A Chilliwack history book has been made more accessible by transforming it into an electronic version, thanks to one local man.
Mike Yusko recently digitized the book In The Shadow of Mt. Cheam – A History of Rosedale, Popkum and Camp River.
“To preserve it you have to digitize it,” he said.
The 484-page book, published in 1988, was recently converted to a searchable PDF with help from Bill Dickey, Electoral Area D director (Popkum/Bridal Falls), and the Fraser Valley Regional District communications team.
In The Shadow of Mt. Cheam includes sections on First Nations history and stories, crown land grants, stories of the early settlers, farming practices, community organizations, schools, businesses such as mining and logging, family stories and accounts, Fraser River floods and more.
Folks can read the story of how Mrs. Chapman chased the bear out of her yard while she kept the children in the cabin, they can enjoy the poem “Our Hike Up Cheam” written by Laura (Munro) Kennedy, and learn how Frank Merson used mules to transport cans of milk from Popcum dairy farms to the Sardis Milk Plant.
Yusko moved to Chilliwack in 1973 and has lived in Popkum (once spelled Popcum) for 10 years. He is a self proclaimed “history enthusiast” and has worked in the dairy industry nearly his entire life, so it’s not surprising he wanted to share pieces of local history in this way.
He contacted the descendants of about 20 families who were featured in the book and they all gave him “enthusiastic support,” including Cheam First Nation, he said.
“Most copies are now treasured heirlooms stored in the home of the descendants of the early pioneers of the area. I wanted to have the book made available to the area residents and local area schools so they could learn about the history of this wonderful part of B.C.”
It took Yusko about a month to scan all the pages last fall, and then In The Shadow of Mt. Cheam was formulated for the web last month.
The digital world did not exist when this book was published in 1988, Yusko pointed out.
“By making this book available digitally now, the valuable content will be available to a greater readership and will educate people about the rich history of the area.”
This is not the first book Yusko has digitized. He’s scanned several others over the past 10 years including Milk Stories: A History of the Dairy Industry in British Columbia, and Butter-Fat magazine (1923 to 1993).
The digital copy of In The Shadow of Mt. Cheam can be found online at fvrd.ca/EN/main/about-the-fvrd/electoral-areas/electoral-area-d at the bottom of the page.