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Page last updated September 22, 2016
Sketched/written in 2001: St. Michael and All Angels church, one of the group of Anglican churches in the southern Interior – Pokhaist being another. For highway travellers heading east on the Trans Canada, it has always defined the arrival at Spences Bridge, and sits on the edge of the village of the Cook's Ferry Indian band. Like Pokhaist and St. John at the Latin Gate near Ashcroft, it appears to be unused--abandoned.
It is a very eccentric design, with a shingled steeple like a little brown helmet. Apparently it was built around 1905, replacing an earlier church that was destroyed in a horrific landslide that also wiped out the Indian village on the other side of the river.
A 2007 photo by
Bill Grulkey, Vancouver
From Penny Street, 2016: photos of Spences Bridge. The
Packing House Café appears to be made of the prefabricated
panels sold more than a century ago by the B.C. Mills, Timber
& Trading Company in Vancouver.
From Lorne Samaha, 2013: I am the son of Violet Samaha
(Draney). Harold Draney's sister. I grew up around this church.
My grandmother was Mary Draney who lived behind the church in a
small house. For many years she was the holder of the “key” to
the church. When My mother passed and the Anglican church said
they would donate funds to help restore the church in memory of
my mother. My mother was a member of the Anglican Church of
Canada and represented the Aboriginal people of Canada for the
church. She was a part of the committee who worked towards
getting an apology from the church for the wrong that was done
in residential schools. I had many relatives baptized in this
church and have attended many services.
Question from Dave Belshaw, 2010: I am writing this as a query in that can anybody tell me if the Spences Bridge baseball field in the mid to late 1950's was adjacent to the Cooks Ferry Indian village with the Saint Michael's and All Angel's church situated in the centefield area. I ask this because I remember as a youngster making the Sunday trip to Spences Bridge to watch one of the Merritt baseball teams play the local team. If my memory serves me correctly I remember the church being at the center field extremity of the field.
From Janet Roth, 2012: I lived in Spences Bridge from 1950 to the late 60’s. The St. Michael’s Church was on the west end of town on your way to Lytton on the Indian Reserve looking out towards Murray Falls. The baseball field I went to in the 50’s was created on the east end just beyond the Acacia Grove. You’d never know it was ever there now. It had bleachers and a bleached wood concession stand run by the ladies in the community. Boiled wieners – and to us they were delicious. Baseball teams from Merritt, Lytton and Ashcroft, etc. came to play in tournaments there. It also was a rodeo ground and had fencing and corrals, chutes, etc. Don’t ask me why it was abandoned? I have a lot of childhood memories tied up in events there. I am now nearly 68 and I have a photo of us girls in a decorated doll buggy competition, and those who had bikes decorated them also. If you go into Facebook and type in Spences Bridge you will see a lot of old photos – but maybe you already did this. Some of the good ballplayers there then that I can remember were the Hunchak boys, the Adams boys, Harold Draney, the Chadwich boys, etc. Alex Hunchak is retired now and lives in Merritt but he played ball here for many years and was very good.
From Ron Clark, 2012: Your enquiry about a baseball field in Spence's Bridge; Yes your memory is correct, there was a baseball field in the area near the church on reserve; I can remember as a child watching a game there where a "Trig Ellingson" hit a home run that hit the bell in the steeple of the church causing it to ring! My memory is failing so can't add much more!
From Janet Roth, 2012: My best friend Ron who is now in Nova Scotia, and a couple years older than I, says he remembers a ball field where you mentioned it in the beginning. It must have been on reserve land. As small as the town was, when I was small I stuck to “my side of the river – the CN side” and Ron stuck to the CPR side as they were the last house before the reserve going towards Lytton. Truly, you must look at the site there are some that indicate hotels and houses where none of us ever remember as well as all the bridges – the very first one which I believe was washed out by a flood, the second one and one we grew up with (what we call the old bridge) and of course the current one on Hwy 1 bypassing the town.