The old buildings and historic places of British Columbia form a kind of "roadside memory," a tangible link with stories of settlement, change, and abandonment that reflect the great themes of our history. With small towns declining and old rural properties changing, so little of the history of these places has been recorded in museums or archives, and so much of it may disappear as families disperse and memories dim.
More than a decade ago, Michael Kluckner began painting these dots on his personal map of the province in a watercolour sketchbook. In 1999, after he put a few of the sketches on his website, a network of correspondents emerged that eventually led him to the family letters, photo albums, and memories - all from a disappearing era of the province.
Vanishing British Columbia is a record of these places and the stories they tell. It combines engaging and insightful historical commentary with over 160 of the author's original paintings. It has an exceptional assortment of historic imagery, including old postcards, architectural plans, and photographs.
The study of roadside memory demonstrates the visceral connection that people, especially those who are part of the rural-to-urban diaspora of modern times, have for the sites of their family memories. On a grander scale this approach leads to a broader understanding of more abstract historical themes and of the province's history and culture. It also presents a compelling argument for stewardship of regional history in the face of urbanization and globalization.
Michael Kluckner is a writer, artist, and heritage activist who has spent decades exploring the highways and byways of British Columbia. His published works include Vancouver the Way It Was, Paving Paradise, Vanishing Vancouver, The Pullet Surprise: A Year on an Urban Farm, and Canada: A Journey of Discovery. He is also a regular contributor to Canadian Geographic and Harrowsmith Country Life. He lives on a small farm in Langley, British Columbia, dividing his time between art, culture and agriculture.
Introduction Themes & Variations Southwestern Mainland Hope-Princeton & Tulameen The Okanagan Boundary Country The Kootenays Fraser-Thompson-Shuswap Vancouver Island The Cariboo & the Chilcotin The North The Future Painting Notes Additional Notes & Acknowledgments Bibliography Index