Great Fraser Midden, 1908

The Great Fraser Midden, or Marpole Midden, was revealed in 1884 during road construction. Middens often consist of sea shells as well as bones, implements, and other cultural objects, essentially the ancient refuse heaps of First Nation villages. This one, however, turned out to be a major archaeological (re)discovery of a village that occupied a 3.5 acre site from about 1500 years ago until a couple centuries ago and known by its Musqueum name, c̓əsnaʔə. The centre of the midden is the parking lot of the old Fraser Arms Hotel and is up to fifteen feet deep in some places, making it a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts. The discovery of human remains also indicate that it is an ancient burial ground.

Although numerous artifacts, skulls and other remains have already been pillaged by collectors, museums, and archaeologists, much of the site remains intact, but is currently threatened by development in the area. One project, a condo development at 1338 SW Marine Drive, has sparked a call for a protest tomorrow, March 12, the day construction is scheduled to begin.

For more of this history, see Susan Roy, “‘Who Were these Mysterious People?’: c̓əsnaʔə, the Marpole Midden, and the Dispossession of Aboriginal Lands in British Columbia, BC Studies, no. 152, Winter 2006/07

Source: Photo by Philip Timms, City of Vancouver Archives #677-521

Jerry’s Cove Picnic, Tuesday 24 May 1898

Located next to a former Musqueum village site called Ee’yullmough, Jericho Beach was set aside in 1862 as a military reserve base in case of an American invasion. Then in 1865, Jerry Rogers acquired the deed and set up a lucrative logging operation with which he cleared much of what’s now Kitsilano. In the 1870s, Rogers became the first to use motorized logging equipment, ie, a steam-powered tractor to transport the logs to the water. The name “Jericho” is thought to be a corruption of “Jerry’s Cove,” as the site was known during Rogers’ tenure.  

By the 1920s, Jericho was being used as a military base for seaplanes, and in the 1930s for militia training. In the mid-30s, the militia training camp doubled as a relief camp for unemployed workers, the only one in BC that was located within Vancouver’s boundaries. 

The military buildings lingered for years on the site, finding new purposes when the hippies squatted one of them during the lead up to the 1970 Battle of Jericho, and again in 1976 when the Habitat Forum was held at Jericho. 

Most of the military buildings are now gone and Jericho Beach is now surrounded by a huge park, probably best known as the site of the annual Folk Festival. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the first Battle of Jericho that took place there.

Source: Photo by Edwards Brothers, City of Vancouver Archives #Be P120