Lighthouse History – 14 (1901-02-12 to 1901-06-20)

Lighthouse History – 14 (1901-02-12 to 1901-06-20)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


“W B G” of Alberni writes, under date of Feb 6, to the Vancouver Province as follows: Editor Province: As you will see by the heading of this letter, I wish to attract through your columns, if possible, attention to the unguarded condition of West Coast Vancouver Island. By unguarded, I refer to the lack of communication and also of warning from which that coast is in need. The Dominion Government has granted an appropriation for a telegraph line to Alberni from Clayoquot, which is certainly, when accomplished, a step in the right direction. But I consider it will be but one step in the direction desired, and the erection of at least 2 or 3 more lighthouses or beacon stations is imperatively required along the long and dangerous coast line on West Coast Vancouver Island, which has been only too significantly named the “bone yard of the Pacific”. Whilst I am writing this the United States Government vessel Grant is cruising up this coast to find, if possible, further particulars and details as to the cause of the large amount of wreckage strewed from Carmanah Point up. Does it not forcibly appear that there should be some means of perhaps preventing – at any rate warning – and very often saving the lives of those on vessels that by stress of weather have been driven on this rugged coast? At present, after the disasters, inquiries are made and search instituted for vessels whence wreckage has been strewn. This method is in the last degree unsatisfactory, and where so much is at stake, the lives of so many during the year being threatened. I think that this matter should be brought before the Dominion Government, not by one section of this province, but by the whole, or rather the representatives of the whole province. For the honour of British Columbia, the Dominion representatives of this province should see that adequate protection and means of warning are given to the most dangerous portion of the seaboard. W B G. Alberni, Feb 12,1901. [Colonist, 1901-02-12]

Dominion Government Steamer Quadra returned yesterday morning from her cruise to a number of the gulf and coast lighthouses, going as far as Barclay Sound… When at San Juan Captain Walbran noticed that the botanical station being constructed was well under way by the Minneapolis botanists. [Colonist, 1901-05-19]

A letter from N K Luxton, one of the ship’s Co of the little yacht Tillicum, dated from Dodge’s Cove, on Jun 15 says: 
“The day we left San Juan the usual offshore morning breeze of Vancouver Island was blowing. The glass was none too steady, as for the past 10 days it had been blowing all kinds of winds and from every direction of the compass. We got Cape Flattery well over our stern some 40 miles when the glass commenced to fail and that very rapidly. In less than an hour Tilicum was under close sail, in one of the largest Southeast gales that ever came out of the Columbia River in summer months. The jib sheet in which we have no reef was blowing to ribbons, but the canoe rode the mountainous seas like a duck, shipping a sea only once and that was when the jib sheet was lost. The sea, however, did no damage except to carry away the Capt’s hat. To make things more interesting, it commenced to hail and this caused us to turn back. The paint on the canvas with which the deck is covered was not thoroughly dry and the little pieces of ice soon had it all off. This started a leak, so we thought it wiser to make the nearest harbour, which was Cape Beale, which place we made that night, dropping our anchor behind the light about 9:00. Rounding this rock was the most dangerous proceeding of the day, for as we advanced towards the Island the wind eased off and when opposite the inlet past the light, we had hardly steering breeze, but a favourable tide carried us past this dangerous piece of coast. 
“We have taken some very interesting photos of the Island timber lands and homes of the ranchers and farmers with which we trust to do the Island of Vancouver considerable good in our travels. One photo in particular is a cedar tree on J J Baird’s ranch, at San Juan, measuring 18′, 8” in diameter. At this place also (Dodge’s Cove) we have swelled our collection with pictures of Indian life and curios as well as at Cape Beale. One picture of this place given to us by Mr Patterson, of Cape Beale, is of the lighthouse, as it was decorated with flags on Ladysmith Day, reading “Well done”. 
“We expect to sail now very shortly, as the new coat of paint given our canoe is almost dry.” [Colonist, 1901-06-20]

Published by

Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *