History · Travel

Wordy Wednesday: abandoned between the Rudy Johnson and Quesnel

I had intended doing a “Wordless Wednesday” blogpost but realised that just wouldn’t be possible. Instead, here we go with abandoned places between the Rudy Johnson Bridge north of William’s Lake and my current hometown Quesnel here in western Canuckistan.

The Rudy Johnson bridge (which is still very much in use) spans the Fraser River downriver from Soda Creek. It had been lying in a gravel pit in Alaska when Cariboo farmer Rudy Johnson decided to buy it in the 1960s, disassemble it into over 3,300 pieces (not counting the nuts and bolts) and ship it all the way to where it now stands. His crusade to span the Fraser was launched after his wife almost drowned in 1967 using the local ferry upriver from their farm. The ferry and hanging metal cage they had been using for years to cross the river had always been an inconvenience, but his wife’s brush with death catapulted him on his quest.

In all, the bridge itself cost Johnson $40,000 and another $200,000 to install where it now stands. As reported in The Mouth of the Kenai newspaper, “Johnson attempted to convince the provincial government to pay for and take control of the bridge, but he was rebuffed. To recoup some of his investment, he began charging a toll to commercial vehicles, while allowing private vehicles to pass freely. Ten years later, the province opted to purchase the bridge and assume control of its maintenance. Despite the official takeover, however, the bridge never lost its identity as the Rudy Johnson Bridge.”

Rudy Johnson Bridge (3) Rudy Johnson Bridge (2) Rudy Johnson Bridge (1)

The rest of the photos I shot on my way back to Quesnel from the bridge.

Old farmhouse on the Wiliams Lake Cut Off Road. The farm is still functioning, but it seems this home has fallen into disrepair.
Old farmhouse on the Wiliams Lake Cut Off Road. The farm is still functioning, but it seems this home has fallen into disrepair and is uninhabited.
Our Lady of Good Counsel church in the Xats'Ull Town Site.
Our Lady of Good Counsel church in the Xats’Ull Town Site.
A cabin on the escarpment in the Xats'Ull Town Site.
A cabin on the escarpment overlooking the Fraser River in the Xats’Ull Town Site.
Basketball backboard at an old school site in McLeese Lake
Basketball backboard at an old school in McLeese Lake.
A photo of McLeese Lake from the Resort Motel which is closed and up for sale.
A photo of McLeese Lake from the Resort Motel, which is closed and up for sale.
An old farmhouse on the Cariboo Highway, around Marguerite
An old farmhouse on the Cariboo Highway, around Marguerite. (I’m told this is actually a barn, stable or chicken coop.)
An old house on the banks of the Fraser River
Shack on the banks of the Fraser River. (This was apparently the old site of the Marguerite Ferry.)
Twas once a stove (inside the shack).
Twas once a stove (inside the shack).
A collapsed ceiling in the shack.
A collapsed ceiling in the shack.
K n C’s Diner, Fort Alexandria. Not abandoned, but closed for the winter.
K n C’s Diner, Fort Alexandria. Not abandoned, but closed for the winter.
“Our Lady of Perpetual Hope” at the top of Chinn Hill, which was founded in the 1940s and closed in the late ’60s.
“Our Lady of Perpetual Help,” which was founded in the 1940s and closed in the late ’60s, at the top of Chinn Hill.
A beached boat just past “Our Lady of Perpetual Hope.”
A beached boat just past “Our Lady of Perpetual Help.” Every time I drive past I wonder about its story, which is apparently linked to the Mennonite community.
Alexandria Elementary, which closed at least 30 years ago.
Alexandria Elementary, which closed at least 30 years ago.
Rusting jalopy, Alexandria
Rusting jalopy, Alexandria
The burner from “Mathesons’ Sawmill” in Fort Alexandria.
The burner from “Mathesons’ Sawmill” in Fort Alexandria.
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