Recent History – 2001
Aug. 7, 2001
DAWSON CREEK — A slice of the Mile Zero City’s colourful past now graces the west wall of Bing’s Furniture, thanks to the efforts of a local artist and some summer students.
Devised by Calvin Kruk and realized with the help of Karyl Gilbertson, Graham Ripley, Missy Klassen, Jodi Frederick, Meghan Newman, the mural was unveiled Friday afternoon.
“The individuals that are up are there more because they represent some of the aspects of Dawson Creek in the early years right up to the RCMP arriving,” Kruk said.
Incorporated within maple leaves of various colours are depictions of 10 figures from the past:
Napolean Thomas: Known as the best bear hunter and guide in the area he was hired to guide the North West Mounted Police to the Yukon in 1897. A Metis, he’s believed to be of Iroquois-French decent. He ran a cattle ranch west of Dawson Creek.
Cad Gobin: John Gobin and son Forrest homesteaded in the Rolla area, starting in 1912. Mrs. Gobin arrived in 1913 and died two years later, becoming the first person to be buried in the Rolla Cemetery.
Jack and Olive Fynn: A well-known and respected couple that was very involved in community affairs and owned property just southeast of present-day Fynn’s Corner. Olive (Strong) arrived in the Peace in 1917 and married Jack Fynn in 1922.
The Johnsons: Earl, Allan (Spike) and Efner Johnson were horsemen and sportsmen whose family came to the Peace from North Dakota in 1929 and settled in the Carpio district north of Rolla.
Timothy Earnest O’Callaghan: Born in County Limerick, Ireland, 1872, he was with the 1909 survey parties in the area before it was opened for settlement.
He returned to the Peace by way of Edson Trail and settled near O’Callaghan’s Lake in the Lake View District, now known as Comstock Lake. He remained a bachelor on his homestead the rest of his life.
Bill and Mary Mollard: Depiction from a 1929 family photo that includes children Wilma and Robert, they farmed in the Clayhurst-Cherry Point area.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Took over from the B.C. Provincial Police in 1950. There are currently 21 members, seven highway patrol, 17 in the communications centre. In all there are 57 total staff, including guards and support staff.
Mr. and Mrs. Mah Show: Mah Show came to Canada from the Canton province of China in the early 1930s and moved to Dawson Creek when he learned of the opportunities that would come with construction of the Alaska Highway.
He purchased what was Harper’s Store and turned it into the New Palace Hotel and Cafe. The Bank of Montreal now occupied the site.
In 1949, his wife and son, Bing, joined him, escaping what would soon become communist China.
George Dawson: The man the city is named after, Dr. George Mercer Dawson was a surveyor, geologist, naturalist and archaeologist who traveled through in 1879 with a survey party heading back to Ottawa from B.C.
U.S. Army Engineers: On March 9, 1942, the first U.S. soldiers and engineers arrived to begin construction of an overland route to Alaska.
Over the next few weeks, the population boomed to 10,0000 people and in just over eight months, the 1,523-mile route was completed, with an African-American troop playing a significant role in the construction.
It’s the second work to be completed through the downtown mural project. The first was completed last summer on the south wall of the Mile O Gifts building.
The students who worked on this year’s edition earned between 100 and 130 hours worth of tuition credits, at $8 per hour, through the province’s Youth Community Action program, coordinated by the Obair Economic Society.
The Dawson Creek Art Gallery and the South Peace Art Society coordinate the overall project, with a grant from the city for materials and supplies. Several of the images were supplied by the Historical Society Archives.