Short History of the Fauquier-Needles Ferry

Special Thanks to the Arrow Lakes Historical Society

for the Newspaper Clipping of 1922

The community of Fauquier has been around for over a hundred years. If you are new to this site, it would be a good idea to view and read a few of the previous articles on the colorful history of mining. logging, fruit-growing in this little town. They can be found under the heading of Fauquier BC.

Early Fauquier Ferry - Photo Credit: Anette Devlin's Personal Archive, Fauquier BC
Early Fauquier Ferry – Photo Credit: Anette Devlin’s Personal Archive, Fauquier BC

Right from the start there was a great need to ferry people, goods and cattle across the Arrow Lake between Fauquier and Needles, which was a thriving and much larger settlement on the west side of the lake. A few enterprising people began to provide transportation by using their boats and barges. But as the newspaper article of the Arrow Lakes News of September 27, 1922, clearly indicated that was no longer good and safe enough.

Traffic Between Edgewood and Nakusp on Increase – Roads Need Attention

NAKUSP, Sept 27, 1922

With the in­crease in the number of motor cars in the various towns along the Arrow lakes making the through run between Edgewood and Nakusp and intermediate points, there is an equally increasing need of a proper ferry service between the east and west side of the lake at Fauquier and Needles. The present ar­rangement of a crude raft operated by an enterprising rancher at Fauquier for the public convenience is inadequate and even dangerous, especially for heavy cars.

 On Sunday alone four cars were fer­ried across both ways, one of which had its wheels in the water. There is much credit, due to Mr. Kendrik of Fauquier for assisting autoists across the water, but the operation is accompanied with a great amount of danger to lives. It is full time that the public works department of the provincial government rises to the occasion and build a ferry similar to that at Robson. The request has been made and passed by the asso­ciated board of trade on more than one occasion, but so far nothing has been done. A petition is being drawn up and circulated praying that this be carried out this fall, also the overhauling of four miles of road three miles south of Burton, which is covered with brush.

Fully Navigable Ferry - Photo Credit: flickriver.com
Fully Navigable Ferry – Photo Credit: flickriver.com

The outcome of increasing public pressure for better service was that the provincial government provided from that point on regular, safe and reliable transportation facilities, which included not only the ferry between the two communities, but also a highway link to Vernon over the Monashee Pass. When in 1967 the valley was flooded through the building of the dam near Castlegar, the provincial government was going to build a bridge across the lake at Fauquier. When this proved to be too expensive, a promise was made to provide government ferry service 24 hours a day free of charge.

Some thirty years later the costs of running and maintaining the service has become prohibitively expensive. The government attempted to wiggle itself out their obligation to the public by cutting back the time the ferry would be running and by charging a fee. This did not sit very well with the populace and public protests made the government back down. Another bridge building proposal surfaced, which almost became reality if it had not been for a sudden and unexpected increase in steel prices. The photo below shows the designer’s areal perception of the wonderful bridge that never was.

Photo Credit: http://www.b-t.com/
Photo Credit: http://www.b-t.com/

So today the cable ferry is still ferrying people, trucks and cars back and forth between Fauquier and Needles every 30 minutes between 6 am and 10 pm and is on call during the remaining night hours.

Fauquier Cable Ferry 2015
Fauquier Cable Ferry 2015

Fauquier BC Local History Photography Writing

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’m usually criticizing the media for sensationalizing the news to sell more papers, tv air time, etc – but when it comes to local history, the newspaper archives are great stores of information!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this article…thank you for sharing..I have many questions about what transpired since I left Fauquier in 1965..thank you for sharing the picture of the Fauquier / Needles ferry Annette.. Was happy to see the update on what happened to the Needles garage..there is a debate between some people as to what happened to the Adshead home in Needles ?? Love any and all input..

    Liked by 1 person

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