Valemount Community Album
A museum is the memory and conscience of a community. In Valemount's case it is also a physical expression of the will and power of a small rural community. Believing in its future, the village put forward the manpower, money and imagination to create a keeper of its past and a tangible belief in its future. It takes commitment and belief to maintain a museum and archives in a small community. Valemount has not shied from the task.
The original train station was constructed at Swift Creek in 1914, named after a mountain stream flowing into the McLennan River there. Kennedy and Moore established a sawmill, providing employment and materials for the community.
In the 1950s the railway company moved the station house about a mile south of Swift Creek and called the new location Valemount. The community prospered and the region grew. The transportation network developed to include modern highways. On November 15, 1981, the last passenger train rolled through Valemount. The station received little use and fell into some disrepair.
In 1987 the Valemount Historical Society initiated an act of faith that some may have thought foolhardy. They bought the station house and freight shed for $1 and immediately set to work raising both funds and public consciousness. Valemount was certainly equal to the task. Along with the money and labour the collection was amassed. The community created its long term memory in the museum and archives. By 1990 the site had been secured and prepared and a foundation constructed. The station house and freight shed were separated and moved to the site where they were accurately re-joined.
The work increased as both exterior and interior surfaces were restored. It was an amazing labour for a small community and it was done with love and pride. Since the grand opening of the Valemount Museum and Archives building in 1992 the work has continued - collecting, conserving and presenting the history of the community and region. The Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History is honoured to be a partner in a small portion of this work, presenting the photo collection to the public for its study and use.
The Valemount Museum and Archives speaks volumes, by the very fact of its existence, about the pride of place and strength of community inherent in the town of Valemount.