Tuesday, October 06, 2015


ABC Wednesday
October 7th, 2015

The letter is M, for Midway

Not the Midway of World War 2 fame, but a semi-desert village nestled into the West Kootenay region of southern British Columbia - a border crossing into Washington State with
a population of between six and seven hundred.

It is also Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Railway, and when you speak of railways and Midway 
there is bound to be a tale.....

In 1896 Augustus Heinze announced that he was planning to extend his Columbia and Western Railway into the neighbourhood.  There was great talk of mines and smelters in the vicinity and the hope that Midway might become a metropolis of some note.  In 1898 the Canadian Pacific Railway bought the Columbia and Western, extending the railway eastward to Castlegar, - but wait!  In 1905 Jim Hill's Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern steamed up valley and into the settlement and the dye was cast for the Great B.C. Railroad War.  "....but a Canadian war, with the actual battling resembling a hockey  brawl, really..." (D.M. Wilson)  Nevertheless it was earnest and enthusiastic, lasting all of two days with pistols fired (mostly in the air) and the outcome of the dispute  between the CPR and the V.V. & E resulted in the V.V & E. winning the support of the B.C. Supreme Court and being proclaimed victors, commencing regular passenger service into Midway.

That was in the romantic days of train travel.  Now the rail bed of the old Kettle Valley Railroad is a popular wilderness cycling trail stretching as far as Penticton, to the west. 

 At the trail's start the Village of Midway operates the Kettle Valley Museum which highlights the life of early Boundary settlers.

One of these early pioneers was Charles Thomet, who for a number of years  enforced law in the district as a British Columbia Provincial Policeman.   

On his retirement he purchased the grand Midway Hotel, - a safe endeavour, one would think...... 

 Here is his story.....

Midway has settled down to become a quiet and attractive town.  Its greatest
attraction to us, I guess, is that our first born granddaughter and her husband
teach math and calculus in the Secondary School....

...but I have always loved this beautiful Boundary country, just to the east of the Similkameen....

a great place to fish and tube the river

and to hike the many trails, as marked below

a lovely, small, quiet town !!!!!!

One last story......adjacent to the Secondary School is a park in which two trees have grown together when the village was young.

The trees were joined together by Sinixt people as a symbol of the International Boundary Line dividing their people and the Canadian territory.  

A plaque at the site reads:

When the International Boundary Line was being surveyed in 1857-1861 the major portion of the large Indian band then living in this area then moved to the reservation in Colville, Washington.
One of the Indians entwined two saplings, saying

"Though divided we are united still - we are one."

For more interesting Ms make your way to ABC Wednesday
here,  with thanks to Roger and Denise
and their many helpers and admirers.


Melody Steenkamp said...

A travel .... you took me on.... wonderful.... surroundings i perhaps might not ever see ..

Thank you for participating in our weekly Photo-meme. Hope to see you next week, and weeks to come, again.

Have a nice abc-week / -day
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫

Roger Owen Green said...

a bit of history


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Beautiful and interesting place; poor Mr Thomet -- his wife was quite brave to continue the hotel after what happened to him. I'm glad things have settled down some now and it is a safe place , especially now that your granddaughter and her husband are teaching there (of course, as a retired teacher's wife, I know that teaching has its own sort of adventures daily!)...... anyway they have a beautiful and fascinating place to live. And you to visit!!!!

Photo Cache said...

Lovely valley.


K V V S MURTHY said...

Amazing photos..nice text.Good day to you.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

At this rate I shall soon become an expert on the rural history of British Columbia! Another fascinating post.

Reader Wil said...

Hi Hildred! Railways are fascinating they open up the world for us. I like watching " Rail Away". It takes us to unknown places and tells us interesting historical facts.
Have a great week.
Wil, ABCW Team

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a glorious place to live - and such history too.

Joy said...

Looks like a glorious place for those pupils in your granddaughters school to grow up in. Always sad when a railway line is closed but they make great trails to walk and ride.

David Finch said...

You have made up my mind to visit that little museum the next time we go to see "the kids" I have been driving by since 1967 and have watched it get cleaned up and go through various stages of development over the years. I must also make time to visit our own museum that you work so hard to support Mom !!! Thanks for the tour of Midway and particularly the story of the pine tree ...

Rebeckah Leatherman said...

Wow. So much history. I love the very first picture you posted. That view is magnificent.