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Railroad bridge where the FMC mudflats are

FMC is an international corporation that produces basic chemicals and industrial and agricultural machinery. The original company produced equipment specifically for canning, dried fruit, and orchard spraying. Hence the name: Food Machinery Corporation.

In 1948, when the company began producing chemicals, the name was changed to the Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation. With further product diversification in 1961, the name simply became FMC Corporation.

The FMC chemicals division in Squamish produces mainly chlorine, caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and hydrochloric acid. The chemicals result from the breakdown of sodium chloride by the mercury cell process. The salt that is used by Canadian Oxy's Squamish plant comes from the San Francisco Bay region, where it is recovered by natural evaporation in huge ponds of salt water exposed to sunlight. It is barged from the bay area to Squamish 14,000 or more tonnes at a time.

The chemicals are mainly distributed to the BC pulp and paper industry. Hydrochloric acid is transported by truck while chlorine and caustic soda are stored in tanks and transported by rail or barge.

CanadianOxy has installed equipment that salvages the hydrogen, a byproduct, for burning in the boiler. This provides heat used in the operation of the system.

FMC Squamish plant covers 60 acres of land leased from BCR.

1957, June - Pennsalt Chemicals Corporation of Philadelphia announced plans of building a chemical plant in Squamish. Fred Shanneman, president.
1960 - Pennsalt dropped plans. Partly due to high cost of power. Western Minerals Ltd. of Calgary had also dropped plans to build a chemical plant.
1964, July 9 - FMC Corporation announced that a $10 million chemical plant would be built in Squamish.
1965 - Chlor-alkali plant built on the Squamish River estuary by FMC Canada.
1965, October - The British S.S. Argyll bought first cargo of 13,000 tons of Mexican salt to the nearly completed FMC Squamish plant. Was the largest ship ever to enter Howe Sound being 39,665 gross tons and 764 feet long.
1965, December - FMC Squamish began operations as the first outdoor chlorine cell installation in the Western Hemisphere. Plant manager was Charles E. Barnabe and controller was R.C. Bryant. Approximately 60 people were employed.
1970 - Original wastewater treatment plant built.
1974, November 8 - FMC Squamish earned award from Pacific Northwest Pollution Control Association. Presented to resident manager, Ralph Ross.
1983 - Approximately 70 people employed. Plant managaer Jack Selby. Production was at 175 tonnes of chlorine, 200 tonnes of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and 30 tonnes of muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid), daily.
1986, December 23 - FMC was taken over by Canadian Occidental Petroleum Limited.
1988, July - 75 people employed at the Chlor-Alkali plant. Plant manager, Brian Thorton. President, Brian Thorpe. Production has risen to a peak of 185 tonnes of schlorine, 217 tonnes of caustic soda and 32 tonnes of muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid), daily. The plant uses 340 tonnes of salt each day. There was not much change after the takeover (eg. no layoffs, strikes, or modernization programs). Products are shipped to Woodfibre and Powell River. Plans to build a hydrogen peroxide plant are on hold. Land has been set aside for the purpose though.
1988, August - Thomas A. Sugalski, senior vice president replaced Brian Thorpe as president.
1989 - Nexen buys plant from FMC Canada and assumes environmental liability.
1991 - Plant shuts down; Ministry of Environment becomes involved and recommends the company pursue independent remediation.
1999 - Remediation order issued by MOE.
2003 - Site remediation complete.
2004 - Provincial Crown transfers the site to the District of Squamish. Special Environmental Award presented to Nexen by the Minister of Environment.

Huey Mills and Kate Mills

Huey Mills and Kate Mills (formerly Mrs Allan Rae) sitting in the background. Man in the foreground is unknown.

Research compiled by Eric Anderson, 2011: This photo, apparently taken by one of the Magee brothers, shows the construction phase of the flume project. The occassion is a visit to the site by Hughie Mills' new bride Catherine, the former Mrs Allen Rae, in the Spring of 1910. In this photo, Hughie Mills appears to be giving his wife a tour of the project. Mills was a building contractor in the valley, and very likely worked on the flume construction. The location is at the west side of the Squamish Timber Company camp, just above the bank of the Brohm River, which is to the left from this scene. It is difficult to tell from the photograph whether the water for the flume is being led from the Brohm River (in the back and to the left of of the photo) or the Cheekye River (around to the right). Either is possible. The Squamish Timber Co. camp and the beginning of the flume lies between the Brohm River and the Cheekye River. Water for the flume might be more easily taken from the Brohm( closer), but the Cheekye has the steeper gradient. The larger the logs to be flumed, and the steeper the grade, the more water is required.

Wilfred Rae on Squamish Valley Hop Farm

Hop farming was Squamish's first major industry. The major producer was Squamish Valley Hop Raising Co. (Bell-Irving Ranch). Hops are perennials and grown about 6 feet apart. They are picked during September and August. Hops are dried and bleached with sulphur in a kiln. In Squamish, Chinese labour was brought in to tend the hops. The hops were picked by local First Nations. They would camp in the area now between Petro Canada gas station and the Cottonwood condominiums. The hops in Squamish were top grade. They were shipped to Vancouver in bales wrapped in Burlap, then shipped to Britain where they were used to make beer.

1890 - Hops first grown by E.B. Madill.
1891, February - Group from Puyallup Valley (near Tacoma) examined Squamish as potential hop growing area. The Squamish Valley Hop Raising Company was formed by Vancouver businessmen. Dr Bell-Irving (great uncle of previous Lieutenant Governor) was owner of the company. President was William Shannon and Secretary was T.T. Black; and Directors: Dr Bell-Irving, W.E. Green, George Magee, E.L. Phillips.
1892 - The Squamish Valley Hop Raising Company leased land from E.B. Madill. 1.5 acres of hop vine nursery stock was planted. In addition, 260 acres were purchased, 20 acres of which were cleared. Ranch was in the present location of Eagle Run extending from Heidenriech's house to Judd Road to Horse Creek. Frank H. Potter, a hop rancher from Puyallup, became a manager. No hops grown but frame house and out-buildings built for Potter.
1893, Fall - 5 acres hops grown on Madill's leased property. No hops grown on Squamish Valley Hop Company's own land. 40 acres cleared but planted potatoes, oats, and hat. W. Shannon still president of the company. Chas. McLaughlin, secretary.
1894 - Fred Clayton Thorne replaced Frank Potter as manager of Squamish Valley Hop Company. Hop industry began to thrive. Allen Rae, E.B. Madill, George Magee, and Tom Reid grew hops.
1897 - D.H. Tweedie was manager of Madill's hop ranch.
1898 - Charles Rose was manager of Squamish Valley Hop Company (Bell-Irving ranch). Wife, Alice, was ranch cook.
1906, March - 28 acres of hops planted at Bell-Irving ranch.
1914 - With beginning if war, hop prices fell. Hop ranches were shut down. The Squamish Valley Hop Company was owned by Dr Bell Irving and Mr Murry (manager of Bank of Commerce in Vancouver) owned ranch at that time. Fred Thorne took over Squamish Valley Hope Company ranch and started raising short horn cattle.
1917 - Hop industry had died in Squamish.
~1931 - George Carson was running his brother Robert (Bob) Carson's hop ranch when it burned down.
1944 - Roderick Mackenzie owned old Squamish Hop Co. ranch. Referred to as the mackenzie Ranch or the Pig or Hog Ranch. Since he produced hops for export to help the war effort, it received those names.

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