Ladysmith Industrial Heritage Museum

Ladysmith’s ‘HERITAGE BY THE SEA’ is being preserved by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society’s Industrial Heritage Preservation Committee with the support of the Town of Ladysmith.

We are currently refurbishing Ladysmith’s STEAM LOCOMOTIVE #11, the LOCOMOTIVE SHOP, RAILWAY YARD, FIRST AID SHED, HUMDIRGEN, TUBE TUMBLER and BOX CAR.   Our future plans include many other industrial artifacts waiting to be refurbished and displayed with their stories in an Interpretive and interactive setting.

Come by and watch these amazing industrial artfacts come to life, bring your camera, and your questions, we welcome visitors of all ages.  Our work parties are normally every Saturday at 9 am-noon.

As a volunteer, there are many opportunities to assist the Industrial Heritage Preservation Committee with researching and restoring the forest industry artifacts and buildings at the Comox Logging & Railway Co. site. Our goal is to enable educational and tourism experiences on the heritage site and in the Locomotive and Machine Shop.

Contact the Heritage Committee Chairperson for more information: 250-245-3075.

How to find us: From the Trans-Canada Highway, turn towards Ladysmith Harbour at the traffic light at Roberts Street onto Transfer Beach Boulevard.  Turn left onto Oyster Bay Drive, a gravel road, and follow the blue Machine Shop building to the end and you will be at the Heritage Park site, 614 Oyster Bay Drive, Ladysmith, BC.

comox logging & Railway Co.  buildings in early days
Heritage Comox Logging & Railway Co buildings

This was once a busy industrial centre: the railway yard and repair shops of Comox Logging and Railway Company. Now gone along with its many locomotives, speeders, machinery and crews, we are left with the original Machine Shop, lunch/washroom, First Aid building, Locomotive Shop, track, Locomotive # 11, a log car, the Humdirgen and other artifacts.

Volunteers dedicated to preserving our history have repaired the track and put steam Locomotive #11 inside the Locomotive Shop to be refurbished for a permanent interactive display.

Steam Locomotive No. 11
volunteers restoring industrial heritage artifacts
Volunteers at Ladysmith Industrial Heritage Site

As the logs arrived by train the railcars would be positioned in front of the log ramp.  Until 1944 the stationary winch house located mid-way along the ramp used a parbuckle process to tip the load off a railcar and into the water.  Then another full railcar would be moved in front of the machine and the process would be repeated.  In 1945 a mobile machine, the ‘Humdirgen’, was built in the Machine Shop to speed up this process.

The Humdirgen has received engine work and is an operational exhibit. The front and back bumpers have been replaced with new fir timbers. It awaits its final coat of yellow paint.

a rare humdirgen working
Archival photo showing Humdirgen at work at Comox Logging & Railway Company.
restored humdirgen
A refurbished operating humdirgen, a very rare machine.

The First Aid Building, once used by Crown Zellerbach has been restored. It serves as a place for volunteers to discuss plans and as a welcoming reception centre for visitors who stop in on a Saturday or join us for our Heritage BC community event in February.

original first aid shed Comox Logging & Railway Co.
After restoration work, the Comox Logging & Railway Co. First Aid station. Before photo below.

The Locomotive Shop and Machine Shop were the heart of the forest industry with blacksmith shop, lathes and large tools used to fabricate parts and repair the logging trains, trucks and equipment. These buildings are of utmost importance because they represent an era in the industrial history of Ladysmith and because they are the only intact remnants of the waterfront’s industrial past.

historic Comox Logging Machine Shop
Historic machine shop of Comox Logging & Railway Co.
Loci 11 shop, Comox Logging & Railway Co.
Loci 11 Shop, part of the Comox Logging & Railway Co shed
interior of Locomotive Shop
Inside Loci Shop

We look forward to the day when museum artifacts, and cultural exhibits will be displayed in these buildings and at the authentic, in situ heritage site, drawing a wide range of visitors to Ladysmith’s “Heritage by the Sea,”  a must-see tourist destination, being developed as Ladysmith’s Arts and Heritage Hub.

rail pump car
Restored hand pump rail car ride during Heritage Week.

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