Cominco photographer Jack LaRocque captured this wonderful image of a well-liked Castlegar ferry operator

COLUMN: Drawn into the currents of time

In time for BC Heritage Week, the Castlegar News is pleased to introduce a new columnist.

As we grow older, we all become historians. The passage of time and the fading of youth lead us into casting longing glances at what always appear to have been simpler times. For many of us, our historical perspective remains fairly limited, remaining centered on our own past experiences and perhaps those of our extended family. Many, however, are drawn deeper into the currents of time and seek out a connection to a wider universe. In following these longings we connect to new vistas and extend our own horizons.

I experienced that longing for the past at about the same time as when I started developing community trails. The twin interests blended into a single vision: natural trails that would provide a setting for a walkabout would also serve as conduits in time. To accomplish this, I set out to develop a number of interpretive panels that were meant to ignite an interest, which could be nurtured further by related essays on my website, called Trails in Time.

Fairly recently I developed a Facebook appendage for that effort, under the same title. In spite of my early misgivings, I have adapted it to my cause. It is an easily accessible archive of local and more distant history, based on captioned images that are organized into albums (by topic). Each album can then be viewed as a slide show. I suspect most of my visitors have not engaged properly to read the story line. Clicking on any photo will enlarge it and put the viewer into the slide show that it is a part of. Clicking on the arrows in the image borders changes the slides.

My current effort here is two-fold. There will be weekly postings of a captioned history photograph under the title Retrospectives. That is the title I used for my displays on West Kootenay Power and Light Company history at the Castlegar Public Library. The display was meant to complement the permanent exhibit on the pioneering electrical utility which I helped to develop for the Castlegar Railway Museum. Almost all of the photographs to be displayed are products of my darkroom, in most cases from original negatives. Some were printed from secondary negatives, obtained by copying a photograph on a copy stand.

About once a month I will contribute a history essay on a topic of regional interest, under the title Time Windows for the series. That term was meant to be the subtitle for my next Trails in Time book, with each chapter being a window into the past. The essays to be presented here will of necessity be much shorter, but hopefully they will provide a few highlights from our rich cultural tapestry.

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