Origin of Needles, BC

Needles took name from Arrow Lake Sandspits

by Greg Nesteroff

reprinted by kind permission from Arrow Lakes News

Needles, the western terminal of the Lower Arrow Lake ferry, was for­merly known as The Needles, and was first mentioned in the Nelson Miner of Nov. 30,1895, concerning two mining claims recorded by John D. McDonald and A. A. McPherson “at the Needles, Lower Arrow Lake.” In an interview published in the Arrow Lakes News on June 19,1958, Rose Wright explained the names origin: ‘“Why do you and many old timers speak of Needles as The Needles?’ ‘Well, it was always The Needles in the old days, due to the long points that reached out into the lake. It is only in later years that it has been shortened to Needles.”’ Actually, the shortened version actually first appeared in the Miner a week after the long version debuted, also in relation to mining claims, but it wasn’t until the Fire Valley post of­fice was renamed Needles on Oct. 1, 1906 that it became commonplace. Even so, the “The” stuck around for some time — the Nelson Daily News of July 13,1911 noted “Welford Beeton of the Needles came in last night…”

Needles Ferry (Fauquier - Needles) - Photo Credit: Gertrud Klopp

Needles Ferry (Fauquier – Needles) – Photo Credit: Gertrud Klopp

According to the BC Geographical Names database, Needles is the land­ing’s name, but The Needles is still the official name of the narrows, even though construction of the High Arrow Dam in the 1960s submerged both the sandspits and the commu­nity that grew up there.

A new Needles post office was established in 1908 and closed in 1968 upon the flooding of the Arrow Lakes. Today the only thing left of the old community is its cemetery.

In 1910, A.H. Green surveyed what’s now Fauquier, on the east side of the lake, but the map called it Needles Ranch, a name by which it had been known since at least 1905.

According to Just Where is Edgewood, a place between Needles and Edgewood was known as McKallister’s Landing, after “the land agent who settled the townsite of Needles.”

No contemporary examples have been found of this place name and it’s not known exactly who its namesake was, although he was apparently still in the area selling property as of 1911.

The late Bill Laux said McKallister’s (or McAllister’s) Landing was the site of the original Fire Valley post office, which opened in 1894. Later, the CPR called this place Page’s Landing after William Henry Page (1861-1933), an English miner who came to the area from Butte, Mont. around 1893 and served as Fire Valley postmaster from 1908 to 1910.

Just Where is Edgewood (which erroneously calls him Walter Page) describes him thusly: “ [H]e lived on the lakeshore between Edgewood and Needles … He had been married at one time but his wife never moved to the valley. He was always referred to as Captain Page and often took the part of Santa Claus in the early Edgewood years. He was a fat, jolly type of person.”

He was among the first burials at the Needles cemetery, although his grave is unmarked. A mountain ridge was supposedly named for him as well, but it’s no longer on the books.

Pages Landing was first referred to in the Revelstoke Kootenay Mail of Sept. 26,1902: “The scene of the new strike is only 16 miles from Page s Landing, on Arrow Lake …”

It was only ever mentioned a few more times.

George Craft is seen in front of the Needles Hotel, which was also the post office. He was postmaster from 1920 until his death in 1942, whereupon his wife Edith took over the job. Today all that’s left of the old Needles townsite is the cemetery. Courtesy Ed and Marian Craft

George Craft is seen in front of the Needles Hotel, which was also the post office. He was postmaster from 1920 until his death in 1942, whereupon his wife Edith took over the job. Today all that’s left of the old Needles townsite is the cemetery.
Courtesy Ed and Marian Craft




Chapter 22 of the P. and G. Klopp Story – Part I


From Darkness into Light


Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’

Erich Fromm

Filing a Complaint

Beautiful Feldafing at Lake Starnberg - Photo Credit: bergfex.com

Beautiful Feldafing at Lake Starnberg – Photo Credit: bergfex.com

Soon after my return to Maxhof, Gauke and I received the order to report to the commanding officer. I wondered what could be so important that we would be sent away from our very first driving lesson in the New Year. The young clerk in uniform behind the massive office counter told us that the captain was expecting us in his office. With a heavy heart we entered. After the perfunctory military salute the captain asked us to take a seat. I had the ominous feeling that we might have unknowingly broken some rules resulting in a disciplinary issue that the sergeant at the driving school could not handle himself. Without giving any explanation the officer informed us that we would be transferred back to our unit in Koblenz as of April 1st. We were stunned. But when the officer asked us whether we had any questions, Gauke inquired, “Why are we being sent back, if the purpose of the transfer was to have us trained as certified truck drivers?”

Villa Waldberta Feldafing - Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

Villa Waldberta Feldafing – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

The officer was a little taken aback, as soldiers are only allowed to ask questions, but not to question orders. But he must have realized that in this case we were entitled to know. For he said, “Soldiers that were transferred to my unit were supposed to be already fully trained as truck drivers. That was my request. Instead THEY send you! Dismissed!” From the furious tone of his voice, with which he pronounced ‘they’, it seemed to me that he was not angry at us, but at the system that cheated him out of two valuable truck drivers. Because of this ridiculous transfer I had not only lost out on the officer’s training program, but now I would also be deprived of the golden opportunity of getting my driver’s license. But what bothered my sense of justice the most was that we had been lied to, that the promise to provide driving lessons in January had been broken. In a violent outburst of angry words I released my frustration in a ten-page letter to Mother, which she acknowledged in a postcard expressing her hope that I had been able to calm down. In her motherly wisdom she had also destroyed the letter because of its incriminating content that she did not want anyone else to read.

Portrait of my mother - Erika Klopp

Portrait of my mother – Erika Klopp

Gauke and I had a good talk over a mug of beer in one of the local pubs and discussed what our next move should be to address the unfairness of our transfers. I suggested grieving the matter at the next higher authority. Gauke agreed and encouraged me to write the letter of complaint,  since with all my novel-writing I should have the better writing skills. Then we ordered another beer to drink to what sounded to us as a good decision. Within less than a week our grievance to the major in charge of the signal corps was in the mail.


Picnic at Taite Creek

An Afternoon with our Son Robert

Photo Judging Contest

Robert having concluded his engineering work at a new silicone processing plant in Tennessee drove in his truck all across the USA to pay us a visit before flying back to Germany, where another assignment is awaiting.


The sun came out after the rain, and we decided to spend the afternoon at our favorite campsite. On the way Robert’s sharp eyes spotted two bears grazing in the meadows. I quickly took Biene’s camera and hid behind the bush to let the black and tan bears come a little closer, before I snapped the picture above.


To our surprise the entire campsite was vacant. So we chose our favorite site near the bocce field that many years ago our son Anthony had built for us near the beach below. There we had coffee and tea before playing a round of bocce.



For supper Biene had prepared a delicious stew and fixed up a salad from the lettuce freshly picked that morning in our garden.



On the beach Biene discovered a piece of driftwood and her competitive nature challenged us to take a picture of this duck-like wood sculpture.


Which of the three pictures do you like best? Your participation will be greatly appreciated.



It was getting late. So I was making a campfire, over which we made two batches of popcorn. What a way to finish a wonderful outing with our son Robert!


Chapter 21 of the P. and G. Klopp Story – Part VII

New Year’s Eve Party

Chief Günther Kegler provides some much needed distraction

The stupendous outpour of pent-up emotions alleviated the anger and the pain. I began to enjoy the almost daily outings with my friend Gauke. But in spite of the pleasant distractions the visits to the pubs provided by the excellent beer, wholesome food, Bavarian music in the background, and the pretty waitresses in their traditional dirndls, I could not push the troubling specter of my lost love out of my mind. I had asked her for a farewell letter or card to end amiably what had started amiably. Two months had passed. The silence became unbearable. So against my own conviction like a moth attracted to the flame of a burning candle I wrote her another letter from home before Christmas, in which I reiterated how much I appreciated her supportive letters during the hard days of my basic training, Then all of a sudden as if triggered by the emotionally cry of despair on the last pages of my novella, I let the proverbial cat out of the bag, “… Add to that the devastating fantasy, which produced during our correspondence the strangest imaginary flowers. At times I saw you – please don’t be alarmed, dear Biene – in my arms, then at my side travel to Canada, study with me in Marburg or Berlin, and in the more distant, but all the more brighter future spend a life with you through joy and sorrow. All these fantasies essentially destroyed our relationship…”

Biene and Mother ß Christmas 1963

Biene (Gertrud) and her mother  Elisabeth Panknin – Christmas 1963

Again I urged her to reply, even if she had no desire to write, just one more time. Before I sealed the envelope, I inserted a short story, which I had especially written for her. I hoped that it would in allegorical terms evoke the tender feelings we had once felt for one another. I did not mention the novella, which as an unedited rough copy I did not yet consider complete. Within three days and just in time for Christmas a miracle occurred. The letter that I no longer expected, but had hoped for arrived. And what it contained surpassed all my expectations. Instead of a farewell message, she wrote that my story about little Irwin had moved her to tears, but more importantly that she had once entertained similar thoughts and dreamed similar dreams about the two of us living a life time together. Even though she too had also allowed her fantasy to go too far and expressed doubts about the fickle nature of dreams, which often do not bring the fulfillment one had longed for.  She placed her trust in the mysterious force called Fate that one day things would work out between the two of us. The way she was wording her sentences I sensed that she had gone through some troublesome times during that long period of silence in our correspondence. Some way or another the anguish was connected to her fiancé Henk, whose father had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Nevertheless the news that our friendship at least at the correspondence level had been restored gave me a big boost.

Helga Kegler - daughter of General Gerhard Kegler

Helga Kegler – daughter of General Gerhard Kegler

I participated eagerly in the preparations for the New Year’s family party planned by the ‘chief’ of the Kegler clan, Uncle Günther. In the large vestibule of the basement suite we set up a bar, which we dubbed the Flamingo Bar. The good uncle had it well stocked with choice wine and beer as well as nonalcoholic drinks for this festive occasion. We decorated the wall with pictures, photos and old movie posters. I even contributed my painting of the 21st century space woman now looking down on a happy party crowd. Happy and diverse indeed was the crowd ringing in the New Year, young and old celebrating in perfect harmony, Uncle Günther, Aunt Lucie, Mother and Aunt Mieze, Adolf, Eka (Lavana), my cousins Helga and Jutta, two young ladies, the daughters of a pastor’s couple, whose names I can no longer recall, and my humble self. My tape recorder provided the background music for the party, and whenever there was a call for a dance I cranked up the volume and switched the music to a livelier beat.

From left to right: Helga, Uncle Günther, and my sister Eka (Lavana)

From left to right: Helga, Uncle Günther, and my sister Eka (Lavana)

At midnight we raised and clinked our champagne glasses wishing each other a Happy New Year. With Biene’s letter tucked away in my suit pocket I looked with confidence into the future. I felt that 1964 was going to be a great year for me. However, if I had read Goethe’s autobiographical novel ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ and understood how I, like Werther, was also entangled in a love triangle, I would have been less optimistic. The frayed thread on which our love was hanging was ready to snap any time. Whether I would have shot a bullet through my brain on a night watch in the army, if Biene had married Henk, was doubtful. Eventually I would have found and married another girl. But the oppressive awareness of having lost my first love would have lingered on my consciousness for the rest of my life.

Jutta Kegler - Youngest daughter of General Gerhard Kegler

Jutta Kegler – Youngest daughter of General Gerhard Kegler

Outdoor Education at the Arrow Lakes

Guest Post by Erika Momeyer

Article reprinted from the ‘Rural Root’ Publication

ErikaM pic

Erika has been a classroom teacher for more than 10 years and previously worked as a park naturalist and environmental educator. Currently, Erika teaches in a K-3 classroom in Edgewood, part of the Arrow Lakes School District (SD10). During the past 7 years, Erika and her students have been going for weekly outings walking, skiing, snowshoeing, stomping, tramping, strolling, sauntering and discovering that outdoor experiential learning can be fun. Erika is also on the board for the Columbia Basin Environmental Educators Network (CBEEN) as well as the Local Pro D Chair for the Arrow Lakes Teachers’ Association.

Double 1

Back in September we collected a variety of nature materials to create self portraits with. Students were tasked with the challenge of using only objects from nature to make their portrait. It was inspiring to see the student’s faces jump out from the page. From a head of blond curls made of curled birch leaves, a long straight side ponytail made of grasses and a wide toothy grin of ghost berries or a students were able to use nature to show their physical characteristics and some personality. We used white craft glue to stick these portraits onto heavy cardboard. We also gathered sticks to spell out our names with and glued these to cardboard. Both of these projects are on display on our Wonder Wall, a place where we explore and ask questions about the world around us.

Double 2

During one of our walks students each collected a fallen leaf. We gathered at our meeting spot under the Pondering Pine and reviewed what symmetry means. During this time students gave me their leaves and I cut them in half along their axis of symmetry. The leaves were then taped into our Nature Notebooks. Students were asked to draw the other side of their leaf. Pencil crayons and shading techniques were used to try and match the drawn side to the real leaf. Students were then had to label parts of their leaf and write a brief description of their observations. To preserve the leaves in the journals we placed a small piece of clear shelf paper directly over the taped leaf and pressed firmly to seal.


Each student has a special bond with their Thinking Tree. These trees are chosen each September by the students and these trees become of place for journalling, observation, quiet exploration and occasional group play area. We try to visit bur Thinking Trees once or twice a month. It never seems to happen as frequently as we’d like. In order to carry a piece of our trees with us we made special amulets. We are fortunate enough to have a kiln at our school so we used regular clay. Air dried clay would also work for these. Back in the classroom I pre-rolled balls of clay about the size of a bouncy ball. In the forest students flattened the balls against the bark of their tree. We tried to find interesting patterns to press the clay into. We also poked holes in the top. Once dried and glazed we tied these to our walking backpacks. Students with extra time found other patterns including leaves and insect holes to make other amulets. These were made into necklaces and keychains.


Shortly before the Winter Break we made these Winter Solstice stars. During our walk students were asked to find 5 sticks about the length of their forearm and width of a pencil. We collected dead sticks from the ground. Using colourful yarn or natural twine we wove and tied the ends together creating a star shape. In order to maintain the shape we also tied the sticks near the middle where they crossed over other sticks. They weren’t too hard to make but definitely required teamwork and an adult to get them going. While I helped students with their star, the other students wrote in the Nature Notebooks about what they thought their Animal Personas were doing to prepare for winter. Animal Personas are animal names the students chose to use during our Walking Wednesdays and Outdoor Exploration activities. We have names such as Dr. Hornet, Sir Bobcat and Queen Owl. The stars looked great hanging in the window of our classroom.