Stewart, British Columbia, Canada

Stewart BC
aka: Stewart City BC

District Municipality

Incorporated in 1907

Village of Stewart Incorporated in 1930

In Cassiar Land District

Latitude- 55º 56' 18“ N
Longitude-129º 59' 28” W

Located at the Head of Portland Canal

Area was originally the hunting grounds of the Naas River Natives

Captain D. D. Gaillard of the US Army Corps of Engineers came here in 1896, doing survey work.
They built 4 storehouses along the Canal.
The one at the entrance of Hyder AK, is an Historical Monument
Captain David du Bose Gaillard
b- Sept. 4, 1859 Fulton Crossroads, Sumter Co., SC, USA
d- Dec 5, 1913 John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA

Hyder AK was originally called “Portland City” It was changed in 1914

There is some terrific history sites for this area, see links below for more.

Stewart was isolated and only accessible by air or boat for decades.
Until BC Forestry Dept. put up a Swinging man bridge in the 1970's, over the Nass river, and then the one lane wooden bridge, that is there today.

There was only the 40 miles of gravel from Stewart, originally on what they called the “high road”,

BC Tel van on the high road at the Bear Glacier
Photo courtesy Alison Fredericks, daughter ofthe photographer La-Verne Fredericks

The High road was above the Bear Glacier.
This took you to what today is called Meziadin Junction.
From there to the Nass River was a winding 9 mile gravel trail, to the Fish Ladders at the Nass.
This 9 mile trail became part of Highway 37 today.
Of course all this is a 2 lane paved highway today.
Over the years due to slides, they moved the high road down the mountain, and abandoned the high section.
Pictures from the high road above the glacier were impressive.
Today (2014) it has receded so far it is hard to imagine.
all in the last 40 years or so as well.

Aerial of Stewart ca early 1970's
Middle foreground, the First King Edward Motel
on left foreground a portion of King Edward Hotel roof visible
BC Tel / Telus office in centre
Across the St to the left, Hub's Pharmacy

Note- Bios and Genealogy info for names mentioned below,
are listed on this page

Stewart was supposedly founded by a group that were swindled by a promoter named Burgess (Bruges?) from Seattle.
He was to have placed ads in Seattle papers, saying for $25 per person, he would lead them to a placer claim in the Naas Valley.
Close to 84 (64 in another article) miners paid the fee, Spring of 1898,
They left on a chartered American steamer “Discovery”, and landed with horses, and provisions, at a point where the Boundary Line touches Portland Canal.
It became known locally as “Bunco Point”.
When it came time to show the men their claims, Burgess disappeared.
At this point I have read a couple different versions of this story,
so which was right? Let's go with the one below.
The men split up, some making their way back south.
Some remained and camped where Stewart is today.
D. J. Rainey, James W. Stewart, and Ward Brightwell, plus others stayed.
Those that stayed ironically did find riches.
Stewarts found the rich Mountain Boy Mine, with John D. Conway, (who became the Mining Recorder)
and Henry Ward Brightwell, (a Black Prospector).
They sold their claim to J. D. Edgecombe of Seattle for $250,000.00.
This should be J. W. Edgecomb (alt- Edgecombe)

A Mr. W. R. Tonkin and J. W. Edgecomb, and other Associates,
Feb 1910, sold the controlling interest in their company, the Mountain Boy Mining Company, to MacKenzie & Mann

Brothers Robert Stewart and John Stewart, joined James Stewart in 1902, from Victoria, see the Stewart bios Here

But then there is some newspaper articles that claim Mr. F. P. Stewart of Seattle and his son Robert Stewart, owned claims in the Portland Canal area.
and Government Mining articles say the initials were F. P. Stewart as well.
He used to stay at the Dominion Hotel in Victoria
but also seen him at the King Edward in Victoria as well
1911 shows a Frank P. Stewart in Seattle
shown as a miner- res 604 24th ave N.

And then I did find him as Frank P. Stewart
He owned the American Group for 5 years, ca 1902-1907
with John Conway, H. W. Brightwell, and M. I. Stewart.
It consisted of 4 claims on American Creek, 15 miles from Stewart.
It was reported the group was bonded to New York parties
for $200,000.00 ca Oct 30, 1907.
The deal was put through by Martin I. Stewart, one of the owners, and Edward Ellis of Seattle.
So indeed there was another family of Stewarts in the area.

June 1911, German Capitalists were in Stewart, accompanied by Percy Godenrath.
Mr. H. von Graevenitz and his brother-in-law, Lieutenant H. von Tumpling, who was an officer of a Prussian Calvary Regiment.
They were both visiting Stewart with their wives.
They were raising money to build a combined Theatre and Skating Rink.
120 ft x 60 ft.. to be built on the corner of 9th and Columbia St.
They were also building many bungalows.
The Stewart Trust Company was in charge of this work.
The German money also built a new home for the Stewart Club.
They made a trip over the Bear Glacier, Mrs. von Graevenitz was the First White Woman over the Glacier.
The ironic part of this, Mr. Godenrath fought the Germans in WWI, just a few years after this.

Stewart Land Company Ltd. Ad, ca 1911
Picture shows their Company office on the left side,
next R. Boyd Young Co. building,
then the Hotel King Edward.
across the st. on right side of picture, on the corner, is the “The Big Store”
owned by Harry Smith,
all on the corner of 5th and Columbia Sts.
photograph taken by William “Will” J. Hughes,
I've seen the original picture on UNBC archives site.
also in the Stewart Promotion Booklet, EXT link below.

Stewart Land Company Ltd.
Incorporated Mar 20, 1906
Capital $20,000, 20,000 shares @ $1 each

Stewart Mining & Development Company
Incorporated Dec 14, 1907
Capital $100,000, divided into 100,000 shares @$1 each

Portland Canal Mining & Development Company Ltd.
Incorporated May 9, 1907
Capital $100,000, 325,000 shares @ .25 cents each
and 150,000 shares @ 12 1/2 cents each

Portland Canal Mining Company Ltd.
Incorporated Oct 7, 1908
Capital $100,000, 4,000,000 shares @ .25 each

Portland Canal Water & Power Company
Incorporated Jan 15, 1910
Capital $25,000, 2,500 shares @ $10 each

Portland Wonder Mining Company Ltd.
Incorporated Oct 19, 1909
Capital $600,000, 600,000 shares @ $1 each

Of course one of the big mines here later on, the Granduc Copper Mine.
Another the Premier Gold Mine
Lots of history on these online, so not adding info here.

May 1910- large Sawmill was being built.
Single Hotel was already there, with 2 being built.
the original hotel was adding 40 rooms.
Referred to as the Magic Mining City

Of course Stewart shares an International Boundary with Hyder Alaska
BC Tel / Telus served both communities

1910- Northern Hotel (see below)
Stewart Trust Co- 5th Ave
The Stewart Club
Baldwin Block, corner Columbia and 6th

Mar 1911- Fire Hall existed, with Volunteer firemen
Same building still there, It was used as a Museum,
last time I was there, but the Museum has since moved.

June 1911- Block 35 of the Townsite was given up, for a new School, which cost $8500.00

July 1910- Government let the Contract for a $4,000 Court House

1910- Stewart Mining & Development Company

  • Robert M. Stewart- Vice-President, Manager
  • John Wardlaw Stewart
  • William Piggott- President (member of Victoria Stock Brokers Assoc.)
  • Henry Puckle (Brother-in-law of Stewart brothers)
  • Gerald Trevor Johnstone Bevan (Broker in Vancouver in 1910)
  • Arthur H. Piggott
  • Dr. Francis Thomas Thurstfield Stanier
  • Dr. L. Rochefort- Secretary-Treasurer

Portland Canal Mining & Development Company Ltd. were working here on a group of claims, in the Bear River District, a few miles from Stewart.
They had 3 tunnels by Oct. 1908
Headquarters at Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC.
Charles H. Dickie, President and GM of the Company, ca 1909
Capital Stock of $1,000,000
They had 12 claims on Glacier Creek

Portland Canal Tunnels Ltd.

Portland Canal Mining Division- Stewart, Officials
Gold Commissioner- Norman Allen Watt- 1925
Mining Recorder- John Pritchard Scarlett- 1925

Village Officials
1930- Edward T. Applewhaite, Clerk and Treasurer 1930- H. B. Campbell, Chairman of Commissioners (Howard?)

Bear River Map ca 1913
shows Stewart to Meziadin Lake
Mountains, Creeks, and Rivers shown
Link to map and booklet below

Sept 1910 newspapers reported the theft of the Town Wharf by a whale that became entangled in the anchor cables.

by 1911 Stewart had a Telephone Exchange, Water, Power and Light Services

May 1911- 2 wharfs, One for Government and Public, other Railroad use.

1913- Hartley's Hall existed here.
found a George and Marian Hartley that lived in Stewart in Oct 1910. Named after them?

During the 1970's Stewart operated an Indoor Swimming Pool, Skating, Curling Rink, and more.

3 Churches existed by May 1911.

St. Marks Anglican Church

St. Felix Roman Catholic Church

United Church

May 14, 1914
Main buildings in Stewart were destroyed by a major fire, with the loss of $75,000.
Started in the Northern Hotel, the Belmont Block next door, Offices of the Stewart Trust Company, Government Telegraph Office,
and the “Portland Canal Miner” Newspaper office were all burned.
George A. Clothier's Assay Office was dynamited, to stop the fire at that point.
The Mocha Cafe was also damaged, but saved by volunteers.

Dec 6, 1932
Fire destroyed the Hotel Stewart, The Stewart News, a General Store, Northern Drug Company, (Drug Store), a Butcher Shop, and other businesses.
Again they used dynamite, and saved the Government Liquor Store.

Hawkinson's Steam Laundry and Drycleaning
Jacob Phillip “Jake” Hawkinson, Prop.

John Mellor, Groceries, ca 1919

Stewart News Agency, Harry P. Gibson, Prop,
News and Confectionary

T. W. Falconer- Hardware Merchant, ca 1918,
Thomas Wilbert “Tom” Falconer

M. M. Sparhawk, General Store, ca 1918
Minnie Myrtle Sparhawk

Thomas Brennan, Butcher, ca 1919

Northern Drug Store-
1930- J. Allen, Manager

Hub's Pharmacy was the local drug store.
It was established in 1974

Stewart Detachment, was part of the Prince Rupert Police District, Division D

1911- Robert Webster- Police Constable
b- Dec 1865, in ON d- ?

1920- Petrie Shannon “Peter” Jack, Provincial Constable
1925, he was Agent for Canadian National Express on 5th st. and a Public Notary. 1930, Peter was also Secretary of the Superior School

1925- Jack Arlington Williams, Provincial Constable

1930 & 1935- Lawrence Albert Newton Potterton

RCMP were also in Stewart after the Provincial Police closed down.

Sept 1911- Dominion Telegraph line was completed to Stewart

1920- Dominion Government Telegraph Operator- Sidney Guy Lawrence

1948- R. E. Sharp, Operator

Stewart was hoping to be the terminus of the of a transcontinental railroad.

They did build a Railroad up the Bear River Pass, to the mines in that area.
Today Railway Ave. was the location of the rails in Stewart.
By 1929 the railroad was finished.
Portland Canal Short Line Railroad, (PCSLR), 15/17 miles
Mr. John Vincent Rittenhouse, a Mining Engineer,
and Mr. Martin I. Stewart, General Manager,
left on the SS Camosun, June 10, 1909,
These 2 men were involved in the building of the The Portland Canal Short Line Railroad Company,
Company was incorporated in Victoria BC, June 9, 1909.
Petitioners for it, Timothy F. Hopkins, and Martin I. Stewart, Jan 28, 1909
They were 2 Seattle Mining investors.
They formed their company in 1902 in Seattle.
Railroad Co. was bought in Sept 1909, by Mackenzie and Mann, from the Canadian Northern Railway Co.
Sir Donald D. Mann was the chief promoter in this venture.
Canada North Eastern Railroad (CNER) was to connect with it.
In 1911 the Short Line name changed to CNER.
By May 1910- These 2 millionaires bought 90 mining claims in the area.
They also bought as many lots as they could.
They paid $105,000.00 for 160 acres, next to the Stewart Land Co. property, which was on the shore of the Bear River.
They even diverted the mouth of the Bear River, to place their railroad station there.
They planned on a Smelter, Warehouses, Round House, Ore Bunkers, and Shops there.
They planned to build 5 wharves there.
Ore Dock, Coal Dock, Steel Dock, Baggage and Freight Dock, and one reserved for Passengers.
a Government wharf was also planned at a cost of $15,000

Mr. David Owen Lewis, was Superintendent of Construction for the Portland Canal Short Line Railroad, Apr 1911.
Link below to great 1997 article on this railroad.

Canadian Legion Branch # 85
1935- Edward Turney Applewhaite, Secretary
1948- R. E. Sharp, Secretary

International Order of Moose, Portland Canal Lodge #1218
1930- Petrie Shannan Jack Secretary
1948- Alexander “Alex” Russwurm (Jr.), Secretary
They had their own Moose Hall in Stewart

Enoch Lodge #99- Masonic Lodge
Lodge opened in 1923
1948- W. Watts, Secretary
Historic Masonic Lodge building is still standing (2014)

Portland Canal Telephone & Telegraph Company

Mr. Telephone for years in Stewart, Patrick “Pat” Coulter.

Other men that worked there over the years:

  • Bob Hippsley
  • John McPhee
  • Al Pierce
  • Bill Perry (left Stewart in fall 1978 to Terrace Const)
  • Archie Henkey
  • Ron Strumecki and his family lived there for a couple years as well

Portland Canal Miner”- James Cullen, Editor, 1910 (alt- Cullin)
Percy F. Godenrath, Publisher, 1910
1920- Manager and Editor- James Cullin
There was a Charles L. Cullen there, as a road foreman in 1911
can't seem to find Mr. James though.

1925- it shows up as “Portland Canal News”, on 5th st.
Herbert Williams Michell “Bert” Rolston, Editor and Publisher
President of the Stewart Club.
He was also a Broker, partnership with Henry D. Rochfort
Dec 6, 1932 his business burnt down

1935 & 1940- “Northern Argonaut” Newspaper
A. J. Stephens, Editor

more Newspapers in EXT link below

Mocha Cafe, 5th st.
1914- owner ?

1916- Gus George owned a Restaurant, Name? and Grocery store

Exchange Grill -on 5th st,
1920- Herman & Herbert McEwen, Proprietors
1925- Jacob P. Hawkinson- owner
1930-1940- John Andrew Coughlan- owner

Silver Grill- on 5th st.
1925- Jack Ellis, Owner

Good Eats Cafe, 5th corner of Brightwell
1925- David Joinville, owner
b- Mar 11, 1875, in Tecumseh, ON
d- Oct 14, 1971, Bradden Private Hospital, Vancouver BC, age 96

1930- Launcelot “Lance” Craine- Prop

Stewart White Lunch, 5th st
1925- Mrs. Henrietta Osborne, owner
Her husband- John Osborne

Prince George Cafe
1948- M. Lazerevich, Prop.

The Ritz Cafe
1930- Miss Annie Obuchina, Prop.

Stewart Cafe
1930- Mrs. Bertha Stickney- Prop.

Bear Glacier ca 1970's

More Bear Glacier Pictures

My BC Tel History page for Stewart, with pictures

Bios and Genealogy for some of the names from my Stewart Web pages

Granduc Mine Avalanche kills 26 in 1965

Ext Links
Note- NOT my sites, Links may or may not work in the future, as I do not control these pages

Excellent site on pics and history

District of Stewart
click on Discover Stewart for History Section

Travel Handbook

great old pics here

John Boucek

Northern Hotel postcard

Excellent Stewart history here

UNBC archives= great old photos here

“Stewart the Pacific's Treasure Chest” booklet, May 1911
This is one of the best History booklets ever.
great photos, great articles.
by Percy F. Godenrath. Stewart Publicity Club

Shetland Fireside Tales

excellent Mine Report booklet from 1913

Mining report, 1910

Portland Canal short Line Railroad


1929 Mining report

Stewart Museum

Stewart / Hyder Newspapers


  • Last modified: 2021/01/15 15:58
  • by dlgent