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Midway Rail Museum

ABOUT MIDWAY

In the 1800's, fur traders, prospectors and white settlers began moving through this
sun-drenched valley. Until then, it had been a traditional hunting ground and place for
gathering the medicinal rock rose roots.

The U.S. claimed this area and all of B.C. north to 54 degrees until the treaty of 1846
set the 49th parallel as the border. But traffic and trade followed the river valleys north
and south. When gold was discovered at Rock Creek in 1859, and U.S. miners came
swarming into the region, Governor Douglas saw that an east-west route through the
interior was vital for maintaining British control. He dispatched an energetic young
engineer named Edgar Dewdney who hacked out a four-foot-wide road from Hope to
Rock Creek in 1860; then with the discovery of gold at Wild Horse Creek in the
Kootenays, Dewdney again tackled the task and pushed the Dewdney Trail on through
the Midway valley in the spring of 1865.

By 1884, Midway had it's first resident, a Mr. Henry Nicholson, and by 1889 Louis Eholt
owned a thriving ranch on what is now the townsite of Midway, known then as the Eholts.
A Montreal-based company bought this site for a smelter in 1892, but that plan fell through,
and a year later the townsite was plotted. The new town's original name, Boundary City,
was changed in 1894 to Midway.

In 1895, the first provincial policeman was posted here and in 1897 Canada Customs
arrived. In 1900, Midway became the western terminus of the Columbia and Western
Railway, (a subsidiary of the CPR). A copy of the Midway Advance Newspaper of
June 17, 1901 carries advertising for five hotels, a meat market, drygoods store, pharmacy,
bakery, wagon and carriage builder, stationery shop, sawmill, and a stagecoach company
in the burgeoning little town.

The decade following, saw feuding railroad companies, litigation, a series of railroad plans,
short lived railroad ventures, and violence all centered in Midway. In November 1905, a
pitched battle with shots fired was waged between CPR workers and a crew of the Vancouver,
Victoria, and Eastern Railway (known as the Washington and Great Northern Railway in the
U.S.) which was determined to run a line north from Spokane into Midway. Expropriation was
granted the V.V. & E., and in 1905 Midway had it's second railroad. Then on July 5, 1910, the
sod was turned on yet another railroad venture - the Kettle Valley Line - to link Midway to the
west coast, with Andrew McCulloch as cheif engineer. The first eastbound passenger train
left Midway on May 31, 1915; the last passenger train on the Kettle Valley Line passed through
Midway on January 17, 1964.

Today, although the tracks have been removed, you can still catch a glimpse of a bygone era.
Stand on the original platform and imagine the hustle and bustle of the old train station, now
converted into the Kettle Valley Museum.

Gold and the railroads shaped Midway's past; service industries, the lumber industry and
tourism shape Midway today.