In the summer of 1865 when Captain Edward Stamp began to organize the construction of a small saw milling operation on the south shore of Burrard Inlet, he likely never realized that a future metropolis was in the making. The fledgling Stamp’s Mill, later to become known as Hastings Mill, was Vancouver’s first community — a townsite inhabited by an eclectic mix of colourful characters from widely diverse backgrounds. Life centered on the iconic Hastings Mill Store, where one came to obtain groceries, hardware, mail and the warmth of human interaction around an oil drum fire. Historic times aplenty unfolded at Hastings Mill. Here residents rallied to assist victims of the Great Vancouver Fire in 1886. Cargo loads of lumber of legendary size and quality were shipped to markets near and far. Dominion Day festivities were celebrated in fine style on a sports field of mill sawdust. Indigenous occupants of the region engaged in mill employment and commerce. Chinook jargon was widely spoken, the multi-lingual trade language of the era. When time and local demographics ultimately spelled the death knell for the sawmill and its weathered structures in 1930, an unlikely group of determined ladies rose to the challenge of saving the Hastings Mill Store, Vancouver’s oldest building.
"Lisa Smith’s impeccable research skills and engaging storytelling brings an important aspect of local history to life. Much appreciated is the detailed account of Kumkumlye, the seasonal encampment where the mill was built." — John Atkin, Civic Historian
Nonfiction. Regional History.
Lisa Anne Smith is an education docent at the Museum of Vancouver and a curator for the Old Hastings Mill Store Museum (the oldest building in Vancouver). She has published a children's book about the RCMP ship the St. Roch. She lives with her husband and two children in Vancouver.Author City: VANCOUVER, BC CAN