(excerpted from)

HISTORY OF LULU ISLAND  

and Occasional Poems

by THOMAS KIDD

WRIGLEY PRINTING COMPANY LIMITED

1927

page 9

MY LIFE

Great Cause of all, from whom I have my life,

The conscious life to wonder at its source,

 And wonder why the care and pain and strife,

With hope and love, are woven in its course,

And why Death comes to stop that vital force.

These are Thy mysteries that man may not know.

Unasked I am within this universe,

A conscious part to see life come and go,

To know its pleasures and to feel its pains ;

A slave to circumstance, though feeling free.

If, after death, our consciousness remains,

With memories of this life, I hope 'twill be

One of forgiveness---I ask no greater heaven

Than power to Forgive and be Forgiven.

 

page 13

History of Lulu Island

It has been suggested to the writer that he should write a history of Richmond Municipality and in responding to that suggestion he has thought it would make it more interesting and complete to preface it by a short outline of development, of the settlement before its incorporation, and begin that preface with a few remarks on the nature and formation of these islands.

The outline of these islands as they appear on the map shows a close approach to the form of the Greek letter Delta.  We are told that because most of the islands formed by the matter carried down by rivers and deposited at their mouths take the form of that letter, its name has been given to these formations.

Choosing Name

Had not the settlers on the south side of the river at the suggestion of W. H. Ladner, chosen that name in their petition for incorporation, which was in circulation for signature before the settlers on these islands, it is likely that Delta and not Richmond would have been chosen by the latter.

[ 13 ]

page 14

It may be well to state that these municipalities were incorporated in the same year, 1879.  It is very evident that the whole of Richmond and the greater part of the Delta are of the same formation, viz., that they have been built up by the alluvial matter carried down principally by the Fraser River, and the same process is still going on, adding area to these lands.

Geological Upheaval

When the great geological upheaval took place. which threw up the mountain ranges on this border of the American Continent, it left Vancouver Island separated from the mainland by the great trough of the Gulf of Georgia and Puget Sound, with the Straits of Juan De Fuca to connect them with the Pacific Ocean.  In this trough was also thrown up the many islands therein, great and small, and among the latter that which is now known as Point Roberts, which the alluvium carried down by the rivers connected with the mainland and separated Boundary Bay from the original greater bay, which ran up to and beyond where New Westminster now stands.  How much this bay was filled up by the great glacial action, which followed the upheaval, before it released the rivers to begin their work, need not be speculated upon, but that it still left a great deal of filling up to be done is evidenced by the fact that testings made on the west end of Lulu Island, put down over a thousand feet, brought up nothing but silty sand carried down by the river.  And the sand found at that depth shows little difference from that found just below the few feet of grey matter on the surface, of which the rich soil of these areas consists.

[ 14 ]

page 15

Soil Formation

The shallowness of this layer of grey matter on the top shows that until a certain height had been reached in the building up of this area-being about the level of an average low tide-little but sand was deposited, but when that level was reached, the sand being too heavy to be carried to a higher level, then began the deposit of the clayish sediment which forms the top soil.  It may be further pointed out that when these areas reached a height that prevented an equal overflow of the water carrying the grey matter from spreading equally over them, then began a  difference in the quantity and quality of the matter deposited upon them, a difference that would be greater on large areas than on small ones.   For on the outer edges would be deposited the coarser and heavier particles, leaving the inner parts to be overflowed by the water, partly relieved of its load, and carrying only the finest and lighter part of the sediment.

Work of Beaver

On all such areas this process would continue until the inner portions would become shallow lakes the greater part of the year - the existence of which hastened and maintained by the work of beaver, whose dams were built across the small sloughs and streams and these prevented the flow of the water to and from those areas except at extreme high freshets and tides.  Thus the work of the beaver prevented a greater amount of grey matter reaching the inner parts of these lands, and left them almost undisturbed for the growth of the vegetation which has produced the peat areas on these alluvial lands at the mouth of  the river.

[ 15 ]

page 16

There is some evidence to show that these lands were not built up on the outlines as they appear today, but by smaller areas having been built up and afterwards joined together and added to later.  Indeed, this process is still going on and will go on as long as the Fraser River continues in its present course.

Timber Growth

On these Islands, before they were disturbed by the white man, a considerable growth of timber along or near the water courses existed.  A crabapple growth along nearly all the gulf side of both islands was an outstanding feature, with a spruce tree here and there to make its outline, at a distance, among which was one known as the Point Garry Tree and appreciated by mariners entering the Fraser River, but which became a victim to the remorseless work of the Fraser many years ago.  Near the north. end of this row on Sea Island a clump of spruce ended this margin of growth along the gulf side of this island.  The south side of Lulu Island, from the gulf to about half way between where No.2 and No.3 Roads now are, was ba:re of timber and then about a quarter of a mile from the river was a mixed growth of spruce, cedar, hemlock, alder, some yew and on the outside cottonwood, crabapple and elderberry.  This extended eastward until it reached the big slough and its branches until it ended where the peat bog comes out to the river above No.6 Road - some places narrowing down to a scattering fringe, at others widening out to large clumps and containing trees of  considerable size, of which spruce was the largest.  And there is still a sample of what this growth of timber was at its west and east ends of this slough.  East of the peat bog above mentioned, and near

[ 16 ]

page 17

where No.8 Road comes to the river nearly opposite Ewen's Cannery, this timber belt began again and extended with varying width from the river to the upper end of the island.

On North Side

On the north side of the island, with the exception of a small patch of spruce near the river on the small slough about half way between the ends of No.1 and No.2 Roads, a remnant of which is still standing, there was no timber for over three miles, up to near where the Eburne bridge comes on to Lulu Island.  This growth was just enough to give a good fringe to the river bank up to the slough which comes out to the river above the end of No.5 Road near the end of the bridge on that line of  road.  Above that it widened out to cover a considerable area, but is now fast disappearing.

Other Growth

East of this large clump only a few scattered trees marked the edge of the island to its east end.  With the exception of the timber growths mentioned and the peat bogs /which cover nearly one third of the island, the rest of Lulu Island was covered with grass of different kinds and hardeck, with here and there some willow scattered in small patches.  There were also some patches of reeds and cat-tail flags in places not so well drained as others.  The growth on the peat bogs were then much the same as they are now - bull pine, blueberry vines, Hudson Bay tea and wild cranberries.

Sea Island Conditions

The condition of Sea Island was much the same as that on Lulu Island.   There was a large patch of 

[ 17 ]

page 18

spruce timber on the south side which began about half a mile from the upper end of the island and extended westward with considerable width for more than half a mile.  There was also a small patch on the north side of the island not far from the upper end, of which nothing now remains.  On this island, too, there was some peaty formation, but not sufficient depth to have a similar growth as that on Lulu Island.

Wild Roses Grew

Along the water courses, where the timber grew, especially where the crabapple and willow bushes stood close to the edge, wild roses grew in great profusion and to a great height, garlanding the bushes and festooning the trees, whose beauty in June was indescribable.  On the small islands, only Mitchell's Island was thickly covered with small spruce and cedar and on Twigg's Island, known first as Mason's Island, and now as Bell's Island, there were some spruce trees and considerable crabapple.

Good Grass Patches

On the large islands there were patches of good grass, blue joint and red top, which the early settlers found very useful for hay, which could be cut and cured, after the freshets in the river were over, in late July and August.  These grasses furnished food for cattle all the year round. Such was the condition of these islands before the white men began their work of reclamation.  But long before that, they were for many centuries good hunting ground for the Indians as they

[ 18 ]

page 19

were an ideal home for such fur-bearing animals as the beaver, musk rat and mink.   

Beaver Dams

On the small sloughs, the beaver found an admirable place to build their dams and along their edges grew willow in great abundance, the bark of which seems to be a choice food for these animals.  The writer saw proof, too, that they could cut down trees of considerable size, for he saw an alder tree of more than thirty inches in diameter cut down by  them, thrown across a slough, and if one had not known of their presence, one would have thought it had been cut down with something like a large gouge in the hands of an inexperienced woodman, as the cerf was cut all round and sloped both up and down.  On these islands, deer were plentiful and some bear, the first breeding thereon, but the latter swimming across thereto in the early summer for blueberries and other fruit, generally returning to the mainland for the winter.  About twenty-five years ago, a bear was killed in the timber near No.6 Road on the south side of Lulu Island.

Indian Middens

One can imagine the building up of these islands being watched by the Indians, for generation after generation, from their middens on the ridge which is now part of the townsite of Marpole - a midden which, they too, were building up and which took them some thousands of years to accumulate; and, judging from the growth of timber which the white man found growing on it, must have been abandoned by them for over a thousand years.  It is likely this

[ 19 ]

page 20

midden was not abandoned until the flat land lying between the present stream and the bottom of the bluff, on which the midden was built, had reached a height that prevented them from getting their loaded canoes, carrying clams and other food up to the foot of the bluff.  It may be observed that there were some middens built on the banks of the North Arm River and on the sloughs of Lulu Island of considerable size and of the same material as that of the larger one previously referred to, and probably built after it was abandoned.  These small middens would be built during the periods of low tide, in the early spring and fall.

Her Name was Lulu

It is generally believed that the name Lulu was given to the largest island by Colonel Moody, who did so in honor of a young actress who visited New Westminster in the early days, no doubt adding to 'the gaiety of that part of the British Nation.' The writer has no record of how Sea Island got its name.