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Page last updated December 18, 2014
© Michael Kluckner
Written/sketched 2003: You have to get off the Yellowhead Highway and explore along the railway tracks, about a kilometre away, to find the old parts of towns like Blue River. The Blue River store, across the road from the CN railway and the former station site, is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, commercial buildings left in the valley between Kamloops and the Rockies. At one time Blue River was a divisional point on the mainline, there being a roundhouse across the tracks from the station and the store.
The store was built in 1912 by David McLaren, whose name remains as a second line on the blue sign on the store's facade. Its large upstairs space, reached by the separate staircase with its own door on the right, has been used as a school, a public meeting hall and a boarding house or rooming house. The store was also the town's postal agency. McLaren retired in 1957 and sold the store to Jim and Mary Jane Lamonte, who had come to Blue River in 1954 to run the Beanery in the CN station. (see the GTP page for a couple more stations with Beaneries that are now revived.] It is still locally known as Janie's Store due to the Lamontes' time there. Andreas Becker bought the store in 2001, and Mary Jane Lamonte died the following year, having been predeceased by her husband; he has collected the information above from locals and visitors in the past couple of years.
Blue River was the staging area for roadwork utilizing Japanese-Canadian men during the Second World War. See the pages on that saga beginning at Wong's Market.
From Brad Ursulak, 2014: i worked in that store as kid for Jane Lamont and grew up in Blue River many good memories there went back a few years ago and its not the same my kids still live there.
From Audrey and Larry Kier, 2012: Recently my
father-in-law moved into a care facility and gave us all the
family history he had collected, including thousands of photos,
slides, negatives and extensive written accounts of many of the
local pioneers. Many of the images were taken of various
places throughout BC around the turn of the century and
later. His father was a BC Police officer during the 20's
and 30's, William Kier. We came across 3 pictures of the
Blue River Store taken in 1926.
My husband and I live on southern Vancouver Island on crown pre-emption land granted to his family in the 1860's (not far from Whippletree!!). We have not visited the area around Blue River, but we plan to include a visit there soon, especially to see what is left of the Blue River Store.
from Sharon Negraiff, 2010: I lived in Blue
River, BC in 1957-1959, possibly earlier or a bit longer.
My father ran the beer parlour in the Blue River Hotel. It
had a restaurant, which my mother worked in, as she
was the manager. Mrs Whiteman owned the Hotel. Ethel was
the cook. We used to pick the low bush blueberries, which
there were plenty of and sell them to the cook for $1.00.
(Photos below by Sharon Negraiff)
1959: the side track near the station
1959: the Blue River hotel beer parlour
1959: the CNR Station
An evocative story of life in Blue River appears in Stories from Grandview/?Uuqinak'uuh Adult Writing Group: "Memoir of a Railroad Worker's Daughter" by Patty Grah. "I grew up and spent my childhood in my hometown, Blue River, right near the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I moved there with my family when I was three years old. My dad worked on the C.N.R., the Canadian National Railway. The trains stopped in Blue River for twenty minutes and there was a little cafe at the station we called "The Beanery". Just across the street from there was one of the two general stores in town. In addition, there was one garage, one post office, one Red Cross outpost hospital with 4 beds and the Blue River Community Hall where all the town activities were held. Also there was one school with 3 classrooms where my dad was school janitor. After we finished as far as we could go in school, we had two choices; either we took correspondence (school by mail), or we moved out of town to go to school. We lived in a three-bedroom house on the edge of town. Not far from our house were the railroad tracks. We could see them from our bedroom window. My sister and I used to wave to the train engineers early in the morning when they went by and they always waved back. In those days only some houses in town had indoor plumbing and electricity. The house in which I lived until I was 10 years old had a well outside and a water pump in the kitchen. We used kerosene lamps for light, coal for heat and a woodstove for cooking. At the back of the big old woodstove were five old-fashioned irons that my mother used for ironing our clothes. For bathing, my mother heated up water on the stove and we bathed in a big square laundry tub in the kitchen. And let's not forget the outdoor toilet." [© Vancouver Community College and Patricia Grah, 2003; reproduced by permission]
Note from Denise Derkson (Glen and Willow's Friend), 2009: Just
saw your website byway of a google search for Janie's General
Store in Blue River, BC. I'm sure you'll be happy to know, that
the store is up and running since early 2005. It is owned by
Glen and Willow Macdonald who have reopened the place
since they completed an initial renovation in early
2005. Changes to the inside have been constant, with the most
recent addition of a bank of fridges/ freezer which Glen has
worked on himself. Willow has been busy too, keeping up
with the "Janie's Takeout" part of the store. The locals have
been enjoying her homemade soups, sandwiches and treats. An
unexpected but happy affect of reopening the store is that Via
Rail has taken to stopping by once or twice a week, schedule
permitting, of course. So, next time you are in the area,
feel free to stop by, we'd be happy to give you a cup of
coffee and show off our bit of heaven.
Note from Donna Gray, 2007: My father was a conductor on the CN passenger trains that stopped in Blue River from Vancouver, years ago. I travelled with him a few times back in the late fifties/early sixties when I was just a kid. We sometimes stayed in the bunkhouse and then travelled back to Vancouver the next day. I was wondering if you have any recollection of a beer parlour or pub being there or was beer served at the store? Reason being, I have come across a painting of some cows that my dad claims came from a "hotel or pub?" from Blue River. He purchased it many years ago when the place was either being renovated, sold or torn down. It is an interesting painting and we were just trying to get some history on it. If you can help us out please contact me via this website.
Note from Larry Fex, 2007: I lived in Blue River from 1959 - 1975. My mother worked at the bunk house, my dad was a rail yard Foreman for CNR. Beer was not sold or supplied in the bunk house. Beer was sold and drank at the store close by and of coarse the local hotel which I think burnt down some years ago.