Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hotel Alexandria - Huntington, British Columbia - Ca. 1915

Photograph credited to the Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The photo description from the Reach Gallery Museum is as follows:  "C Street (now Sumas Way) showing businesses lining the street: Home Bakery and Restaurant and the Hotel Alexandria. Michael Murphy and daughter, Alexandra Murphy, standing in front of the hotel. As a railway terminus and border town it was believed that Huntingdon would become the "Chicago of the West" but drainage of Sumas Lake opened the way for improved road transportation and spelled the demise of the rail systems."

This is an interesting photograph taken on the Canadian side of the International Boundary, across the border from Sumas, WA in Huntington, B.C.  We are looking west and can see the familiar Moe's Hill above and behind the hotel. The buildings that make up Hotel Alexander on C St.are festooned with patriotic buntings and flags.  It might be either Dominion Day or Victoria Day.

According to Wikipedia, Huntington was named after Collis P. Huntington, a Union Pacific Railroad executive.  Collis Huntington was working with the Canadian Pacific Railroad with the intention of connecting the U.P.R. and the C.P.R., so there would be a continuous line from Vancouver to Seattle then onto California.  The Union Pacific Railroad, the Northern Pacific Railroad, the Milwaukee Railroad and the Great Northern Railroad built lines to Sumas with hopes of crossing the border to Vancouver.   As it turned out, only the Great Northern Railroad made the connection to the B.C. Electric Railway (and the Canadian Fraser Valley).

It is fascinating to have Huntington, B.C. so close that it feels like a continuation of Sumas, WA.  However, Huntington has it's own history and sense of community.  Even though the two towns are intertwined with a shared history, one cannot forget the International Border which separates us. 

This is the first of three pictures featuring the Hotel Alexandria (and attached bakery).  I will be posting the second in this set tomorrow night.  See you then. 

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