The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Introducing Bill Laux, Late Local Artist, Writer and Castle Builder

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1960A051Bill Laux

Bill Laux: Writer, Artist and Castle Builder

From the Obituary Column of the Arrow Lakes News

The Arrow Lakes lost another of its World War II veterans. William Arlington Laux, age 79, resident of Fauquier for 42 years died of cancer in the Arrow Lakes Hospital on October 7, 2004. He is survived by one brother, Jim Laux, in Florida, USA as well as three nephews. Bill’s wife, Adele predeceased him in 1967. Bill was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on February 28, 1925. He entered the US Army in 1943 and served with the Allied Army troops that crossed France and northern Germany ending World War II in 1945. After the war Bill studied English at university, but chose not to be an academic. Instead he worked outdoors. First with the Forest Service, then the California Park Service and finally as grounds superintendent at Yosemite National Park. While at Yosemite he met and married his wife, Adele Osborne. Bill and Adele immigrated to Canada in late 1962, where they were apprentices to Jack and Janie Ise of Vaki Batiks who moved their business from Mexico to Cedar Springs Farm, south of Fauquier on the lakeshore. A couple of years later, the Wises sold the business to the Laux’s who continued making and selling batiks, an enterprise Bill continued for many years after Adele’s death. In the early 1980s Bill started a new career as historian searching out the stories and locations of the early mines and railways of the West Kootenays and eastern Washington state. He published many magazine articles, though his books are unpublished. Bill is known for his endeavours as an artist, a writer, a builder of buildings made of mud-cement bricks, a small hydroelectric plant operator, as well as an exotic evergreen tree nurseryman.

When looking through the archives at the Fauquier Communication Centre, where Bill Laux’s unpublished works are located, I came across a few old floppy disks that contained among other documents two of his major unpublished books on the railroad and mining history in the Kootenays. The data that I found were recorded in the ancient Apple format. It took me considerable time and effort to have these data decoded. As I publish them one chapter at a time, I will also make them available to the Arrow Lakes Historical Society headquartered in Nakusp. In doing so I hope to pay homage to a great local artist, writer and castle builder, who died too soon to see his historical research published. The book that I published last year was on the colourful history of the railroads . The second book focuses on the era of the mining industry in the Kootenays. Both railroads and mining are intimately connected with each other, as one could not exist without the other.

 

28 thoughts on “Introducing Bill Laux, Late Local Artist, Writer and Castle Builder

  1. kopfundgestalt

    Looking forward to the next chapters!
    I know of one community who takes care of otherwise lost works of local artists. As far as I know they grant exhibitions for at least some time, for some years.
    What else can you do? If you do nothing, then some often extraordinary works are lost completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      You are so right about the loss of some extraordinary work. That’s why I publish Bill’s works to prevent this from happening. I also submit the chapters of his book to the local historical society in Nakusp. Best wishes! Peter

      Liked by 1 person

  2. maryannniemczura

    Thanks for publishing Bill’s works and for posting this fascinating piece of history. I know Batik fabrics. Is that what Batiks are? If so, the vibrant colors always attracted me to this form especially in scarves but also in quilting fabrics. You have been busy with your research too! History is an intriguing subject.

    Liked by 1 person

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