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Introducing industry into a pastoral setting

August 30, 2014

At the time the colony of British Columbia was proclaimed in 1858,  the bend in the Fraser River above New Westminster was occupied by people of the  Kwantlen and Musqueam first nations.

The government established a Revenue Station here and nearby reserved a small amount of land occupied by native houses .

Samuel Herring obtained a lease of the Revenue Station property in 1860, establishing the first settler farm on the south side of the river, and this bend became known as Herring’s Point.

For 40 years the view of this side of the river changed little:  First Nations houses, Herring’s house and barn, and clearings for gardens.  Behind a strip of trees at the riverbank,  natural meadows subject to overflow in times of freshet, and an extensive bog stretched to the forested uplands.

In 1865 a telegraph line and road was cut from Brown’s landing along the river and around the point. The destination of the road, known as the Telegraph Trail, was Yale BC, while the telegraph line had ambitions to reach the Bering Strait.  The road was more often than not overgrown,in poor repair and little used except when the river was frozen over – it was called a sleigh road.

Herring's Point after 1865

In 1889 construction crews began work on New Westminster Southern Railway.  Herring’s Point was to be the terminus of the railway. A wharf was  built, a hotel erected nearby and the townsite of Liverpool propagated. Not much came of this and the railway passed on downriver to the ferry landing.

In 1902 the New Westminster bridge was built, bringing more trains, but still the landscape altered little.

Herring's Point 1902

Change came with the advent of industrial development around 1920,  the same year the Pacific Highway was paved.

Since then the view from Sapperton to Herring’s Point has been transformed.

Liverpool industries map linkThe following four posts give brief outlines of some industrial plants that established here in the 1920’s.

Locations can be viewed on a Google Map.





First up is  a house building factory, which was a mill cutting lumber to fit a particular house design that could be assembled in another location. The Cut-To-Fit Buildings Company was not much of a change from traditional sawmilling.

The next three industries stood out more and had a greater impact on the landscape.

The Acetate Products factory at the foot of Liverpool Road, where 124 St meets the Fraser River, produced mainly methanol from alder wood.

A creosoting plant, associated with the Dominion Tar & Chemical Company attracted ocean-going ships with cargoes of crude coal tar.

A gypsum plant was built to manufacture wall-board and other products from gypsum brought in by rail and ship. It had its attendant stockpiles.

With the advent of these factories the course was set for Herring’s Point, Liverpool, or Bridgeview, as it was later called, to transform from agricultural to industrial uses.

No longer natural, but not without appeal:  the modern view of Herring’s Point,  as seen from across the river along the skytrain line to Sapperton Station.Herring's Point 2011

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