Keefers is a small community on the western shore of Fraser River. It lies about 15 miles (25 km) south of Lytton, where the Canadian Pacific Railway line crosses the Fraser River and proceeds up the Thompson River. This 1885 photograph titled “the Chinese community at Keefers” was photographed by Charles Macmunn, a British-born, Victoria-based photographer who specialized in views of the railway.
The log cabins pictured here were more substantial than the usual accommodation for Chinese railway workers. Often, they lived in temporary camps, sleeping in tents or boxcars. These more permanent dwellings may have housed longer-term workers at the railway yards below Keefer’s house, which was across from the camp.
Keefers (sometimes Keefer’s) was named after George Alexander Keefer (1836-1912), a surveyor and construction engineer who had worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway in eastern Canada. Keefer was in charge of building the CPR line between Boston Bar and Lytton, and the milepost at 100 miles (160 km) west of Kamloops is named after him.
BC Archives George A. Keefer fonds, PR-1589, consists of copies of Keefer’s outward telegrams reporting progress on railway construction. The Charles Macmunn fonds, PR-0577, contains Macmunn’s photographs depicting views of the Canadian Pacific Railway and of Victoria.