museum

This week in history for Burns Lake

1928 – Charles Anderson and Mr. and Mrs. Morgan of the Taltapin Mine went fishing. When they returned to Anderson’s nearby property – which included a large fur farm – they found that the marten he was raising had escaped.

“Upon his (Anderson’s) arrival, one of his furry pets met him at the door, one was in his bed, and one was inspecting his cooking utensils,” reported the Observer newspaper. “It is Mr. Anderson’s opinion that the marten became lonesome for him and were hunting for him.”

Mr. Anderson’s other activities included “erecting a handsome five-room log bungalow on his fur ranch and building a road from his Taltapin Mine to a new mineral lead he found approximately 3.5 miles away.

1931 – The Observer reported that the section of Burns Lake destroyed in the May 1931 fire was “being built up rapidly.

“Building and re-building along Alaska Road, the main thoroughfare through the Village of Burns Lake, is in active operation, and soon the scars made by the fire last month will be entirely healed,” stated a frontpage article in the local newspaper. “On the Jewell property and the Kissock lot where the buildings were a total loss, men and teams have been busy for over a week clearing away the debris and making ready for the new buildings.”

Mr. Jewell planned to add a full basement to his building, as well as “plate glass windows, and linoleum on the floor.” L.G. (Gin) Saul was also planning a new residence.

1935 –Archie McPhail, who left Burns Lake in late May for the McConnell Creek gold rush north of Burns Lake and west of what is now Tatlatui Provincial Park, was recovering in the Burns Lake Hospital after suffering an injury.

Archie was limbing a log for a cache at Bulkley House when the axe he was using slipped and slashed his foot badly. The Burns Lake man walked to Vanderhoof (a trip of several hundred kilometers), where he was treated by Dr. W. Ross Stone before being transferred into the care of Dr. T.C. Holmes in Burns Lake. The damage to his foot was so severe that three toes had to be amputated.

1950 –The Review newspaper reported in June 1950 that a Kinsmen Club had been formed in Burns Lake, with Charlie Beatty being elected president. Other members of the executive included Ralph Anderson, Jerry Irving, and George Simpson.

1953 –The Review announced that a new grocery store would open in Burns Lake in July 1953.

The store, under the proprietorship of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Fields, would be located opposite the Beck Hardware Store in Burns Lake. It would be of “modern interior design” and include a “self-service, cash and carry, and feature groceries, fresh produce, frozen fruits and vegetables, and a confectionary.”

1957 –At approximately 3:10 p.m. on June 10, 1957, one man died and another three were injured while working on Aluminum Company of Canada infrastructure near Skins Lake.

The men were working on construction of the concrete apron below the dam when they heard what they first thought was a blasting explosion. However, it was not a blast, but instead the noise of one of the control gates (of the dam) buckling under the terrific pressure of 25 feet of Ootsa Lake behind it.

The Review reported that “a very power gush of water from the damaged gate swept four of the workmen off their feet and down the stream, battered by rocks and timbers in the maelstrom.”

Leonard Elstone of Marilla, Art Grasser, and Fritz Hawley (the latter two of Tatalrose) managed to reach the river bank and safety. Dr. Matvenko was summoned from Burns Lake, and treated the three men, who were later transferred to hospital in Burns Lake with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Pete Bueckert of Takysie Lake, a husband and father of three, was not so lucky. He died in the accident.

1976

Persistent wet weather forced the closure of two sawmills in the region.

Northwood’s Houston sawmill and Burns Lake’s Babine Forest Products both announced they were closing for at least a week due to a shortage of logs. A long, wet spring had made log-hauling impossible, resulting in both sawmills running out of wood.

Babine Forest Products was the worst hit, though company official Terry Bennett indicated that the planer mill at Burns Lake’s east end would continue to operate during the closure.

© 2020 Lakes District Museum Society