Hauling chicle blocks downriver early 1900's
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Friday June 10, 2016

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Hauling chicle blocks downriver early 1900's

Photo shows men with barge-load of bundles block of chicle, Haulover creek, circa 1919. They would unload in front of the Holy Redeemer school.

Charles Chadwick Wagner used to bring big blocks of chicle home and when he boiled it my cousins rita Mae and Shirley, would get big wads of it to enjoy those were the days. ...

There are certain things in our history that we would not like have repeated such as Colonialism and Slavery. However, last week, I was looking at the photos from the latest drug plane bust and I was saying to myself how similar the blocks of cocaine looked to blocks of chicle from the early 1900's. It made me think a little about historic events happening in cycles. What if our historic Chicle Industry after 60 years is repeating itself, but this time it has mutated into something different; similar package, different product and different method of distribution and transportation.

The Chicle Industry started after the mahogany and logwood industries died and basically played a large part in saving us economically during the early 1900's. We live in a capitalistic economy; therefore, when one industry fails like the mahogany did, another will pick up the slack the way chicle did. This time however, it will look like blocks of chicle, but it will not be chicle.

It was a dangerous way to make a living. You have to climb the tree with just a rope to hold you like a hammock and some men fell to their death accidentally cutting the rope that sustained them. Very sharp machetes were used for that task. No safety harnesses, no hard hats, etc. Those were the days of exploitation by the British.

Luz Hunter: Isn't that the Belize River? I see a few people calling it Haulover Creek, but have yet to see that name on any map. The creek that has grown considerably in the last 200 years at Haulover Bridge is Haulover Creek as far back as I can remember.

Photograph courtesy Noel Escalante

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