Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Ships at Moodyville Milling Co.

In December of 1873, a fire destroyed the main Moodyville mill. Sewell Moody (1834-1875) rebuilt it in 1874 as a colossal, 330-foot (100 m) complex capable of producing 100,000 board feet (236 m3) per day. The length of the building allowed for the greatest possible length of cut for the planks. It also accommodated a planing machine, lath-splitting machine and a lathe capable of turning shafts and cylinders for the mill. In this photo, you can see dormer windows above an extension, which contained the planing shop and lumber storeroom. Visible at the dock is the tugboat SS Lorne, which towed any vessel for pay, including the lumber ships in Burrard Inlet. Originally commissioned by local coal barons James Dunsmuir (1851-1920) and his brother, Alexander, she was the biggest, strongest and most expensive tugboat in the area. After a long coastal work history, she ended up as a barge.

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This photo shows the enormous dimensions of the large, steam-powered mill envisioned and rebuilt by Sewell Moody. The tugboat SS Lorne is docked alongside.

The SS Lorne, a steam tug, assisted sailing ships to and from loading ports. It worked up and down the cost, towing for anyone willing to pay.

This photo was taken in 1897, when the international lumber industry, including Burrard Inlet, was suffering from the effects of a worldwide depression.

The SS Lorne was named after an early governor general of Canada, the Marquess of Lorne (1845-1914), who served from 1878 to 1883 and facilitated British Columbia’s entry into Confederation.

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