The Steelhead Community was first settled in and around 1900 to 1910 as a colony of newsmen who worked in Vancouver for the World, Herald and Province Newspapers and who commuted home on the weekends. Their wives and children maintained permanent residence as per the requirements for homesteading in the area, and the commuting newsmen husbands and fathers brought back and forth letters, necessities and all the latest from Vancouver, family and friends.
The wives were mostly ‘City Gals’, unused to making do with very little. Though, I heard of the ‘buckets of tears’ they said they shed, I don’t think any of them regretted their pioneer life in Steelhead.
Zelda Apps, circa 1950
(Steelhead School Teacher -1916)
As Steelhead became more established it attracted settlers who began to earn a living out of the thick, lush forests. A population of permanent residents ran “jingle-pot” mills amidst logging operations that delivered product to Mission.
The first school in Steelhead was established in 1915, and the first community hall was built in 1929 and opened its doors on June 2. The first dance was held in the community hall on July 19th and the next evening, the hall burned to the ground.
By the 1940s, most of these “jingle-pot” mills were closed because the hills were logged off and therefore unprofitable to those little operations. Municipal forestry reserves were established in the 1940s, and in 1958 a Tree Farm License was granted, with the original purpose being to reduce local unemployment and to provide a wood source for the local mills.
In 1955 land was donated by a Steelhead resident who wished to remain anonymous and in 1956 the Steelhead Community Association built a community hall with funds raised by the Ladies Auxiliary and other fundraising means. The hall was opened in April 1956 and remained active until around 1970 when the SCA sold the land and the building and adopted the old schoolhouse (where the current hall is situated), which was used until sometime in the 1980s when it was torn down.
Mission Municipal Tree Farm was the only municipal tree farm in British Columbia until 1993, and continues to provide the community with the stability of steady local employment as well as producing revenue for District of Mission community funding and capital grants, while employing responsible and sustainable harvesting practices.
Section of a document regarding the first settlers of our area
Collection of newspaper clippings late 1950’s
Former teacher recalls Steelhead hisory 1950’s
About the sawmills in Steelhead 1932
Steelhead gets electricity 1948
Steelhead Community Hall grand opening 1956