In the 1907-08 financial panic that swept over Canada following the depression creating a tremendous urge for people to own a piece of land. The B.C. Government had bulletins published on the wonderful agricultural possibilities on Graham Island and a wave of settlers began arriving. Eight town-sites were surveyed. In our area only one, Queenstown (now Port Clements) would survive. Graham Center, just north of Port Clements may have failed due to the location of a bridge. Sewall, across the inlet also did not survive.
Eli Tingley erected the first cabin on his proposed town-site of Queenstown. The 16x16 structure with large veranda was completed in Mayof 1908. With the influx of settlers arriving this little cabin had more visitors than it could handle and more cabins were built. In 1909timber surveyors arrived on the islands to lay out boundaries staked by cruisers in 1907. Inaccuracies proved devastating for many homesteads but the biggest hit was to Eli, as his entire town-site was affected. Queenstown would be virtually abandoned until 1911 when the announcement of a 30 mile road to be built down the Yakoun Valley. With this news and also news that Trevor Williams, a neighbor to his north had applied for and received his crown grant number for his preemption, Eli decided to go after his crown grant number and was successful in 1912.
Supplies started arriving to build a hotel and the first tennis court, much to the envy of Masset, who soon built their own and inter community matches were held, extending to well-attended picnics and dances. The first signature on the hotel's registry was that of H S Clements, MP in Ottawa for this area, who would later have the village named after him as he promised a wharf to be built. He held true to his word and a 700 foot government wharf was started in the summer of 1913.
W L Barton started a saw mill to supply lumber for the new wharf and all the construction that was happening. A house was built to house the newspaper office for the "Queen Charlotte Islander". Church services were being held at the hotel but on January 25, 1914 the first service was held in the newly built St Mark's Church with Rev H H K Greene officiating. Both the home for the newspaper and St Marks Church are still being used today although the newspaper is no longer operating.
Pressure was on Eli Tingley to settle his Timber Licence problem. The only solution was to purchase it, so with a hefty price tag he did this on Dec 29, 1913. The name was changed from Queenstown to Port Clements and was officially registered on March 19, 1914.
With enough children in the area the first school opened June 1913. Education would remain a problem for students as grade 8 was the end of the class room for most students. Beyond that was by correspondence and with the unreliable mail service assignments could be weeks before returned to the student.
Devastation would hit the area with the news of war in 1914. With suspicions of German cruisers off the coast, telegraph offices were shut down, all public and private works projects were suspended. With no employment the local men decided to enlist and get the war over with as soon as possible. Many lives were lost, but the few that did return built a club hall for their own which stands today and serves as the general store for the area.
But with the war came the demand for aeroplane spruce and Port Clements would grow to an estimated 1000 people. With the end of the war the demand for the spruce was lost and once again the little communtiy suffered. The depression years affected the area as elsewhere in Canada, money was short but gardens were plentiful and community spirit was high. Volunteer labour built community halls and provided entertainment. Ball games and picnics ended with big family beach parties.