For current residents of Sardis, it's hard to fathom just how different the landscape was 150 years ago. All areas of the country have seen dramatic changes since Confederation, but in addition to agriculture and industry, houses and businesses, the very physical environment has shifted dramatically since settlers arrived to find established Sto:lo villages along the Chilliwack River.
Many newcomers don't realize that the current configuration of waterways in Chilliwack on the south side of the highway is nothing like it was at the time.
Before 1875, the Chilliwack River flowed through Sardis, vibrant creeks and streams rushed in areas now considered dry enough to build houses upon.
When 29-year-old adventurer Allen Casey Wells arrived in what is now known as Sardis, he came by canoe along the sloughs and streams on a short journey from Charles Evans's farm on Yale Road, led by Sto:lo guide "Big Jim."
"Big Jim and Wells abandoned the canoe at what would now be Gaetz Road and Vedder Road," writes Ron Denman in the new book, Memories of Sardis: The First 100 Years, 1860-1960.
By 1867, Wells and his family built their new home, which became known as Edenbank.
This is just one anecdote in the new book published by the Chilliwack Museum & Archives set for official launch this Saturday at the museum.
The book is broken into sections, which are authored by 15 people, mostly the descendants of families that arrived in Chilliwack starting in the early 20th century.
From homesteads to churches to schools to businesses, the book tells the stories through photos, facts and memories of this still fast-growing area of the City of Chilliwack.
The celebration for the publication of the book is scheduled for Nov. 2 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Chambers Gallery of the Chilliwack Museum. All are welcome and there will be readings, book signings and refreshments served.
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