Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

Hundreds of old prints are part of a sale of rare photographs from early Vancouver and BC.

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Most Vancouverites have heard of the great fire of June 13, 1886, which turned Vancouver into ashes.

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Not many people know that there was also a big fire in New Westminster, on September 11, 1898. But a few rare, old platinum prints of the aftermath of the fire have appeared for sale in a new catalog from Wayfarer’s Bookshop, Vancouver and British Columbia in early photographs.

The ghostly images were taken by Stephen Joseph Thomson, and show smoky streets where buildings have been reduced to shells. The people who see the destruction look like shadows.

Both images are very powerful and sell for $ 750 for both. But this is much smaller than what an original of HT Devine’s famous Great Fire photo of Vancouver sells for. Unfortunately, there is no Devine Great Fire print on the sale. But there are 30 Devine photos up for grabs, taken from an album purchased by Eric and Alisa Waschke from Wayfarer’s Bookshop.

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Still, some of Devine’s lesser-known images are just as interesting. In 1889, for example, he took a photograph of what appears to be two couples and a child posing in a gazebo with a thatched roof. It looks like something from the South Seas. But Devine has etched another spot on the negative: Prospect Point, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC

There you can just see?

The thatched house with the thatched roof became known as the “cottage” at Prospect Point, which was sometimes called the observation point in the 1880s-90s.

HT Devine's picture of the cottage at Prospect Point in Vancouver's Stanley Park, about 1889-90.
HT Devine’s picture of the cottage at Prospect Point in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, about 1889-90. PNG

One of the reasons the Vancouverites wanted to go to Prospect Point was to see ships pass through the first narrow. In early Vancouver, the most famous local vessel was the SS Beaver, a steamship wrecked on the cliffs below Prospect Point on July 26, 1888.

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At one point before that, Harry Devine took a photo of the beaver before sailing to a lumberjack, filled with provisions in front and oxen in the back. Yes, oxen. It’s on sale in the catalog for $ 1,250; Prospect Point gazebo shot is $ 375.

The most expensive Devine photo on sale is a print of his famous photo of Vancouver’s first council meeting in a tent after the big fire, which is $ 2,500.

There is a very rare Devine photo of Gastown, before the fire, for $ 1,750, several photos of gold mining in Fraser Canyon and some scenic photos taken along the Canadian Pacific Range, including a wonderful print of an old steam engine crossing the picturesque Salmon River Bridge ($ 850).

HT Devine's photo of the SS beaver in 1888. Note the oxen at the back of the ship.
HT Devine’s photo of the SS beaver in 1888. Note the oxen at the back of the ship. Photo by HT Devine /PNG

The catalog contains a total of 100 photos and can be obtained by sending an e-mail to info@wayfarersbookshop.com. It features photos from many prominent early BC photographers, including the Bailey Brothers, Trueman and Caple, Richard Maynard and Frederick Daly.

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Daly took a remarkable photo of a salmon structure constructed by First Nations on the Cowichan River on Vancouver Island. (A salmon calf is a structure designed to divert and catch fish in the water.) Another Daly image of a salmon giant was in an album of BC photos presented to Queen Victoria. This print is $ 1,500.

Frederick Dally's 1866 photo of a First Nations salmon calf on the Cowichan River on Vancouver Island.
Frederick Dally’s 1866 photo of a First Nations salmon calf on the Cowichan River on Vancouver Island. Photo by Frederick Dally /PNG

Trueman and Caple were only in operation for four years between 1890 and ’94, but produced some fabulous pictures along the CPR line and in the city, including a lovely photo from 1891 of two trams from Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Co., which later became known as Interurban. The picture shows the trams at Central Park in Burnaby, and has already been sold to the Burnaby Museum.

Waschke trades in rare books, ephemera and photos from around the world, and many of the images in the sale were discovered during his travels.

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“Some of the things I bought in California, a bunch of things came from BC, some have been bought in the UK,” he said. “They wanted to be sold as tourist items, but people also moved. (Maybe) someone who lived in Vancouver in the early 1900s bought them and then moved to Toronto. “

Most items on sale are prints, but there are also some “real photo” postcards from the early 1900s, including a picture of “Riveting the Last Spike” on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway at Fort Fraser on April 7, 1914 .

“(The famous) photographers tended to photograph large, iconic scenes, whereas with the right photo cards you get a lot more variety,” he said.

jmackie@postmedia.com

A real photo postcard with 'Riveting the Last Spike' on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad at Fort Fraser on April 7, 1914.
A real photo postcard with ‘Riveting the Last Spike’ on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad at Fort Fraser on April 7, 1914. PNG
W. Chapman panorama of False Creek, Yaletown and the West End, circa 1890.
W. Chapman panorama of False Creek, Yaletown and the West End, circa 1890.
A true photo postcard from Kitsilano Beach, circa 1910.
A true photo postcard from Kitsilano Beach, circa 1910.
Stephen Joseph Thompson's photograph of the aftermath of the great fire in New Westminster, September 11, 1898.
Stephen Joseph Thompson’s photograph of the aftermath of the great fire in New Westminster, September 11, 1898. Photo by Stephen Joseph Thompson /PNG
Trueman and Caple's 1891 photo of two trams from Westminster and Vancouver Tramway co.
Trueman and Caple’s 1891 photo of two trams from Westminster and Vancouver Tramway co. PNG
Bailey Bros.  photo of Granville Street and the east side of downtown, 1890s.  Taken from the first Hotel Vancouver, which was in Georgia and Granville.
Bailey Bros. photo of Granville Street and the east side of downtown, 1890s. Taken from the first Hotel Vancouver, which was in Georgia and Granville.

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