Surrey History

Mills in Northern Surrey

The bulk of the timber in Northern Surrey was exported to the established mills along the Fraser River and Burrard Inlet. Royal City Planing Mills, Burnette Saw Mill Co., Vancouver Tie and Timber co., Fraser River Mills, Hastings Mill(Vancouver), Ross McLaren Mill(on the Fraser Mills site), and Western Canada Lumber Co.(on Lulu Island). All these mills relied on the supply of quality timber from northern Surrey.

Felling a fir

Logging operations provided the bulk of the timber for established mills along the Fraser River and Burrard Inlet. Some important milling operations also existed in Cloverdale, Newton, Port Kells, Sullivan, and Tynehead. These loggers are working for Fraser Mills, Canadian Western Lumber Co. Ltd.

The railway era stimulated and allowed easy access to the forest lands. The establishment of the New Westminster Southern Railway in 1891 permitted the easy harvest of the timber tracts in east and west Cloverdale, Clayton Heights, and along the south shore of the Fraser. The completion of the BC Electric Railway in 1910, opened up the northwest uplands of Surrey. Most of the mills were located adjacent to the various railways. Most were small, short–lived shingle mills. A few large lumber and shingle mills, however, were established in the early 1900's. By the early 1920's, the best timber in the area had been removed, but the harvesting of shingle bolts went on well into the early 1930's.

However, a few local lumber mills operated in northern Surrey as well as many shingle mills. A logging railway, operated by Port Kells Logging, ran north to the New Westminster Southern line and the Flummer Felt Mill. It drew timber supplies from the head waters of the Serpentine River. Clayton Lumber(1905) and Tynehead Lumber(1921) operated a rail logging operation southeast of the Big Bend and west of Barnston Island until 1932. These operations harvested the timber from the Fraser Heights area.

Mr. Laken had a shingle mill, and the Hadden Family operated a shingle mill and sawmill in Cloverdale. The Hadden sawmill was located on the present Cloverdale fairgrounds next to a pond dredged from Cloverdale Creek. It drew timber from the uplands east of Cloverdale and timber accessible from the New Westminster Southern Railway(NWSR). It operated from the mid 1890s to about 1909 when timber supplies ran out. The Hadden shingle mill was located south of McLellan Road(60th Ave.) and east of the NWSR right of way(176th St.), and along Cloverdale Creek. The closure of both of the Hadden family mills in 1909 was a result of the exhausting of the local timber supply.

Hadden Larken Lumber Mill

The Hadden Family operated a sawmill and a shingle mill in Cloverdale. The sawmill was located on the present Cloverdale fairgrounds next to a pond dredged from Cloverdale Creek. It operated from the mid 1890s to about 1909 when timber supplies ran out.

North Surrey Mills

The Maple Leaf Milling Co. operated lumber and shingle mills in the Tynehead District during the late 1890s to early 1900s. It drew timber supplies from the headwaters of the Serpentine River and along Bear Creek. It was located in the vicinity of the present Tynehead Elementary School.

The Port Kells area had historically been an important logging area. Hand loggers had taken the most accessible timber near the Fraser River. With the completion of the New Westminster Southern Railway in 1891 it became an important log dump and booming ground for timber harvested from Surrey's southern uplands. This timber was destined for the established mills along the Fraser River and Burrard Inlet. However, a number of smaller operations established themselves along the Fraser. Mr. Wade operated mills in three different locations. Milling and remilling remain an important industry in the modern Port Kells District. The S&R Sawmills is the major operator.

Curley at Port Kells

Port Kells was an important log dumping and booming ground. Timber cut from the Surrey uplands was moved by "Old Curley" to the Fraser River at Port Kells. Booms would then be made up to move the logs to established mills along the Fraser River or Burrard Inlet.

The Hyland/Sullivan lumber mill and the Surrey Shingle Manufacturing Co. Were operated by Tom Hiland, Tom and Jerry Sullivan in the Sullivan District. Both mills were in operation by 1902/03. They drew timber supplies from the Sullivan area, and from the uplands west along Panorama Ridge, and north into the West Newton area. A logging railway ran west from Sullivan along the line of Bose Road(64th Ave.) until 1924. The lumber mill had closed by the 1920s due to the decline in timber supplies but the Surrey Shingle Manufacturing Co. continued operating into the 1930s based on local supplies of cedar bolts. Dennison Lumber also operated in the area.

The King Brothers operated the King lumber Mill at the junction of Roebuck(132nd St.) and Burke(76th Ave.) and the B.C. Electric Railway from 1914–1918. From 1918-1929 the operation was known as King Farris Lumber. They located north of the B.C. Electric Railway. They drew their timber supplies from the Newton District and operated the King Farris Railway to harvest timber from the West Newton, Whalley and Green Timbers area. The mill operated to 1929 until local timber supplies were exhausted. This was an extensive logging railway operation, and was the last of Surrey's logging railways which ended an important phase in Surrey's History.

King Farris loggiing railways

King and Farris logged until 1925. They logged extensively in the Newton and Green Timbers areas with the use of logging railways. They ground logged until 1925 then used spar trees. All trees were felled with an axe and crosscut saw. Trees were hauled with steam donkeys, loaded on railcars, and moved to the mill with steam locomotives. Harry Baker drew this map from memory in 1997 when he was in his late 80s. Harry was a best friend of John Tompson of 144th Street and 80th Avenue.(See Tompson Family)

Truck logging

As roads improved throughout Surrey, truck logging became important for stands missed by the railway loggers, or for second growth timber. This truck logging operation was in the vicinity of Green Timbers.

In addition to the major logging enterprises in northern Surrey a number of other smaller sawmill and shingle mills operated. W.E. Laken operated a lumber mill in the Surrey Centre District and cut railway ties and shingle bolts. Dave McNair and Frank King operated a shingle mill on Davis Road(88th Ave.) near Pike Road(160th St.) around 1902-03. The Dimension Lumber Co. Operated on Ranking Road(148th St.) at the B.C. Electric Railway. The Irvine and Wade operated separate mills in the Port Kells District. Other operators existed as singles were skidded from the Clayton District to Fry's Corner on Yale Road. They were shipped out via the NWSR.

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