The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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Category Archives: Fauquier BC

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 He published many magazine articles, though his books are unpublished.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When looking through the archives at the Fauquier Communication Centre, where Bill Laux’s unpublished works are located, I came across a few old floppy disks that contained among other documents two of his major unpublished books on the railroad and mining history in the Kootenays.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.

 

Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

Exploring the Island across the Lake

In the late 60’s BC Hydro flooded the valley after building a dam to provide some control over the fluctuating water levels of the Columbia River. The stretch between Galena Bay in the north and the town of Castlegar in the south is known as the Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes. But BC Hydro’s main purpose was to generate electricity. Thousands of people were forced to leave their land along the lake shore. The island, which my wife and I canoed to, was once connected to the land on the opposite side of the Columbia River.  Before the dam was built, the island was rich farm land with an orchard and a farm on it. As you can see, two weeks ago the forests nearby were still burning with a lot of smoke in the air. We are grateful for the rain, the end of the wildfire and the clean air we can breathe again. Enjoy the photos.

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The Fauquier – Needles Ferry

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Looking East where the Fires were Burning

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Driftwood Sculptures on the Island

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Driftwood Arch

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A Sprinkling of Red from the Rose Hips

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View through the Trees onto the Lake

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Nature’s Sculptures Everywhere

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

A Glimpse at Wildlife – Part I

Of all the large mammals the deer population appears to be the most abundant in our area. Hardly a day goes by without encountering one or two deer standing by the roadside. They have become so accustomed to humans that they don’t even bother to retreat into the woods when you point your camera at them. Black bears are next in line. Lately they have become quite a nuisance and have visited our village, especially in the fall, when they create havoc among our fruit trees. They like to come at night and raid our apple, pear and plum trees. The result is often a mess of broken off branches. The photos have been taken over the past three or four years. Enjoy.

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Black Bear among the Bushes

fawn

Fawn not more than 10 m away from me

two dder

Twosome Caught Grazing on a Hillside

buck

Buck in the Early Morning Light

Twin Moose

Rare Sight of Moose Twins close to the Lake

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

Introducing the Alberta Rose

The Alberta rose is the provincial emblem of the eastern neighbour of BC. It is such a beautiful flower that I am inclined to call it the queen of the wild roses. It thrives in cold climates, but it does not disdain to grow in milder regions such as the area around the Arrow Lake. I took the photos in a single session late in the evening as the sun was setting. One landscape shot with a rosebush in the foreground shows the Needles ferry as it was crossing the lake. Enjoy.

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Three Stages of Development in one Photo: Buds, Flowers and Seed Heads

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Rosebush decorating the Lakeshore

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Rosebush against the Evening Sky

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The Needles Ferry making its 15 minute Crossing of the Arrow Lake

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Close-Up of the Queen of the Wild Roses

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

Hard Evidence for Spring’s Glorious Arrival

After a long and dreary winter, spring has finally arrived. Being four weeks late here in the Arrow Lake region, nature is literally exploding into action. The photos below have all been shot on a single day last week: one at the Fauquier boat dock, two at home, and the other two at the Taite Creek Campsite 10 km south of our small community. Each photo is glorious testimony for the miracle of life through the re-awakening of nature after winter’s long resting period. Enjoy.

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Nature’s Stirring at the Arrow Lake

IMG_2989Violet

Wild Violet showing off its Beauty

IMG_3209HummingBird

Hummingbird on top of a Pruned Maple Tree

IMG_3224Leaf

Tree Branches within a Serrated Leaf

IMG_3220Grass

Fifty Shades of Verdant Grass

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

Junco Posing for the Photographer

It is hard to believe. But recently as I was walking past a maple tree I noticed a little bird with a black cap, a cute little junco, sitting on a branch. Normally they fly away as soon as you point the camera in their direction. It is quite possible that he must have observed me a couple of times as I was filling the bird feeder and perhaps thought that no harm could come by staying and in gratitude would allow me to take a couple of shots. Well, if this sounds like an unbelievable story, have a look at the pictures and decide for yourself. Enjoy.

IMG_2952JuncoIMG_2951JuncoIMG_2947JuncoIMG_2946JuncoIMG_2953Junco.jpg

 

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