The ghost town of Lumberton BC was once home to a large sawmill operation. It was an orderly place, unlike like most mill towns in the province, and bits and pieces of it still remain. There are the mill buildings, which still stand, along with bits and pieces from the residential area, which have since been obliterated. After standing untouched for countless years, things here are disappearing fast, falling prey to the elements, vandalism and development.
These pictures date from 1990 and I am thankful I had the forethought (at least I think it was forethought), to snap them. The funny thing is that I had completely forgotten about them and they were only found recently when cleaning out a closet.
The first thing ones sees on entering Lumberton is the imposing mill structures. These are by far the largest buildings in town and they loom over an open field. It is very unusual in that they are built of concrete. Perhaps this helped make the place safer in case of fire? My understanding was the machinery inside was state of the art, reflecting the progressive nature of the mill owners. Their empty interiors are now home to some trees. Oh the irony.
The next thing most people see on entering Lumberton is the old Case tractor. It sits near the road, on a concrete pad, almost like a pedestal, and greets all passers by. It’s been there since at least 1983-1984, at the time of my first visit.
The business end of Lumberton was on the west side of town. A logging road now split the place in two and the residential side sits to the east of it. In the woods one could walk in and find fire hydrants and old street signs and other indicators of former habitation. It was actually easy to see how the streets were laid out. There were no building remains or foundations here, even then. This area now has some development on it and the things mentioned likely are long gone or at least now inaccessible.
Not far away is the old rail spur line leading into the plant. It heads toward an number of concrete piers and I assume these were the bases of loading docks where the wood was transferred to waiting rail cars. On a building here an old faded sign could be seen. I think is said BC Spruce Mills, the onetime owner of the mill, however it’s hard to say since the lettering was very faded. This area too now has seen development take place.
The mill was served by a log flume, sort of a large water slide, and trees were floated down from the cutting area. In the winter, tractors and sleds were used to haul the wood in.
One thing of interest at the site is the concrete. In places where it has been broken once can see how they cement was poured. Large smooth river rocks were used as some of the filler, which is overall not as good an idea using smaller rough ones. Angular ones bind together better. Because smooth rocks make for a weaker structure, to compensate the walls were poured very thick. In one broken concrete pier, an old chain was found encased inside, which I guess was placed there as a binder. Sort of like rebar.
Founded close to a hundred years ago, Lumberton was originally known as Wattsburg. Laid out in a orderly fashion, the company town was a family friendly place. Quite a stark comparison to other mill town that were wild rip roaring places.
The town and mill were purchase by BC Spruce Mills in the 1920s and the ruins we see here date from that time. After lumber supplies dried up, the company shut and the town abandoned around the time of the second World War.
The area here has had a fair deal of development since 1990, and some businesses have moved in and some houses built. Things have come full circle and Lumberton is now again host to not one but two logging operations. One sits just east and another south of of the site.
There used to be lots of placer gold activity in the area, and just east of town there were a large number of sample pits to be seen. I think these may have been covered over.
These images were scanned from 35mm prints and have many flaws in them. I am pretty sure they are from around 1990.
Exploring old ghost town can be dangerous. There is typically lots of debris one could injure themselves on, unstable structures, wild animals and so on. Be cautious and take nothing more than pictures.
To see our 2012 visit to Lumberton BC, follow this link…
Lumberton ghost town.
To see the nearby Moyie Falls, follow this link…
Mining under Moyie Falls.
If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!
Location: Lumberton, near Cranbrook BC.