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Granite blocks and handsome fronts

March 19, 2014

The granite facing blocks used on the piers of the Fraser River Bridge (1904) were quarried at Nelson Island in Jervis Inlet.

Fraser River Bridge - granite piers

Nelson Island granite was also used on the New Westminster Public Library, under construction in 1890:

  “A little army of stonecutters are at work on Custom House square shaping the Nelson Island granite blocks for pillars and arch key stones, etc., for the proposed handsome front of the Library block on Columbia street.”  

Shown below in 1892, on the entrance level of the Public Library were two shops, one occupied by Johnston’s Boots and the other by Franz Stirsky, Jeweller, a resident of South Westminster who helped establish the Brownsville School.

New Westminster Public Library 1892
The scale of the people to the granite face of the Nelson Island quarry in the photo below, is about the same as that of the people in the Library photo above, the wall being about 10 metres high.

granite quarry - Nelson Island excursion - 1926


In the early 1900s the quarry on Nelson Island was operated by a Seattle firm, the Ellis Granite Company,  and all of the granite was exported to the U.S.

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