Aug 232012
 
Lumberton ghost town

The former sawmill town of Lumberton BC is busier now than it has been in years. For ages it was just a clearing with abandoned ruins and debris and ghosts. Now the former community is home to a logging operation (oh, the irony), a trucking firm, a few residences and some out buildings. Some of what used to be has been swallowed up or is now gone, while other bits still remain, including the former saw and planer mills, two massive buildings the can’t be missed, which we’ll concentrate on for this trip.

Unusual in that they are made of concrete these two roofless buildings are not going anywhere soon. I have never heard of any other mill buildings being so built, and this must reflect the progressive nature of the mill owners. Certainly a concrete building was more fire safe than the typical wooden one. I am sure if left alone one could visit them a hundred years from now.

↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ Scroll down for photos and to comment ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

Lumberton was established just over a hundred years ago and was originally known as Wattsburg, the name coming from the sawmill’s owner. Later the town’s name was changed to the present one, after being taken over by BC Spruce Mills in the early 1920s. At that time the operation was expanded and new and better equipment was brought in. The ruins we see now are from this later era. The mill shut down near the start of World War Two on account the dwindling supply of usable timber in the area.

With the town’s only industry closed, there was no other reason for people to stay and all quickly moved away and the town and mill, save for the concrete bits, was dismantled. It remained mostly forgotten for many decades to come.

The building seen here were once the saw and planer mills, the heart of the operation, no the whole town. The walls are thick and if left alone could probably last for eons.

At one time there would have been other structures nearby, support buildings for the milling operation. The flats in front of the buildings would have been for cut plank storage.

Seen in our pictures is an old tractor. All I know about this old Case is that it has been sitting at this location as long as I can remember. My first visits to the area was close to thirty years ago and it was here then.

Also seen at the site was a dilapidated old trailer – I’ve lived in worse! Someone is using one of the old mill building as storage and old truck tires and bit and pieces, and even funky go cart can be seen inside.

In a second interesting irony trees have started to take hold inside one of the buildings.

Some of the logs brought to to the mill travelled along an extensive flume system that fed the operation. Like a giant water slide, logs were floated down from the cutting area to the mill. There are occasional remains to be found of the flume and I recall seeing sections still standing (barely) in the 1980s, in a valley roughly to the northeast. This was near Palmer Bar Lake, which I believe was a water source for the flume.

In the deep of winter they used sleds and tractors to haul the wood in from the cutting area. This author has seen pictures showing sleds piled high with logs – so high it looked to be dangerous. I also saw something called a brake sled, which would be used to hold back the sleds on downhill portions of the trip. These guys were crazy.

From what little I can find, Lumberton seems to have been a nice orderly and clean family friendly place, instead of rough and tumble like most other mill towns in the province. This author has seen pictures of the place in its heyday and it was clearly a model town.

Rules of exploration: show respect, don’t knowingly trespass and take only pictures.

Lots of placer gold mining took place in the area and in the flats just east of town there is much evidence of work being done. There are sample pits all over and other diggings. There are many well known gold producing streams and rivers in the immediate area but the largest and best know is the Moyie River.

I will be interesting to see how much longer these old structures will stand. No longer forgotten, people and industry are moving into the area which is changing the face of what was once a complete ghost town. I have some pictures of Lumberton taken around 1990 showing other parts of the town site (link below). In areas now obliterated or off limits, there were old street signs and fire hydrants to be seen. Very interesting!

Reminder: The buildings seen here in Lumberton are on private property and are not publicly accessible. Do not enter without permission from the landowners.

To see pictures from that earlier visit we spoke of, click this link…
Lumberton ghost town – 1990.

To see Moyie Falls which are nearby, follow this link…
Mining under Moyie Falls.

If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: August 2012
Location: Lumberton BC, near Cranbrook.

  • _______________

    Please share...

    _______________

    Something to say about this post...

    Jump to comments - fast and easy user sign-in, "name only" guest sign-in, or one click social sign-in; plus optional comment subscription.

    Or private message us...

    Email: chrisbigdoer@gmail.com, or use this form...

Old tractor Lumberton

I recall sitting in the same drivers seat 30 years earlier.

Lumberton BC ruins

Our first look at the Lumberton mill remains.

Old mobile home

A fixer upper – heck, I’ve lived in worse.

Lumberton mill buildings

These buildings have been abandoned for around seventy years.

Lumberton BC mill

If left alone, they could last forever.

Lumberton BC

That’s high enough!

Ruins Lumberton BC

The irony, trees grow on the inside of the mill.

Lumberton BC remains

The walls are quite thick.

Lumberton ghost town

Nature takes over.

Lumberton BC concrete buildings

The larger of the two buildings is being used for storage by a trucking firm.

Funky go-kart

Eric finds a funky go-kart.

Ghost town Lumberton BC

One last look before we go.

We recommend...

Join the discussion...

17 Comments on "Lumberton ghost town"

Subscribe only
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest
Jalpie
Guest
Jalpie

This is wonderful Chris and Connie you two do so many interesting things.

Jalpie from Italy

Jill 19
Guest
Jill 19

Are the old mill remains are all that’s left in Lumberton?

Guest
ChrisBigDoer

Some of the area has been developed with houses and industry occupying the land that was formerly the town site. That means some of what used to be seen is no longer. Sad. To see what it looked like in the 1990s, go here….
http://www.bigdoer.com/4945/exploring-history/lumberton-ghost-town-1990/

Raymond M
Guest
Raymond M

Beautiful, I’ve wanted to see this place for some time now!

Elaine D
Guest
Elaine D

Great piece of BC history–thx for sharing. :>

Triple J
Guest
Triple J

Good post. My great-great grandfather lived in Lumberton back in the 1930s. I remember him telling me about the mill and the flume and skidding logs in the winter. He said it was hard work, but also the best days of his life. You are correct, as at least according to him, the town was quiet, reserved and orderly. Unlike most logging camps or towns.

Guest
ChrisBigDoer

Amazing, I would have loved to hear his stories.

Edward Kydd
Guest
Edward Kydd

My Dad was Camp Superintendent of B.C. Spruce Mills in the 1920s when I was in grades 3 and 4. There were about seven camps working at that time. The men used double bladed axes and two man cross cut saws. Horses hauled logs to the flume which floated them several miles to the mill in Lumberton. The flume was built on a trestle which ran along the side of mountains and crossed at least one valley. One week,I had spent a week, during the sum me, with Dad visiting the camps. As we were walking along the flume and crossing a valley, I spotted an elephant, which had escaped from a circus in Cranbrook. When we arrived in Lumberton, we went to the RR station and the agent sent a telegram . Our reward was tickets for the family to see the circus.

Lexi (Goodman) Jamieson
Guest
Lexi (Goodman) Jamieson

Your father may have known my father. He was the sawyer at Lumberton from about 1928 until August 1939 (ed: corrected at poster’s request). My brother attended elementary school there.

Landowner
Guest
Landowner

We are happy you like the old structures. Please keep in mind coming on my land and taking pictures in my yard is no different than me going to your house and sitting on your back deck and taking pictures through your windows, and then posting the pictures of your belongings on the internet. This is all private land for about 2 kms up Lumberton Road.

Cody Kapcsos
Guest
Cody Kapcsos

Chris, you really should talk to my Uncle Dewayne, he lives right in Lumberton next to the old schoolhouse foundation. He knows a plethora of history about every building there. He has tons of historic photos as well.

Cody

Brian Piper
Guest
Brian Piper
Hi Chris. Thanks for sharing! My Grandpa, Harold Piper was born and raised here. His Dad (my Great-grandpa) Harold Sr., worked at the mill until it closed. After that, they ended up moving south to Pendleton, OR. for some time, until finally settling in Spokane, WA. around 1939. I grew up playing hockey in the Kootenay International League, so we played a few ‘away’ games in Cranbrook a couple times each winter. My Grandpa always told me stories about growing up here and always said, one day we should go up and have a look at what was left of ol’ Lumberton. Finally, in August 2013, at the age of 43, my wife, our three kids, my Mom and Gramps made the trip up. Once we arrived, we parked and gently made our way to the edge of the property. Upon doing so, we met a nice woman who we… Read more »
wpDiscuz