Around the District - Community of Chase
On the shores of the beautiful Little Shuswap Lake, Chase has a fabulous climate offering hot dry summers and mild winters. Known for its wildlife, surrounding mountains are scattered with big horn sheep, Osprey, black bears, white tail and mule deer.
During the sockeye salmon spawning cycle in fall, bald eagles and osprey are easily spotted along the shore of the South Thompson River and Shuswap Lakes. Just a short drive from Chase are several Provincial Parks including: Niskonlith, Roderick Haig-Brown, Shuswap, Adams, Sunnybrae and Herald.
There is a wealth of Native culture around Chase, as the village is nestled amongst Niskonlith, Adam's Lake and Little Shuswap Indian Bands who celebrate Powwow's with traditional drumming, crafts, dancing and authentic meals. Local interpretive areas include teepees, kekuli & sweat lodges. Ancient pictographs can be seen on rocks lining the Adams River and around Shuswap Lake.
The first settlers in the South Thompson area some 10,000 years ago were the Shuswap people - a corruption of Secwepemc which means, "The beginning of a spill-over from a big lake." There are presently three bands in the area; Niskonlith, Adams Lake and Little Shuswap Indian Bands.
Whitfield Chase who was born in 1820 to the famous Chase Family left Otego, New York March 25th 1852 and arrived at Fort Townsend Sept. 24th 1852. In 1853-54 after Chase's sailing partner drowned, Whitfield moved to Victoria plying his trade as a carpenter. By July 1857 he was back at Port Townsend.
In 1859 Whitfield wrote home, "I may visit California or I may return to the States or I may go to the gold diggings towards the head waters of those streams which flow into the Fraser's River." Whitfield by 1862 was prospecting up the South Thompson River but by the fall of 1864 returned to Kamloops and after a stint in Barkerville decided to go farming. Whitfield married the eldest daughter of Chief Synsetid the Niskonlith Chief in 1865 and took over James Todd's 460 acres at the foot of "lesser Shuswap Lake."
By 1884, when the C.P.R. arrived, Whitfield had amassed 1330 acres with 550 cattle, 30 horses and five teams, as well as a huge garden and orchard. Elizabeth bore four boys and six daughters for Whitfield between; 1869-1892. Whitfield died in 1896, and Elizabeth in 1907. Both are buried in the Chase graveyard. Marcus Chase, Whitfield's eldest living son ran the ranch eventually leasing 68.8 acres in November 1906 to the Adams River Lumber Company, settling the Town site in 1907. Marcus died in 1908.
The Adams River Lumber company was formed July 2, 1907 by J.P McGoldrick president of the McGoldrick Lumber Company of Spokane Washington along with A.J Lammers, a well known Minnesota Lumberman. The Mill started up in 1908 and started selling the townsite, the first lot was purchased by George Price May 5th 1908. The town had running water, telephone, electricity, as well a government in the form of The Chase and District Central Board of Trade. The town had a fire hall, band, baseball team(s), opera house, movie theatre, hospital, hotels, churches, bank, stores, and restaurants.
The Mill was considered the largest in the Interior of BC and the third largest in the province. The Mill ran from 1908-1925 cutting 30 million feet in 1910 averaging 175,000 feet in a ten hour shift, employing approximately 300 men. The stack was the tallest on any mill in BC beings 184 feet high. After Adams River Lumber Company closed the Big Mill various smaller mills ran in the former location right up to 2005.
The village carried on as the town had electricity, telephone, running water, the Chase Board of Trade, to go along with the best climate in the world. Then in 1939 Canada declared war on Germany and most of the men went to serve their country. 1945 saw the return of the veterans who picked up their lives again working at the new Adams Lake Sawmill located at the south end of the Adams Lake and various mills on the Chase site. The village voted to incorporate in 1969; the largest driving force was to get clean water.
With the Incorporation of the village of Chase came the first Mayor, Mayor Alex Brown. The streets were paved, the water system updated, a sewage system implemented and many other services and resources have since been added to the village.
Visit the Chase & District Museum for more information about Chase's history and culture.
Find us on Facebook