Special Collections

Portraits by marge mcdougall

mcdougall3The Mackenzie & District Museum is proud to exhibit original acrylic paintings by Marge McDougall. Many of her paintings are portraits of Sekani First Nations people that lived near Finlay Forks in the mid 1900s.

Marge Donovan (1900 – 1980) married Roy McDougall in Prince George. In 1940 they moved to Finlay Forks, where they ran a small store and post office. For the most part, Marge was the only white woman in town. She took up painting the Sekani people primarily to relieve boredom. She nursed the sick as well as teaching knitting and sewing to the local natives.Roy and Marge were great hosts to people who traveled the Parsnip and Finlay Rivers.

mcdougall1In 1958, due to poor health, Marge relocated to Victoria BC. Roy followed soon after. In Victoria, Marge’s main occupation was painting. One of her early patrons was Mrs MacDonald, the owner of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

Marge is not a well known artist in North America, but art collector Mr. Van Voorst Vader sold a number of her paintings through his outlet in Paris, France. Marge gave many of her paintings to family and friends.

The Mackenzie and District Museum acquired 35 of her paintings through purchase from Mr. Van Voorst Vader. Three additional paintings were donated to the museum in April 2016.

Read more about Marge McDougall here.

 

the world’s largest tree crusher

This massive machine was designed to quickly crush swaths of forest, because there wasn’t enough time to fell trees by traditional harvest methods as Williston Reservoir flood waters rose.

The LeTourneau G175 Tree Crusher was built in the early 1960s by the LeTourneau Company out of Longview, Texas. It was used experimentally in Louisiana before being shipped to Thurso, Quebec. It did a small amount of clear there and in November of 1964, along with 2 smaller crushers, came to Mackenzie, BC.

They were originally brought in as a clearing experiment for the Peace River Power Project. The experiment was not a total success as they were only able to clear about 19 square km. There were a lot of problems with the operation of the Crushers and the company that brought them to northern BC soon went bankrupt.

The tree crusher was parked at Cut Thumb Creek north of town before it was moved into Mackenzie in October 1984. It weighs 175 tons and measures 56 ft long, 35 ft wide, and 21 ft tall. It was powered by two 700 Horsepower V12 Cummins Diesel engines. It was diesel electric, with an electric motor for steering.

During the attempted clearing of the valley before Williston Lake, the second method of clearing was dragging a cable between two cats using a huge steel ball as an anchor. The links were 2 1/2 inches thick and the steel ball is sitting now by the Worlds Largest Tree Crusher.

During the attempted clearing of the valley before the flooding of Williston Reservoir, the second method of clearing was dragging a cable between two cats using a huge steel ball as an anchor.

The links were 2 1/2 inches thick and the steel ball is sitting now by the Worlds Largest Tree Crusher, displayed on Mackenzie Blvd.

In our museum you can see the tree crusher in action as it prepares land for the flooding of Williston Reservoir. Ask about our sequence of 3 colour-film segments: (a) 5 minute clip of the tree crusher in operation during winter (no sound), (b) 3 minute clip of the tree crusher in operation during summer, including aerial footage (no sound), (c) 18 minute clip of narrated promotional film describing how to operate various models of Letourneau tree crushers, as well as examples of where and why they are used.