Prince George-Fort George-South Fort George "Firsts"

August 9, 1896
  • The first Protestant marriage was performed on a hillside in Fort George by Reverend A.D. McKinnon. The happy couple were Ernest Sturrock Peters, of the Fort George Hudson Bay Company, and Betsy Rois
May 1910 
  • The Bank of British North America was the first bank to open in Fort George. Lorne McHaffie was manager, and teller was John (Jock) Munro. They beat the Trader Bank by one day (manager Harry C. Seaman, teller Frank O'Flaherty). 
May 1, 1910 
  • The first white women to arrive in Fort George did so aboard the "Quesnel". 
July 1, 1910 
  • The first Dominion Day celebration to be held in South Fort George. 
August 1910 
  • The first piano in South Fort George arrived. 
September 5, 1910 
  • South Fort George School opened (story below).
On Monday last the first Government school opened its doors to the children of this section, and the fact that sixteen names were entered on the roll during the first day of its existence shows how great was the necessity of such an institution here. The advent of this school provides one more primal necessities of a young city. Without educational advantages for children surely no town can be considered to be worthy of the name, and the fact that South Fort George now boasts of a school which is well attended and admirably presided over both by the principal and the board of trustees gives this place a vastly added importance in the estimation of those families which are settling here, and of the many more to come. The school is temporarily in charge of Mr. Cosgrave, a graduate of Princeton University, who volunteered to fill the vacancy until a permanent teacher could be engaged rather than see the opening date delayed. The board of trustees recently appointed is composed of Mr. A.G. Hamilton , Secretary; Mr. James Cowie, and Joseph Boyer, all pioneers of this section. The building at present in use for the school is on Fourth street, and is owned by Mr. Wiggins, of the Northern Development Company here. A proper school house will be built for permanent use. 

October 22, 1910 
  • The first hotel in the north was built in Prince George. 
  • The first outgoing mail service in Prince George (story below). 

Speaking about mail and the evolution in transmissions after it arrives at South Fort George, it is not half as wretched as it was in 1812. Mark the date. This is no typographical error. It is simon pure in chronology. We want you to memorize 1812, because in the spring of that long ago year must be referred the very first long-distance transmission of a letter within the territory of British Columbia and beyond it. On 6th of April six couriers arrived from Fraser Lake, bringing a letter addressed to the manager of the Northwest Company at Stuart Lake by David Thompson, the explorer of the river that bears his name. The letter was dated Ilk-kayope Falls, Columbia River, August 28, 1811. It had taken exactly eight months and eight days to reach its destination, and had been carried by Indians of all the various intervening tribes, a wonderful example of honesty and of respect for written paper. Last year - 1910 - we had a monthly mail, with a supplementary one arranged and paid for by the residents of South Fort George. There were no ducklets in Central when we paid for the extra mail. At that time our correspondence was not subjected to a complimentary trip to the woods in order to gratify the whims of a corporation by allowing an empty townsite the privilege of advertising in their folders that they have a Dominion post-office. This winter we get a weekly mail, but the annoying little detail of taking it by our doors and returning it three and four hours later, when a little horse sense displayed by those who unfortunately are at the head of the service, would remedy the evil, passes understanding. And Ralph Smith and eastern politicians wonder why the Liberals make no advance in British Columbia. Yes, why. 

November 19, 1910 
  • The first white child was born in Prince George. 
January 7, 1911 
  • The first white marriage was performed in Prince George. 
May 1911 
  • Two American entrepreneurs opened a Brick Yard in South Fort George. 
July 1, 1911 
  • The Fort George Theatre opened at 7:00pm. 
  • The Northern Hotel at South Fort George was destroyed by fire. 
October 7, 1911 
  • The first jail was built. 
November 11, 1911 
  • The first fire hall was built. 
December 23, 1911 
  • The first library was opened by Rev. C.M. Wright, pastor of the Knox Presbyterian Church. 
January 20, 1912 
  • The first Roman Catholic service was held in Prince George. 
March 12, 1912 
  • The first freight to arrive in Fort George by road arrived on Tuesday the 12th, brought in by W. R. Bookhout from Quesnel. 
  • The B.C. Express sternwheelers, Operator and Conveyor, were launched 1 mile east of Tete Jaune Cache. They operated between Tete Jaune Cache and South Fort George. 
September 21, 1912 
  • The first automobile came into Prince George via the Blackwater Road (story below). 
The first automobile - No. 16 - to arrive over the Blackwater road through from Quesnel, arrived here Tuesday. It was a "B.X." car, with the usual peacock red tint - the colors of the company. The sending of the machine through from Quesnel was due to the accident which befell the steamer "B.X." on Saturday of last week when the boat struck a rock six miles below town, at a spot known as the Hudson's Bay Gardens, and in consequence rendered unable to keep her schedule. E. Studebaker drove the car in and among the passengers was Superintendent Crisdale, of the Dominion Agricultural department, who is here in the interests of a proposed location for an experimental farm. Mr. Studebaker says the road from Blackwater is not a commercial proposition as yet. The number of ruts is so great that it is not possible to make over nine miles an hour. It is necessary to travel with low gear. From Blackwater to Quesnel, however, the road is better but he would not advise "joy" riders to undertake the trip. No. 16 returned Thursday at noon with four passengers. A stop for the night was made at Blackwater, and the trip resumed the following morning. There was a prize of $500 offered by the bush-leaguers in the Central townsite for the first auto to come over the road. Mr. Studebaker's pockets did not show any evidences of it on his departure. 

  • The first grand jury was sworn in in Prince George.
November 15, 1913 
  • The first automobile traveled over graded streets. 
December 31, 1913 
  • The first murder in Prince George was reported. 
April 9, 1914 
  • The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was finished, and connected two miles east of Fort Fraser. 
August 1, 1914 
  • Prince George Post Office is established. 
October 3, 1914 
  • The King George Hotel was opened. 
November 21, 1914 
  • The first building on George Street was erected. 
January 25, 1915 
  • The City of Prince George celebrated her First Anniversary. 
April 2, 1915
  • The first Jitney arrived in Prince George. 
May 21, 1915 
  • The first mayor of Prince George was W.C. Gillett
June 1915 
  • The King George Hotel was renamed the Prince George Hotel. 
June 11, 1915 
  • City Council passed its first bylaw. 
  • The first Dominion Day celebration was held. 
September 1915 
  • The first fire engine arrived in the city. It was described as a "Hersel-Spillman" type and was a four cylinder, 60 horse power vehicle. The Fire Chief at that time was Roy London
January 22, 1916 
  • The first City Council meeting was held. 
May 10, 1934 
  • The C.N.R. began operating a two-way freight between Prince George and McBride. 
February 12, 1942 
  • The Prince George Public Library had 1,269 books on the shelves, and a circulation of 3,371 volumes during 1941. The membership increased from 102 to 143 during the past year. The library offers you the best reading for the greatest number at the least cost. 
May 31, 1945 
  • The first radio station in the city became licensed. 
  • The completion of the John Hart Highway opened access to the Yukon and the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (now B.C. Rail) extended its line up from Quesnel, with plans to soon reach Dawson Creek and eventually Fort Nelson.