Something really caught my eye in the last paper and I quote “The Lakes District News received a face lift recently, thanks in part to support from the Village of Burns Lake’s Facade
Improvement program.” What a great job of painting the Lakes District News building got, looks like new. They are great people and I enjoy working with them, almost like family. The staff deserve a nice building. The building is almost 100 years old and the history that is hidden in those walls would fill many books.
When we came to Burns Lake in 1941 it was a police station and a courthouse, a busy building. Constable Jack Clark was the only officer in charge of such a huge area.
Not only keeping the law in the Lakes District but there were many other things that went with it. The winters were tough to keep law and order, poor plowing if at all, ferry was taken out of service as well.
Jack was with the provincial police and he seemed to be on duty 24 hours a day. He had a nice family and we wondered if he had time for his family. I had a lot of respect for Jack as he got me off the hook as I had bought a saddle horse that was stolen.
I kept my horse but he gave me some good advice on buying horses plus a good scare. I still remember it all like it was yesterday. Buying stolen horses is a criminal offense and I’m a fast learner. This was many years ago now but my memory is still pretty sharp. As time went on more families moved in so as the population grew so did the provincial police force. Among the new officers was a new man called Tony West and his grey saddle horse. This was something new to everyone. Tony used his horse on patrol mostly on late duty.
This was in the 50s and there was lots going on in Burns Lake at that time. Tony was a superb rider and horse man. Rumour had it that he had been in the British calvary so no wonder. Of course he had a patrol car too but he liked his horse the best. The horse was so well broken and Tony would leave him standing and he would never move. Also Tony would stop the horse at the door to the bar with the horses front shoulders just inside to check out the going’s on.
It was not uncommon to see Tony escorting some person with too much to drink being taken to one of the cells until morning. Tony would have the guy by the scuff of the neck trying to keep up to the horse with Tony’s help. Tony had a stable close to the station for his horse. Tony was a good friend and I enjoyed his company, lots of good stories. He left and I lost contact with him. But I will always remember his grey gelding and how he was trained.
I have at hand what I would call a bundle of papers with the title on the history of Burns Lake by Barney Mulvaney and it’s very good reading if you can believe it all. It seems he was running a freight camp at Priestly and he got into a big poker game that night. It was a wild game and in the morning he found himself the owner of Burns Lake, lock stock and barrel. At that time there was only Barney’s tents and the CN station. It was not surveyed as a town sight until 1917.
Not many towns can brag about being won in a poker game. After the survey things began to move. Lots of new buildings going up. Burns Lake had started on being a town, no longer a tent town. At this time all of the business buildings were on the island. It’s interesting Jim McKenna was the first postmaster on the new town sight.
This stayed in the family name for many years. There was a post office on the island run by Laidlaw and he held it until Jim McKenna opened the post office in the new town sight. This brochure that I am quoting from is a treasure as the history of Burns Lake and the Lakes District.
If anyone is interested please feel free to go through it. It’s the best I have ever come across. The people who prepared theses records have their names listed in this brochure and I am shocked to see how many have left us. Acknowledgments are listed in this book.
The work that went into all the history is wonderful There is a date on a corner of one of the last pages, spring 1967. Although this book is almost 50 years old it’s still history and history does not change very much. This date may not be right.
Although I no longer live at the landing I still like to keep on top of the news. One thing is how many properties have changed hands. Good for the economy. After living there and being in business for over 70 years it leaves so many wonderful memories. What changes I have seen. They were good years. We took over the Francois Lake store in October 1941 from Very Taylor. Vern and his family moved to Burns Lake where Vern managed the hardware for Eby’s. They were good friends to us.
A little story
A man and his wife were going to the theater to watch a show. The usher asked them to sit by the door until he could find a seat.
The usher came back and said he had a good one for them, closer to the front. The theatre was well lit so the man walked in front of his wife to lead the way. As they started down the isle everyone started to laugh so the wife said they must be laughing at me.
So the husband walked behind her and he looked at her and he noticed a large sign on her skirt which said “please wait, this curtain lifts at eight o’clock.” No wonder the laughs. It seems the bench they were sitting on before entering the theatre had this sign on the seat and it stuck to her skirt so this is what caused the laughs.
Best I close now for another week.
Take care and have a safe week. Keep smiling as things could get a lot worse and always remember God loves you and so do I.
I hope my readers will enjoy some of the old history I have put in my column this week.