be lost.

The Terrace Regional Historical Society is looking for those who worked as loggers, truckers and millworks to share anecdotes and personal photographs from the forestry era.

Few people remain who worked in the industry during the mid-twentieth century and it is their stories which have seldom been recorded throughout Terrace’s history.

“That history is being lost — the forestry industry here is very much smaller [now] than it used to be,” said the historical society’s Norma Kerby, herself a longtime resident of the area.

In particular, they want to document what it was like for workers who laboured for big companies such as LH&K, Columbia Cellulose and Skeena Forest Products, all active in the region in the three decades before 1970.

“It was so different than what exists now,” explained Kerby.

“It was a major economic activity here and plus there were so many interesting things because they were logging in the mountains through very rough terrain and difficult conditions, I just hope that somebody feels that it is worthwhile to put it down,” she remarked.

This effort follows a book researched by Kerby on pole logging in the Kitsumkalum Valley released earlier this year.

Two other benchmarks of old Terrace are also on the society’s list of memories to preserve.

This year, they are starting to gather information and pictures for another storyboard to be placed in the vicinity of the Kitsumkalum cemetery and Terrace west-end area.

On one side, Kerby says they plan to dedicate the board to Eby’s Landing, the river paddle-wheeler stop along the Skeena River and the other to the Frank Brothers Dairy farm which covered the area which is now the Mount Vista subdivision.

Eby’s Landing (1904-1914) functioned as a crucial major transportation stop in Terrace during the construction of the transcontinental railway connecting Prince Rupert the eastern part of the country.

“In terms of the historical development of this area, Eby’s Landing was the primary landing for the river traffic,” Kerby noted.

“As the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway proceeded it was the primary location that people got on and off in the Terrace area and so it is very important historically to this area.”

Though Kerby says the landing lost it’s importance once the railroad was completed and businesses started to move into the downtown nearer to the train station at what is now George Little House.

However, the Frank Brothers farm was one of the few businesses that remained near the landing, sending milk and butter by train to Prince Rupert into the 1950s.

“Terrace, at one point, was known as the breadbasket of the northwest,” Kerby said,

“This whole area was very important from an agricultural perspective and they were one of the bigger agricultural ventures that lasted and did very well

Details on the storyboard are still contingent on the City of Terrace approving it’s location, but the society is still collecting stories and photographs from the era in anticipation.