Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

Wednesday’s Photos

Autumn Impressions

As you travel west on Highway 6 starting at the Needles Ferry terminal you will find the Lost Lake after a 40 minute drive. At 1200 m altitude you will be breathing in the clean rarefied mountain air and enjoy the peace and quiet surrounding of this beautiful lake site. My wife and I travelling home during the sunset hour a few days ago decided to drop by and take a few pictures of the fall colours. Enjoy.


Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lakes

Wednesday’s Photos

Crossing the Lake on the Needles-Fauquier Ferry

The Needles ferry is part of the provincial highway system and therefore using it is free of charge. The ferry leaves each side of the lake every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. After that the ferry is on call during the night. Last week I had to do some shopping in the nearby village of Edgewood. Since it was a brilliant and almost cloudless day, I took my camera with me and captured the following images. As you can see, we are still in the grip of winter. Enjoy!

ferry 1

While waiting for the ferry, I captured the brilliant sunshine upon the lake.

ferry 2

The fully loaded Needles Ferry arrives.

ferry 3

Looking south from the Ferry

ferry 4

The Canada and BC flags against a Cloudless Sky

ferry 5

Looking North with Ingersol Mountain in the Background

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




Speech by Bernice Rutski on the History of the Edgewood Schools

The First Schools in and around Edgewood BC and the Grand Opening of the New Edgewood School in 1983

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SPEECH: Written and delivered by Bernice Rutski, Board Chairperson, on behalf of the Board of School Trustees, on the occasion of the official opening of Edgewood Elementary School, December 2nd, 1983.

It is my great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the Board of School Trustees, on this momentous occasion.

This evening we witness the culmination of long years of planning and consultation, designing and decisions, by a great number of people.

Now, I’d like to tell you a story – a true story, to take you back on a journey in time; to follow through, from the birth and growth of education, in Edgewood and Inonoaklin Valley – your Valley! I’d also like to name some of the people, and history, involved in this part of your past, some who are now long gone, and those who are with us yet.

Legend has it that the Indians named this Valley. It seems that long ago, before the arrival of the settlers, when the Indians visited the Valley, there was a fire burning, the whole area seemed to be one huge flame. Hence, the name “Fire Valley”.

The year was 1909, the place, Fire Valley School in Sleepy Hollow (which is now on the Gary Wood property). The proposed teacher was a Dr. George Heaton. There was, however, one big problem. The magic number of 6 year olds and up needed to start a school was then 7. There were but 6 youngsters, rumour says, all from one family. Nothing daunted, the elders searched the Valley far and wide, found one little 5-year-old boy named Frank Olds whose schooling began then and there.

That same year, 1909, another school was opened in old Edgewood town site (in what some of you may remember as the old Vroom home) . The teacher here was also a Heaton – named Leonard, and brother to Dr. George Heaton.

1918 saw a new Valley School built by Jack McLeod’s father, and known as the “old school-house”. A retired soldier named Ashmore was the first teacher in this school.

Edith Flick’s brother Harry Olds was Secretary-Treasurer of the local Valley School Board until some time in the mid or late 20’s. Edith Flick attended the Valley School at one time. Some of the teachers during these years were: Cole, Freeman, Don Burch, the late Wilfred Jowett, Dora Olsen and Mary Mills.

Much later in 1973, the old Fire Valley School was rented, and a library was opened by Joanne Shipman and Vivian Paseka, who kept it going for 2 years.

Late in 1979, Ambrose Laboucaine bought the place, is gradually renovating it, and plans to make it his permanent home.

The following year, 1919, old Edgewood had a new Grade 1-8 school.

The dividing line between the old Edgewood and Valley School attendance zones was Ferret Road. This is the road to Gerald Ferguson’s place. Each school had its own School Board at this time as well.

The 1920’s and 1930’s saw farmers come and go. Some farmers felt that the name “Fire Valley”, was a deterrent to gaining new settlers. They were instrum­ental in having that name changed to “Inonoaklin Valley”.

These years (30’s) were also the “Depression Years”. Scores of people, some young and some not so young, were on the move, looking for work. Due to the then limited access to this Valley, more people came here by design, than by chance. Some who came to teach were Edith Cummings, Mrs. Lees, Freddy Job and Vince Downing. With the advent of war in 1939 many of the young men left this Valley, some temp­orarily, others forever.

1940’s – Education in the 1940’s, as now, was important to the people, and to certain people that meant getting involved. For several years in the 40’s Minnie deGans, Mother of Margaret Bateman, was a school trustee for the Valley School.

During the years of the 1930’s and up to 1947, for those who wished to go beyond a Grade 8 education, there were 2 choices. One was to take the required courses by correspondence, and the other was to lodge in and attend school in a larger centre, such as Vernon, Nakusp, which was, to say the least, expensive.

Several, who ventured out, were Evelyn DeYeager, Winifred Ferguson and Hedwig Kline who went on to Trail and Vancouver.

1946-47 – Consolidation of schools took place in 1946 and into 1947. This meant that all local schools were incorporated into District No. 10. Local school boards were disbanded. Initially one person was appointed and one was elected to rep­resent this area.

1947 – Changes made by consolidation by 1947 were:

  1. All Grades 1-4 students from Needles, Edgewood and the Valley went to the Edgewood school. (Elsie Sugden, the teacher)
  2. Grades 1-5 went to Fauquier School.
  3. All Grades 6 and 7′ attended the Valley School, Doris B. Gibbs the teacher.
  4. Grades 8-9-10 went to Needles School (with John Wood  as teacher).

1949 – In 1949 a new 2 room Grades  1-6 School  was built in Edgewood, while a new 2 room School with Grades 7-12,    was built in Needles. This resulted in the closing of the Valley School.

1950 – From January to June of 1950, Hazel Haggart, still of Edgewood, replaced Elsie McBurnie nee Sugden, in the old Edgewood site school.

1950’s – A newcomer to the Valley in 1952 was a teacher named Yvonne Pattie, who taught 1 year here and 1 year in Nakusp, then she and Roy Donselaar were married in 1954 and Yvonne quit teaching. In 1957 Yvonne came back to teach and taught until 1966. Then in 1968-69 she was asked to teach High School students in Needles for its final year.

The year 1952 also saw electrical power made available to the Valley.

1950’s – Two of the trustees who represented the Valley and Edgewood during the 1950’s were Roy Bateman and Roy Donselaar.

As well, old timers, who have left us, Scotty Delvin, Charlie Claridge, and Vance Taylor served on the School Board from other areas of the District during the 50’s.

In 1959, the Edgewood School received an addition of a third room to house the Grades 1-6 students from Fauquier, Needles, Edgewood and the Valley.

The early 1960’s saw the introduction of T.V. to Edgewood and surrounding area.

1962 – By 1962, unease was growing in the District, due to fear of ratification of the Columbia Treaty. This treaty, which could and eventually did, changed the lives and the whole world adversely for a great many people.

1962 and on – Teachers coming into the District from 1962 on, had great difficulty in securing accommodation, due to the influx of Hydro workers in the area.

1962 and 1963 saw two new teachers come to the area, Erick Walters, and a young lady, who soon became Mrs. Terry Ewings. Nina has remained a teacher on staff since that time. Very commendable, Nina!

Mid 1962-66 – During the next few years, mid 1962-66, numerous people – Board members, parents, B.C. Hydro officials and teachers all spent a great deal of time trying to decide on a logical location for a new school. The difficulty was to accurately gauge the potential growth areas.

1966 – The trustees of this time, 1966, some of whom were the late Bill Craft of Fauquier, Don Williams and E. Milne of Edgewood, Robazzo of Burton, Glen Weatherhead and Jotf Lee of Nakusp were striving for a realistic sum of monies to be realized from the sales of schools, garages, teacherages and much land, south of Nakusp, with an option to purchase given buildings from B.C. Hydro, should they so desire. Eventually, the sum of $251,000 was received.

The Superintendent of Schools during the negotiations with B.C. Hydro was Claude Bissell, and H. Miller was the Secretary-Treasurer, until July 1966, when Laura Beingessner took on the job in September 1966. All dealings with B.C. Hydro were done before July 1966.

In 1967 the School Board accepted B.C. Hydro’s offer of 4.1 acres of land on the edge of new Edgewood town site for $1,200. The cost of the ATCO’s (trailers) and set up on the new site was $50,050.

With the impending flooding of Arrow Lakes imminent, October 1968 saw a new 3 room (ATCO) School in New Edgewood town site for Grades 1-7. Grades  8 -12 were bused to Nakusp, with Bill Penner as the driver.

It’s interesting to note that the school populations down the lake, which include High School students, vary little from then to now: Then – 243; Now – 253.

The garage from the old Edgewood town site school and the Needles garage, which Roy Donselaar dismantled, were used to make the 2 bus garage recently demolished to accommodate this new 1983 School.

In 1978-79 a kindergarten room was added to the Edgewood school (due to population explosion a few years earlier). The cost to the School District was $25,000 for the ATCO building alone.

During the years, the School Board, some of whom are with us tonight, was aware that the ATCO’s needed more than band-aid treatment. The buildings were wearing out quickly. Major repairs were needed, and a decision had to be made.

Finally in 1981 definite steps were taken. Late that year (81) Ministry Officials visited the District and the necessity for a new building was concurred with.

1981-82 – Much red tape was dealt with by the Senior Administration, (Stewart Ladyman and Norm Kuhn),in the next two years. The file on obtaining a bit of Crown Land is one inch thick.

  • 1981 The Board engaged the Architectural firm of Allen, Huggins, Thorburn in early 1982 to draw up plans for this school, estimated cost to be 1.2 million dollars. All staff, the community and various levels of government were involved in its design and services.

What was a dream in ink is now a reality in brick.

My thanks to all for the interest, co-operation and help shown me in my quest for historical information. A special thank you to Yvonne and Roy Donselaar and as well to my patient husband, who has been a brick (no pun intended).

On behalf of the Board of School Trustees I thank all those people, who in any way were involved in making this building a functional, educational environment for the students, and the adults of our Valley.




From Dover in England to Fauquier in BC

Richard (Dick) Horace Andrew Hall

A Call for Help by Guest Contributor Paul Loseby

My name is Paul Loseby and I live with my wife here in the middle of England.  My wife Penny’s heritage takes her through Kent and her she came across something which really saddened her until she heard about Fauquier, BC.


Modern Folkestone in Kent – Photo Credit:

Penny’s grandmother married for a second time in 1946.  Her new husband was a Richard Hall who had a son by a previous marriage.  That son’s name was Richard (Dick) Horace Andrew Hall and he was born in 1914 in Folkestone in Kent. Throughout the early 1900’s, the Canadian government had been trying to get young men and women to migrate to work on farms or as domestic servants.  Many youngsters went willingly but a great many, under the excuse of being unruly children or where their parents were suspected of being unable to bring them up properly,  were just taken from their parents and put on a ship.  This was contrary to the apparent aims of the people running the scheme – the British Immigration and Colonization Association.  There were also many stores of the children being poorly treated and cared for in the new country.  An uncertain future indeed.


Dick’s Father with Second Wife Edith – Wedding Picture 1946

We don’t know whether Dick went willingly or not but on the 18th October 1928 with the equivalent of a couple of Canadian dollars in his pocket and the clothes he stood up in, he boarded the SS Montcalm in Liverpool.  How could this be – a 14 year old child taken from his parents to start a new life alone? Dick was with a group of other minors under a scheme by the BICA whose headquarters were at 87, Osborne Street in Montreal.  These premises were also a hostel for the boys where they waited to be distributed throughout Canada.  They landed in Quebec on the 20th October.

SS Montcalm

Sadly not everyone fared well – some boys had committed suicide; not all were found homes and there had been a high failure rate.  This led to the BICA being temporarily closed in 1925 so that their affairs could be put in shape.


Today’s Main Street of Stouffville, Ontario

Dick it seems was one of the lucky ones who not only survived but thrived in his new country.  Shortly after arriving, Dick was sent to Stouffville in Ontario.  Here he began his work as a farmer’s hand.  He was obviously paid well as within three years, he had earned enough money to return to England to see his parents and spend the 1931 Christmas with them.  It was obviously his wish to return though as at the beginning of April 1932, he set sail, again on the SS Montcalm, for Halifax.


Home that the young boy Dick Hall left to go to Canada

Dick went straight back to Stouffville and then went to work on another farm owned by a William Hewlett.  The following year, still working on the farms, he moved up to Winnipeg in Manitoba.  There he worked for a Mr. Lindsay and was earning what would have been a lot of money in those days, $25 CA with his food and accommodation thrown in.

He then had the opportunity to move across to Lander, initially staying with relatives but within a few months, had moved up to the Bralorne mine where he worked for a couple of years.  When Canada entered the war, Dick tried to enlist but was rejected on medical grounds.  Not deterred and still wanting to help the war effort, Dick moved to the Vancouver Shipyards where he worked  during the war.

Vancouver Shipyards during WW2

Vancouver Shipyards during WWII – Photo Credit: North Vancouver Museum and Archives

In 1943, he met and married Alice Gledhill of Aldergrove.  He eventually left the shipyards and went to work for BC Electric for eight years before moving to Summerland.  In 1951, he was in partnership with his brother in law Morely Austin, running  a garage and grocery store in Needles.  He stayed running the garage until just before Needles was flooded.  In 1966, he moved to Trout Creek where he owned Trout Creek Shell but in September the following year, he died during heart surgery in Vancouver.


Needles across from Fauquier after Flood 1948

My wife and I met and married in 1968 and Penny’s granddad, Dick’s father used to tell us of how proud he was of his son and that he was living in Canada. He obviously never knew that  Dick had died the previous year. We wouldn’t normally have pursued the family history of someone who was not a direct blood relative but we did know Dick’s father well and have many memories and photographs of him in his later years. As soon as Penny realized what had happened to ‘Canadian’ Dick, she was heartbroken and in tears.  At that time, all we knew was that he had been put on a ship with just the clothes he stood up in and enough money for a drink on the way.  How could they do that to him?  We just didn’t know.  Since then we have tried to find out more about Dick, not just for ourselves but in the hope that we could find Dick’s children, Gordon, Lois or Carol and give them some insight into their grandfather who they would have never known.


Dick Hall’s house that had been moved  by barge to Fauquier

Canadian family history can be difficult with no records of births and marriages being readily available online so we have no idea whether ‘the children’ got married and had children of their own.  It would appear that after Dick’s passing, Mary his wife, married someone called Jackson as Dick is buried with her in the beautiful Peach Orchard Cemetery.

Now, looking on the internet at the absolutely beautiful place you live in, perhaps we should have moved too. If anyone does have any information or photographs of Dick and his family, we would really love to hear from them.  We can be contacted on our email
Paul Loseby

Note by Peter Klopp: An alternative way of sending information via Paul’s email would be the comment section of this post. Thank you, Paul, for writing this touching story on a former resident of Needles, BC. I am confident that the Arrow Lakes Historical Society will add your report to their archives.