The Birth of Logan Lake – 050102
In the heart of Gold Country in the early 1970s there was a brand new town offering golden opportunities to those who dared to come. One of the newest and youngest towns in British Columbia, Logan Lake was built on the copper potential of the Highland Valley. And how long does it take to build a town from scratch? Not long when there is will, cooperation and, well, copper, lots and lots of copper.
Ranchers had been settling in the area since 1870. By the early nineteen hundreds it was miners who came to the valley. Copper porphyry was abundant in the area. Those willing to experience the trials and tribulations of mining soon staked claims. In 1910 well known surveyor Frank Cyril Swannell explored and mapped the Highland Valley.
The intense labour and great distances to take copper to a smelter did not prove as economical as they had hoped. It was a long haul by horse drawn wagon on steep dirt cattle trails through the Highland Valley to Ashcroft and beyond. Many dreams of wealth were dashed and claims and mine shafts soon abandoned.
It was the mid-sixties before technology would be available to present the copper mining industry with a more feasible and economical approach to mining in the Highland Valley. Alongside other mining ventures, Dr. Egil Lorntzen, a geophysicist, after exploring and staking claims in the area, saw the real potential in excavating and removing the large quantities of copper.
With substantial investing and mine engineering, the mining excavation would soon begin. And so would the construction of a town to provide homes and services to those few who were currently employed by Lornex and those many that soon would be.
Summertime 1970, excavation for utility services underground and surveying for housing began. It was phase one of the new town. Housing starts began in the early winter and hay bails were used to insulate the basement concrete and water lines to protect them from freezing.
In the meantime while the town was being erected, literally from the ground up, Victoria appointed John Aldrich from Lornex as Mayor, and Councillors Douglas Guild, Russell Scott, James McDonald and William Gilmore. The Village of Logan Lake was incorporated and M.L.A. Phil Gaglardi presented the provincial flag.
All the town and district services were built in one area providing easy access. The town hall with council chambers, town clerk’s office and Lornex housing services were all together in the municipal and district building. Next door were the Fire and Rescue services and RCMP, while public health was across the road. Retail shops and the library were all built in a pedestrian only mall. Lornex donated the eight hundred thousand dollar construction costs for sewage and wastewater services and a television repeater station. A recreation society was formed and Lornex donated money for the playground and sports fields, as well as, the construction costs for a community recreation centre.
At the beginning of August 1971 the people came. Entering onto Galena Drive, the first phase of housing was completed and wound onto Beryl and Amber Drives. There were eighty homes, five condos and thirty trailer lots ready for residents. The school was completed by enrolment date. The brand new town of Logan Lake was now populated.
A little more than a year after its inception, the inaugural ceremony took place on November 13, 1971. Phil Gaglardi presented the town seal and gavel to Mayor Aldrich. The Village of Logan Lake was now official.
The copper of the Highland Valley is a valued metal. More importantly, the Highland Valley copper from the Lornex mine laid the foundation for the birth and growth of a newly erected town. In the seventies Logan Lake provided many golden opportunities for young families. Today many families still remain. Beautifully situated, Logan Lake is a still a thriving town in the heart of Gold Country.