Powell River
December 1910 - May 1921

Powell River 1910
The Henderson house to the left and center

It must have been quite a sight for Marjorie when she first viewed Powell River on December 8, 1910 - especially after three months in Europe.  The townsite and mill were still very much under construction when she arrived and as she said:

Helped Mother straighten up the house and it is going to be some work. Went for a walk with Sam this afternoon. This is some kind of place. Crude but busy. - Friday, December 9, 1910

Things weren't quite as bad as the above photo portrays at first glance.  In the upper right corner you can see the permanent houses being built and they were part of the master plan for the townsite.  The Company wanted Powell River to be a Garden City and a showpiece.  The town was laid out with tree lined streets, Craftsman style houses and attractive community buildings. 

Marjorie also didn't have to worry about being lonely as many of her old Scanlon, Minnesota friends were already living in Powell River - Bobbie Scanlon, Sam Brooks, Harry Brooks, Dr. Rexford, the O'Briens and Tracy Fairchild

Within a very short time Marjorie was attending concerts at the bunkhouse and also giving concerts at the cookhouse.  Powell River was very isolated and the towns people had to make their own entertainment.  Marjorie filled her time by helping to put the new house together, sewing, hiking, playing cards and getting out to meet new people in town.  There was a temporary hospital beside the Henderson house and she would often help out there.

Sunday, December 25, 1910 - Christmas

Lighted the Xmas tree. Miss Hancock, Dr. Rexford, Julia and Allen came over and we opened our things. Dr. Rexford and I walked to the top of  "T’s mountain" after dinner.   Took the gramophone over and played at the hospital and after tea went to Mr. Riley’s and had some music with the boys.


Marjorie had quite a number of friends in Vancouver and would occasionally make the seven hour boat trip to the city to stay with them.  She made the most of it when in Vancouver and attended the theatre, movies and dances.  Having been recharged, she would return to Powell River and continue her small town routine and it appears she could slip into both worlds quite easily.

"The mill and steamship"

After her previous very full years, life became a little more subdued but from Marjorie's diaries there is no hint of discontent or restlessness.  The house always seemed to be full of vistors or Marjorie would be attending social events.  As the town became more established more options to keep busy became available.

"Tom Allen family from Toronto and McLellans from Vancouver -
all arrived one Sunday afternoon"

Powell River is situated just south of a wonderful archipelago of islands and inlets. On occasion Marjorie was able to visit small logging camps that dotted the coastline travelling by small Company boats.  Kingcome Inlet was one site where the Powell River Company had logging operations. There was enough timber to warrant the effort and expense of building a small railroad system to transport logs.  At the head of the inlet is the Tsawataineuk First Nation village which has been there long before the Europeans arrived.


"Spent the morning at Turner Island unloading, a grand day. Arrived
at Kingcome at 5. Nels and Shorty in the “Tiniq” met us and took
us up river. Arthur Hall was here this evening."

"This afternoon John took us up to Camp 2 on the engine. Had tea and met
Archie DeLand. He brought me home on the speeder and staid for dinner."

Went up to Camp 2 with Archie on the engine. Had tea with “Boris.”
Came home on the speeder. Arthur and Archie were here for duck dinner. 

Following the First World War Marjorie spent two and a half years in Vancouver volunteering as a V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Detachment) Nursing Sister at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver.

It was also around this time that Marjorie reveals in her diary a serious romance had been taking place over a number of years.  In Scanlon, Minnesota she had met Tracy Fairchild and he appeared frequently in her diaries.   However, she gives no indication of anything more than a friendship but in October of 1914 she writes,

" . . . Tracy took me to the movies this evening.  Broke off my engagement with Tracy.  Hard pulling now but hope it will turn out all right in the end."  

While Tracy continued to appear in her diary they never did get back together and he eventually moved to Bend, Oregon where he died in 1936 at the age of 50.

Powell River life developed into a comfortable rhythm for Marjorie, punctuated by a couple of extended trips, one to Minnesota and another to California.  Activities with her friends seem to have sustained her and they apparently had close, enjoyable times together.  The period of calm was fortuitous because Marjorie, as the new decade began, was about to enter a period of life changing experiences.


© Ken McMillan 2018
Contact: Ken