So... a bit more background to the 'hullnumbers' post of several years ago.
Brownsville, the area of Surrey on the Fraser around the Skytrain bridge, was established by Ebenezer Brown, a New Westminster liquor merchant, who bought the land in the 1860s and built a modest wharf where steamers heading upriver could tied up. Brownsville became the western terminus of the Semiahmoo Trail in 1872... it followed, in part, the route of what is now Old Yale Road eastward.
The first ferry on the route, which I believe was operated by Brown, was the K de K, short for Knivet de Knivet, named for one of two people who are minor players in this particular history. It was described as being a rather primitive vessel- as evidenced by 'hullnumbers' photo, not much more than a powered barge, constructed at a cost of two thousand dollars. It began operating in 1884, but was replaced by the much more legitimate looking Surrey, built for ten times that sum, in 1889. By that time, the city of New Westminster had taken over the service, and more elaborate slips were built to receive the vessel.
One way fares were ten cents for a child, pig or sheep, twenty five cents for an adult, and a dollar for a wagon and team. At the time of the Surrey being put on the route, there were twelve round trips a day.
The Fraser River Bridge opened in 1904, and it signalled the demise of the ferry service. It was a two level affair, with rail below and a roadway atop, and was torn down in 1937, after the Pattullo opened. It doesn't seem to be recorded when the ferry service ended, but it may have continued for a time after the bridge opened.
This photo shows a different looking Surrey from the shot posted by 'hullnumbers'. I'm assuming the photo he found is of the ferry as originally constructed... but who knows.
It strikes me that this story may yet have an interesting update. The area around the skytrain bridge and Pattullo, on the Surrey side, is currently industrial. I can't see it remaining that way for long, given what has happened to metro Vancouver's waterfront pretty much everywhere else. There is actually a nice little beach with adjoining park just east of the skytrain, and I would be surprised if urban development, in the form of condos, retail, and promenades doesn't take over this area. If that happens, a passenger ferry, perhaps an extension of New Westminster's current Q to Q operation, would be a great link between Westminster Quay and a Surrey residential district. A hundred and twenty years after the Brownsville ferry shut down, it might be reborn.
Photo from the Surrey Archive, but it is originally City of Vancouver Archives, BO-P.296N.129 Background also from Surrey Archive material.
Post by Starsteward on Mar 1, 2019 11:01:51 GMT -8
I've spent many hours as a young boy, later on as a young lad fishing on the 'Brownsville Bar'. That spot was one of my Father's favourite spots to get away from the noise of the plywood mill at which he worked that was located further up-river on the north side. Early mornings, sometimes a bit foggy, plying our hooks with dew worms or red fish roe, casting lines into the still-barely visible waters further from the shore.
Drinking coffee from the plastic mugs that also served as the thermos bottle cap. Hated the taste sometimes when Dad had put a bit too much canned milk into the thermos before filling it with coffee. But is was about the time spent. Thanks Dad.. Miss Ya.