The Staples Lumber Company of Wycliffe B.C. was foremost among the sawmills of the East Kootenays between 1887 and 1927.
The sawmill was built on the banks of the St Marys River at Wycliffe. "It was one of the largest railway
logging operations in this area. With headquarters in Wycliffe, the Otis Staples Lumber Company ran spurs over much
of the territory on both sides of the Kootenay River." (filesfortsteele.ca/history)
Logging methods were suited to the forests of the East Kootenays. Initially, horses pulled logs efficiently. There
could also be work in the winter as logs were pulled by horse and sleigh. The logging railway was introduced to haul
logs over longer distances. Eventually, a total of 25 miles (40km) of track were in operation by 6 logging railway companies.
track at Wycliffe was built as narrow guage operations meaning that the distance between the rails was approximately 3 feet
(.91m) to 3 feet 6 inches (1.07m). (www.crowsnest.bc.ca/logging)
The development of the sawmill meant the growth of a town. There was a school for the children, churches,
hotels, a dance hall and homes for workers and their families. Quite well known were also the post office , liveries,
butcher shops and bakeries. All was not work however as the locals assembled baseball and hockey teams which faired
well in local competitions.