John J. and Elizabeth Russel McGlone arrived in 1914 from the Riverdale area on the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto. They gave up a secure lifestyle; he as a planerman at the J. & J. Taylor Safeworks and she as a sales person in T. Eaton’s chinaware department, to seek a more adventurous and independent life in an obscure place in the West, named Malakwa, British Columbia. The townsite plans they had been shown by Eastern developers were very enticing and a complete community was envisioned and mapped out with the speculation that the C.P.R. would support the growth of such a boom town.
The McGlones took over a post-office and established a store located right across the road from the present Malakwa School. They remained in that location until the 1920’s then moved the business into a log stucture in the latter part of the decade until they took on the Imperial Oil products. At that time they built a beautiful new general store and residence as well as a gas pump on their property area in the vicinity now know as Loftus Road. At that time they relinquished the post office to Mr. Jack LeBeau who operated it in conjunction with his store just a very short distance north of their location both being on the then trans Canada highway.
This was a true general store. They stocked and sold groceries, dry goods, patent medicines, meat, (brought by the train from Calgary) and stored in an ice house behind the store, harness, nuts and bolts, hardware, dishes, petroleum products, bakery goods and even blueberries picked from their own property. The store was open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until the last customers had left, 364 days a year with Christmas day being the only closure. During the depression years, they charged groceries for many families some bartered farm produce in exchange but many accounts were never paid. They also fed many a transient during that time, always asking for a small task such as chopping some wood to be performed in return for food.
They endured the bureaucracy of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board as well as the years of rationing books and coupons which were imposed upon all citizens during the second world war years of the forties.
Mr. and Mrs. McGlone donated a portion of their property for the erection of the Cenotaph to remember those lost in both Great Wars and the cemetery property once belonged to the McGlone family. In 1956 the additional property between the cenotaph and the school was arbitrarily removed from their property to facilitate the playground expansion for the Malakwa School.
Although their dream of seeing Malakwa develop into the town that had been envisioned on the site plan when they arrived in 1914 did not materialize, they spent half a century and the balance of their lives operating McGlone’s General Store, contributing to the spirit of the community, displaying great independence and setting the best example of loves well loved.
Submitted by E. M. Helen (Humphrey) McLean, Grandaughter
McGlone’s store and gas pumps were situated across from where the Malakwa church is today.