100 Years ago the Pacific Great Eastern Railway reached Lone Butte

Al Jones’ regular correspondence for the Lone Butte area

One hundred years ago, by the end of this month, the Pacific Great Eastern (PGE) railway reached Lone Butte. A construction camp had been set up in Lone Butte in 1914 and a station house had been built in 1915, but with the outbreak of World War One, the railroad construction had come to halt and ran 176 miles from Squamish to Clinton / Chasm.

After World War 1, in 1918, because of financial difficulties, the Liberal provincial government under Premier John Oliver, purchased the railway and it became a crown corporation. A good sized construction camp was set up in Lone Butte by Captain John B. Bright and the superintendent of engineering, J.A. Murdock. The camp had a kitchen staff of twenty-five cooks and helpers with eleven returned servicemen.

Lone Butte was chosen as a site to construct the water tower because of the good supply of water it could provide for the steam engines. Next year the water tower will be 100 years old. It was with the arrival of the PGE railroad that Lone Butte changed from a railroad construction camp, into a railroad stop and the small town of Lone Butte was built.

When the train began bringing the mail in 1922, the area post office that was located in Fawn Lake was relocated to Lone Butte. By 1924 the Lone Butte Hotel was built and opened for business. By the thirties, there were three stores with enough business for all. Lone Butte was the only railroad stop between Lillooet and Williams Lake within walking distance to the town.

The Alice Singleton Heritage House was actually the first area hospital in the form of a Red Cross Outpost from 1948 until 1958. With the change from steam trains to diesel, the closing of the area mills in the seventies, and the growth of 100 Mile House, Lone Butte dwindled to what it is today.

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