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Wycliffe Historical Information

View of the Power house, mill, burner and yard

Wycliffe had many buildings

The mill pond, mill, power house and burner 

Burner and power house

Our BnB is situated on the land once occupied by the Otis Staples Saw Mill .  We have a variety of historical pictures of the Wycliffe Sawmill in our B and B for your viewing pleasure.


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) 

Saw Mill

Saw filers room

The log chain conveyor

Steam log crane

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.

The 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)


Shane locomotive

Shane locomotive Spot three

Steam log crane

Otis Staples owner and man of vision .

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.

Wycliffe original school house and church

Workers at the Staples mill

A 1916 postcard depicting Wycliffe as it was.

The Wycliffe Baseball team 1923.

There are remnants of the old sawmill still to be seen at Wycliffe but all are on private properties.  Residents of the area are encouraged to preserve remaining sections of the sawmill.

The Johnson home which was located down stream from the mill across the bridge.

The original highway bridge across the St Marys which was located down stream from the old Wycliffe bridge.

The Power house is one of the  last remaining structures of the mill

An overview of the power house building which is now on private land .