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Page last updated December 16, 2013

© Michael Kluckner

The Dewdney General Store. It is probable that the single-storey section behind the boomtown front and nearest to the tracks is the 1904 store built by Mr. McIntyre, which originally faced the railway tracks and stood next to the long since demolished Dewdney Station. At some point around 1914-16 the two-storey section was built, and perhaps then the old store was skidded up against it to complete the store as it exists today.

Written/sketched 2001: The old Dewdney General Store, on the Lougheed Highway east of Mission, is an interesting landmark, not as historically significant as the nearby Kilby General Store, perhaps, but one of those roadside icons I look for whenever I head east through the Fraser Valley. The road in the distance crosses onto Nicomen Island, traverses the island, then recrosses onto the north shore of the Fraser River at Deroche.

The green dots added to the 1920s map above for clarity show Dewdney on the left and Deroche on the right. The City of Mission is just to the left of the edge of the map.

Dewdney, named for surveyor Edgar Dewdney who was the namesake of the Dewdney Trail amongst other achievements, was one of the early agricultural municipalities in the Fraser Valley, settled about 1867 by N.C. Johnston and Robert Grenville McKamey. Incorporated in 1892, it was bankrupted by the stupendous 1894 floods and disincorporated itself in 1906. By that time, the riverboat era had ended and, with improved roads and the beginning of the automobile age, the store at the old Johnston's Landing, dating from 1891, was closed and the business re-established next to the Dewdney CPR station. A man named Cox bought it in 1908, then the Watson family bought it in 1911.

The Watsons' store became the post office, and in 1917 Ida Kate Watson became postmistress, serving in the position until shortly before her death at the age of 93 in 1948. Her son Morton, who operated the General Store, then apparently took over from her. Her predecessors as postmaster were A.W. McIntosh in 1891-2, J.J. Barker from 1892-1911 and his daughter (?) Miss A. Barker from 1912-1916.

Two photos from Deroche, the left one from 1914, the one above from 1947. I gather that the store was demolished not too long ago for a road widening that never actually happened. Stores such as these used to dot the Fraser Valley along the Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road. Another survivor is the store and post office at Whonnock.
Photos courtesy of Mission Community Archives. The two small parapeted stores in the middle of the photo above still exist.


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Artwork and text ©Michael Kluckner, 2001, 2002