CHAPTER THREE

 

STATION FIRE

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When Pacific was chosen as the Divisional Point on the railway, this called for many additional buildings. First was needed a roundhouse, a circular-shaped brick building containing stalls for locomotives. Below the track in each stall was a pit where men could work on the engine from beneath it. There was a large turntable to turn the locomotive into whichever stall it was to go. There were also shops for major repairs.

Railway Station in Pacific,1929Next they needed a station, and the one in Pacific included a good-sized restaurant and a kitchen for food preparation. There were living quarters upstairs and a large supply of coal in the basement. But the remarkable part of this station was its waiting room. It was very large, and was used for many years by the school for Christmas concerts, and the by the community for parties.

The whole station went up in flames in the 1930ís and Jack tells of rushing into the burning building to rescue theFire, Pacific Railway Station station agentís typewriter. A woman from the restaurant pled with him to go upstairs and bring down the four hundred dollars she had left under her pillow, but it was impossible to enter the building by then. It was totally destroyed.

It was replaced by a small station, and a box car was converted to a restaurant. In time Nels Thompson built a sturdy community hall which still stands in good condition today.

Tom had a younger brother, John Stevenson McCubbin, known as Jack, who was born May 2, 1884, in Ayr. He came out to Prince Rupert in May 1911, and probably found employment in the district although little is known of his whereabouts during the next three years, except that he was a patient in the Hazelton Hospital in September 1913. He joined the army, and served overseas, 1914-1918. He came back to Pacific after the war with tuberculosis, and spent the summer in a tent near Tomís store. Jack left for California that autumn, and married Gwendolyn Profit, a nurse, in Los Angeles, in 1924. They visited Pacific once after their marriage. He died in El Cerrito, California, on October 5, 1926 at the age of forty-two. There were no children.

Elizabeth McCubbinTomís widowed mother, Elizabeth, came out from Scotland to make her home with Tomís family in Pacific in 1918, at the age of seventy. Her possessions, in large trunks, and her grandfather clock came by way of the Panama Canal some months later.

One can only imagine what adjustments this elderly lady had to make. She was a slim, dignified, old-fashioned lady who made her presence felt in the home. She was a strict disciplinarian, yet had a good sense of humor. She usually dressed in a long black or dark-colored dress and wore a little lace-trimmed black cap. Lizzie must have resented this intrusion on her family life, but accepted her graciously for Tomís sake. She died at home in Pacific on September 18, 1935, and was buried in the Terrace Pioneer Cemetery.

I always felt that the McCubbin home was a warm, friendly place, and I enjoyed my visits there. One year when I was there, at least five other young girls around my age were also visiting. I can remember the big crowd around the large dining room table, everyone talking and laughing, and enjoying themselves. Even the walk down the back path to the privy did not seem to be a drawback in those days. Yes, they were happy times. Perhaps the fact that I met my future husband, Jack, in that home makes the memories especially precious.

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