A BRIEF HISTORY OF APPLEGROVE ROAD
By late Bill Laux
Applegrove Road takes its name from an early real estate development at the mouth of Taite Creek. Sometime before 1912, real estate promoters, probably from Edmonton, bought lot 6904 and had that thin slice of lakefront north and south of Taite Creek cleared and apple trees planted on it. One street, Edmonton Avenue, was laid out running north and south and crossing Taite Creek on a bridge. Lots on the lake shore side of the street were one acre in size. On the other side larger lots were available.
A trail was slashed through from the development to Fauquier. This was not intended to be a road but rather a trail down which Fauquier farmers could bring their teams to clear and log the company’s land. This trail established the route now followed by Applegrove Road.
Lots were sold in Applegrove to immigrants from Britain and at least six houses or cabins were built on the site. Col. Harrington called his place “The Wilderness”. Other houses were those of the Passmores and Ferguson. The Boothbys who owned three lots in the town site built their house there. Captain Harkeness had a cabin and George Manson a house and barn. A German couple, whose name is not remembered, also had a house and farm on the town site. South of the townsite was the home of the Littlewoods. Half a mile further south came the Oswald Jowett place and south of it was Sherwood, the home of the Jowett Brothers who had come in 1909. South again was Beeston Lodge where Walter Jowett lived.
It is fair to say that these early residents were like-minded people, all of them wanting to get out of the crowded and smoky cities of England and live an idyllic, rural life supported by fruit growing, trapping or farming. They came, took up land at this most remote spot and invented a way of living, which suited their values and needs.
Perhaps a dozen people in all lived on the East side of the lake at Applegrove and south of it at Sherwood. For a few years they were free to follow their ideals and dreams putting together subsistence farms and working on logging crews for a cash income. However, World War One took away most of the young men. It is not certain whether any returned to Applegrove. With their Returned Soldier’s Grants they were able to take up more suitable land on the Edgewood side. At Applegrove at least one farm was still occupied and worked well after the war by the German couple and some of the buildings there continued to be used as summer cottages.
South of Applegrove the Littlewoods were still producing apples and south of them the Jowetts at Sherwood. In the 1920s Bernard Ford from Edgewood bought the lot north of Applegrove and lived on with his wife Alice for some years before moving back to Edgewood.
At the Fauquier end of the Applegrove trail settlers were taking up lands they intended to farm. Anthony Mosheimer preempted the now Mead-Eichenauer place in 1897, though it is not certain when he had completed his improvements and took title.
A man named Dougelle built a cabin on the beach at Fauquier and opened several mining claims on Star Knoll back of Fauquier. Leonard and his brother George Funk walked a horse and a cow over the old Monashee Trail in 1897 and took up two lots on the lake shore south of Fauquier. They built a cabin and cut cord wood for the CPR boats. Funk also took up a preemption on the meadow along the Applegrove trail and drained it with a ditch to create a (Lot 7126) hayfield. Funk had come from Alberta and had left word there that any Albertans looking for land in British Columbia would be welcome at his place to work for room and board while land-hunting. Quite a number of footloose Albertans came through the Arrow Lakes looking for land to farm and numbers of them worked for food and shelter at Len Funk’s. Rollie Crabbe, of Edgewood, is one of the Albertans who came to the Valley this way.
Also in 1897 Aubrey Thompson arrived and took up a preemption just south of Leonard Funk. He also bought Dougelle’s mining claims up Heart Creek, but no mineral is recorded as coming out of them.
August Scribe arrived about 1916 and bought Thompson’s lot 7604 just south of Funk’s. There is a story of his loading all his stumps along the lake with explosives and then waiting to fire them when the Governor General, the Duke of Conneaught, passed by on the Minto. The Governor General, it is said, came to attention on deck and soundly approved of the unexpected rural salute.
Thompson left when his sons went into the army in 1914. A trail indicated on old maps as a road ran from Scribe’s land south on or just above the beach to reach Bernard Ford’s property and Applegrove. This was only passable in the low water season and was probably only used to get teams down to continuing logging operations up Taite Creek. Scribe was a great believer in the healing properties of Octopus Creek Hot Spring and built a cabin there to which he would make trips to bathe and try to cure his arthritis. In 1968 parts of this cabin still stood.