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Coombs making a stamp on history

The photo featured on the new Coombs centennial stamp shows opening day, August 26, 1912, of the French Creek school with 18-year-old teacher Zeena Wilson (with hat) brought over from Vancouver. - Submitted Photo
The photo featured on the new Coombs centennial stamp shows opening day, August 26, 1912, of the French Creek school with 18-year-old teacher Zeena Wilson (with hat) brought over from Vancouver.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

Commemorative stamps are being issued as part of the Coombs community 100th anniversary celebrations.

Sharon Cox-Gustavson of the Coombs Centennial Museum said she applied to Canada Post for the stamps a couple years ago though it didn’t sound like there was much chance.

“I offered four versions, but they said there were too many places turning 100,” she said.

But after much paperwork and waiting, the community was actually approved for two — one commemorating the French Creek school house, built by the Salvation Army in 1911-12, and one for the fair grounds, also marking 100 years in 2012.

They will be Canada Post “permanent” status, meaning they will always have value as first-class stamps, Cox-Gustavson explained and encouraged people to order the collector items now.

They are being offered at cost to encourage community connection and participation in the festivities, she said, and added that people are already getting excited and gearing up for the big May long weekend festivities.

The first government built school in the Coombs-Arrowsmith area  was spurred on by Ensign Crego — the leader of the original Salvation Army settlement which began in 1910 and was named after the Canadian Salvation  Army Commissioner Thomas Bales Coombs.

The Canadian Pacific Railroad, which had bought out Robert Dunsmuir’s E&N (Esquimalt and Nanaimo) Railroad, made the land available for the colony.

In some cases four generations of families have attended the school, which is expanded and still thriving.

Though the community-wide anniversary is being marked through the year, the main event takes place over the May 18 weekend all around the French Creek Community School and the fair grounds.

The stamps can be ordered at the school, the Coombs General Store-Post Office and the Combs Museum. Call Cox-Gustavson at 250-248-6655 for more information.

There are photos and details of the community’s history and coming celebration at www.coombs100.com.

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