By 1908, there was a substantial population of around 1,000 people living in the district of Maple Ridge. There was water and rail access and a modest amount of infrastructure so it was determined that it was time to aid in the development of the community by advertising and promoting its wares.
In Port Hammond, a small group of forward thinking men met at Jim Dale’s hall to form what was then known as a “Progressive” or “Improvement” association. The men involved included postmaster Arthur L. Lazenby and ward representative to council, J. C. MacFarlane.
The hand-written minutes detail the efforts of the group to expand the infrastructure of Port Hammond. By the end of 1908, they had induced Mr. Powell to open a real estate office, cleaned up Lorne Park, and welcomed a branch of the Bank of Hamilton. Later campaigns included a second room for Hammond school and lobbying Western Canada Power Company to bring power and street lights to all of Hammond.
By 1911, this type of organization was converting to Boards of Trade and focusing more on attracting business than on civic infrastructure. Today we know them as the Chamber of Commerce.
We were most fortunate to obtain these minutes. They contain a history of a time in Hammond when there were no local papers to record such activities. They show us who was involved in early planning and what their objectives were for their community.