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Kimberley Families

The Giegerich Family
as told by Joe

Henry Giegerich was born in Pennsylvania and as a teenager left home and went west to Montana. He met Laura Cleburne and they were married in 1889.In 1890they moved to Ainsworth where he started a merchandising business. In 1893 he opened a second business in Kaslo and moved the family there in 1900.

Mrs. Giegerich passed away in 1930 and Henry retired in 1936 and died 1940.

They had six children, the youngest one was Joe. He went to school in Kaslo and in 1919 he started at V.B.C. to study engineering. He graduated in 1923with a B.A.Sc. in Mining Engineering. His summers were spent working in Butte, Montana and in the Slocan area.

After a two-month period at Cork-Province Mine, he obtained work at Kimberley, beginning as a mucker. Bill Lindsay was the superintendent and John Palm was the shift boss. On December 1st, 1923, he joined the Engineering staff as a surveyor's assistant to Tommy Thompson.

The Company office at that time was the old school house. Mr. E. G. Montgomery was the Superintendent and his office was the outer cloakroom, and the main office was in the classroom.

Chapman Camp, a separate construction camp, was quickly becoming a permanent townsite. McDougall Townsite was being cleared for a cookhouse, three bunkhouses and a few small homes moved in from Moyie. The main mining operation was still at the Top Mine.

Joe's recollections of those early days was the Mark Creek Store with Messers. Foote, Mellor, Summers and Fisher offering some opposition. Jack Fisher operated the Post Office. The main excitement on weekends was a Saturday night dance or some other entertainment at Handley's Hall with George James' one man band.

Even with prohibition the thirsty souls could find a refreshing drink at Harry Drew's hideout at the North Star Hotel. Hockey was the main winter sport.

In 1924-25 Joe was president of the baseball club. Frank McMahon was manager, and E. S. Shannon of the Bank of Montreal was Secretary- Treasurer.

A golf club was started in 1924 with N. W. Burdett as President. Weekend work parties cleared the fairways of rocks and roots. Joe was also a member of James Pearson's Brass Band until August of 1925 when .he accepted a position with Anaconda Copper Company in Chuquicamata, Chile, for three years.

Joe returned to Kimberley in 1928 and was impressed with the growth of the town in those few years.

He married Eva Atkinson of Vancouver in January of 1930. She was born in New Westminster and attended Normal School in Vancouver and, with the exception of one year as an exchange teacher in London, England, taught in Vancouver until her marriage. In 1914 she was New Westminster's May Queen. They had four children; two boys, Joe and Bob, and two girls, Daryl and Helen, who all graduated from Kimberley schools.

Being the father of two boys, Joe took an interest in scouting and was District Commissioner for several years. Scouting was very active in the 30's and 40's due to the outstanding work of Basil Resker, the Anglican minister.

Other recollections were the first Arena built in 1930-31that gave renewed interest to figure skating and winter carnivals. Lloyd Crowe and his executive were responsible for building up the original Dynamiter Hockey Team with Jack Pratt and Johnny Achzener as coaches. The team won the Allan Cup in 1936 and the World Championship in 1937.Joe took over as President of the Hockey Club for a time.

Skiing became a major sport and it was Sam Wormington that could see the potential of the North Star Mountain. It was through him and a few staunch supporters that the longest T-bar in Canada was installed.

During the war, Mine production was fully maintained. One innovation was the introduction of the Tin Plant at the Concentrator. It was the only tin produced in North America at the time and was a strategic war metal.

Joe was a Charter Member of the Rotary Club, and served a term as President, and was an active member and Past Master of the Masonic Lodge.

He retired in 1962 and moved to Victoria.

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