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Carbon Monoxide Killed “Happy Mac” at White House Service Station – Assistant Also Found Dead

January 9, 2017

On a Sunday morning in February 1935, “Happy Mac” MacLaren owner of the White House Gas Station, at South Port Mann corner on the Pacific Highway, and his assistant, Rudolf Sauer were killed by Carbon Monoxide poisoning from the exhaust of a gasoline-fueled electricity generator.1935-02-11-columbian-headline

The service station, located at what is now King George Station, opened in 1921 and was taken over by MacLaren in 1928. See earlier post “White House Service Station.”

The business was open 24 hours and the two men were resting inside. MacLaren was found on a bed and Sauer had fallen from a chair to the floor.

It is believed they succumbed sometime after midnight.
John Labinsky, a friend of Sauer, discovered them in the morning.

Andrew Alexander MacLaren, biilled as “Happy Mac” had operated the landmark service station for seven years. He was 75 years of age. His nearest relative was a daughter, Mrs Vernie May Schwab, living in Sarnia, Ontario.

Rudolf Sauer, 32, was a native of Germany. He had worked at the White House for only a few months, since moving from Gliddon, Saskatchewan.

The Coroner, Dr FD Sinclair deemed an inquest.was not necessary.
The two bodies were taken to Surrey Centre Cemetery for internment.

Christmas at Qayqayt, 1905

December 22, 2016

Looking picture perfect, the church at Qayqayt in 1902.

There was a salute of cannon fire at Brownsville wharf on Christmas Eve, 1905 as the Roman Catholic Bishop of New Westminster came ashore to celebrate Christmas  with a gathering of First Nations people from the lower Fraser Valley.

The Bishop was welcomed by Chief Charley before a crowd of 200 persons from Keatsy, Coquitlam, Musqueam and Langley, who


. .. .”assembled on Sunday morning for service, which was pontifical high mass, Rt. Rev. Bishop Dontenwill, O.M.I. being the celebrant, assisted by Rev. Fathers Peytavin and Wagner.”

Sunday was Christmas Eve and,

“At midnight, the birth of Christmas day was heralded by the discharge of four cannons and by midnight mass.”

Later in the day,

“Chief Charley gave a great dinner in honor of the visitors and all had a most enjoyable time.”


When Oysters Were Eggs: Dining Out in 1879

December 21, 2016

Some staple foods were in short supply in the early years of British Columbia history, but  you could count on finding liquor to suit your taste and fresh roasted coffee.

Some restaurant ads from 1879 indicate a plentiful supply of meats and oysters, any style, but, going by prices, a shortage of eggs.

At A. Tenase’s Coffee Saloon and Restaurant, patrons could have “Two kinds of Meat, with Vegetable Soup and Dessert” for-25 cents. but had to check their pockets when tempted by “Ham & Eggs” at 37 cents.

Any and all.restaurants had oysters on hand, served any style and at any hour.

Many eating places operated on demand, and you could always find a meal. Tenase, as well as Sam and Hannah Herring of the Palace Restaurant, advertised meals available 24 hours.

The classiest place to dine on the lower Mainland was Pons Arnaud’s Colonial Hotel.

Of the three Menus shown here one diner was run by A. Tenase, who we think could be Alex Tenase, a First Nations man, one by two Pennsylvania Dutch Americans, the Herrings, and one by the Chinese, Moy Ging.


1879-08-a-tenase-coffee-saloonCoffee Saloon
In rear of Macdonald’s Saloon,
Mackenzie Street
Meals At All Hours
Breakfast –
Mutton Chops, Beef Steak – 25 cts.
Ham and Eggs – 37 cts.
Dinner –
Two kinds of Meat, with Vegetable Soup and Dessert – 25 cts.
Supper –
Tea or Coffee with Chops or Steak – 25 cts
Cup of Tea or Coffee – 10 cts
1879-09-06-fresh-oysters-a-tenases-restaurantCup of Tea or Coffee with Pie, or Bread and. Butter – 15 cts.
Oysters in every known style.
Board, from $4 to $5 per week.
Terms Strictly Cash
A. Tenase, Proprietor.

Samuel and Hannah Herring


Palace Restaurant – The sketched oysters are rather unusual in a newspaper advertisement.

Palace Restaurant
Oyster Saloon!
Front St., Opposite Ferry Landing
Olympia and Mud Bay Oysters in Every Style
Open Day and Night
Private Rooms for Ladies
Every kind of Refreshments and liquors.
Board per week $5.00.
Single meals 50 cents
Restaurant conducted in the European Style
Culinary department under the Supervision of Mrs Herring.
SW Herring, Proprietor.

Moy Ging

1880-08-yuet-wah-bakery-restaurant-moy-ging-propThe Yuet Wah
Bakery, Restaurant and Oyster Saloon.
Armstrong ‘s Building, Front Street
Meals 25 cents
Board per week $4.00
Moy Ging, Proprietor.


Superincumbent Snow Caved Roofs

December 21, 2016

The first couple of weeks of January were significant for snow accumulations locally if the number of building collapses is any indication.

In January 1880 a shed owned by the Herring Brothers and used as a boathouse caved in under the weight of snow “smashing a number of boats.”

On the other side of the Fraser River, in New Westminster,

 “The roof of the large shed formerly owned by Lane & Co., for a store-house for canned salmon, gave way with a loud crash on Wednesday last, owing most probably, to the superincumbent weight of snow.”

In January 1887,

“The portion of the Brownsville cannery fronting on the river, collapsed on Wednesday night last, owing to the weight of snow on the roof.”

1890 – Two Old Cannery Buildings Succumb to Weight of Snow

In January 1890, two old cannery buildings, at opposite ends of New Westminster, collapsed due to the heavy burden of snow.

Laidlaw Cannery Building Flattened

At Sapperton, it was the old Royal Engineers’ storehouse that succumbed.

“A section of the Laidlaw cannery at Sapperton collapsed on Monday night under the weight of snow which had accumulated upon the roof.

The building was completely wrecked and the contents, composed chiefly of cannery furnishings and machinery, were rendered of little value.”

 “Ominous Sound” A Timely Warning  – Two Men Escape As Roofs Falls In At Ewen & Co. Old Cannery

It was at the other end of town that the most devastation collapse occurred, with two men narrowing escaping injury. and galvanizing householders into action to save their own houses.


Wood frame buildings abounded along the Fraser River wharves at the lower end of Front Street and Columbia Street in 1887. – Notman Photo – McCord Museum

“Collapse of an old-timer –

Yesterday morning about 10 o’clock a terrific crash was heard in the vicinity of the C.P.R. station at the foot of Front Street. . . .
For twenty years a long barn-like structure of wood has stood on its piles next to the hardware emporium of Messrs. A.M. Cunningham & Co., extending from Front Street to Columbia Street.

The property belonged to Messrs Ewen & Co., and was formerly used as a cannery.
. . .

The constitution of the old barracks was never very robust and the frail roof was weak with old age.
Scores of tons of snow have been allowed to accumulate on the roof with the result that shortly after Mr EH Port and Mr Frank Scott, an engineer in the employ of the firm, had entered the office yesterday morning an ominous sound was heard as of a general breaking up of all things visible and the west wall caved out.. . .

Both as if animated simultaneously with the same bright thought of self-preservation, sprang to the end wall, when the snow-covered roof crashed down with the report of a young earthquake. Both men were knocked down. . .
This accident, which was so painfully near the lines of fatality, was immediately taken as a practical warning by the householders all over the city, and snow-shovelling from the roofs was the order of the day.

Not much damage was sustained by either of the firms who had goods stored in the collapsed building, and the absence of the unsightly structure is rather an improvement than otherwise.”


On  January 12, 1890 a foot of snow fell at New Westminster, leaving an accumulation of 22 inches on the ground.

Boardwalk on Columbia Street, 1883

December 21, 2016

This columbia-street-boardwalk-1883illustration depicts the boardwalk on Columbia Street, New Westminster in 1883.

The awnings at this time are quite substantial as compared to the fabric awnings shown in the previous post.

Awnings, like parallel versus angle parking, were always pointed to whenever a sprucing up of the streetscape was felt necessary.