Stillwater Railway – Eagle River and Northern Railway

imageCopenhagen Canyon, Railway Trestle #1 Baldwin Locomotive (#30880, courtesy Powell River Museum).

In 1908, Brooks and Scanlon bought a company in Stillwater BC that included a railway, owned by John O’Brien, who remained a partner until his death in 1917. The new company, Brooks, Scanlon & O’Brien was set up to log the region south of Powell River, where O’Brien had been logging since 1900.

They named the region ‘Stillwater’ after a mill site they owned in Minneapolis. The base camp they constructed in Stillwater Bay was the finest on the coast and included a combination hotel, general store, dance hall, restaurant, pool hall and post office.

As you travelled up the railroad, you would cross a 100-foot trestle spanning the Lois River, referred to as the Copenhagen Canyon. Its name originated from the loggers’ habit of tossing empty Copenhagen-brand snuff tins out the windows when the train passed over the trestle.

The Stillwater Eagle and Northern rail line proceeded north along Eagle River, aka Lois River, past Copenhagen Canyon and the first Gordon Pasha Lake, then up the Horseshoe Valley past Toni Lake and Nanton Lake to Camp 4, the Spring Lake camp.

imageLogging Camp 4 at Spring Lake around 1942. (#10237, courtesy of Powell River Museum).

On July 12, 1926, a disastrous fire started by a steam donkey led to the demise of Brooks, Scanlon & O’Brien at Stillwater. They sold their interests to the Powell River Company in 1929.

The last train of logs was hauled out of Stillwater on April 18, 1954. The Stillwater railroad had operated for over 45 years.

Information provided by and the BC Archives collections.

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