The oiriginal cover of “In The Shadow of Mt. Cheam,” as compiled by local historians. The original book was published in 1988 and was digitized this summer. (Contributed Photo)

‘Read the story’: Popkum, Rosedale history archive now available online

Book originally published in 1988 has now been digitized, thanks to local volunteers

A piece of Fraser Valley History has now made its way to the digital world.

Local history buff Michael Yusko recently digitized the book “In The Shadow of Mt. Cheam,” a historic archive of Popkum, Camp River and Rosedale originally published in 1988. It is now available on the Fraser Valley Regional District’s website. The Heritage Preservers of Rosedale and District originally compiled the book, according to Fraser Valley Regional Library records. The Preservers were organized in 1985 with the sole mission of preserving the history of the eastern end of the Chilliwack Valley; it disbanded a year after the book was published.

Yusko told the Observer he received the book from a family one of his deceased friends, Robin Lister.

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“Robin first introduced me to the area and let me read his copy of the book when it was published in 1988,” Yusko said. “Most copies are now treasured heirlooms stored in the home of the descendants of the early pioneers of the area.”

Yusko wanted to make the book available to residents and local schools so they could learn more about local history. He converted the archive to a searchable PDF.

“With the support of Mr. Bill Dickey, Popkum/Bridal Falls Director and the Communications Team at the Fraser Valley Regional District, the book was uploaded to their website and is available for reading and searching,” Yusko said of the volunteer effort.

Yusko wrote a brief introduction in the PDF.

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“The digital world did not exist when this book was published,” The introduction reads. “By making this book available digitally, the valuable content will be available to an increased readership and will educate people about the rich history of the area.”

Within the 484 pages of “In The Shadow of Mt. Cheam,” there is an archive of local First Nations history and stories, land grants, stories from early settlers, farming practices, community organizations, schools, businesses, family stories, river floods and much more.

“Read the story of how Mrs. Chapman chased the bear out of her yard while she kept the children in the cabin,” Yusko recommended. “Enjoy the poem ‘Our Hike Up Cheam’ written by Laura (Munro) Kennedy on her hike to the top of Mt. Cheam.Learn how Frank Merson used mules to transport cans of milk from Popcum dairy farms to the Sardis Milk Plant.”

Yusko and his history preservation efforts can be followed on Twitter at @PopkumHistory.


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