Return to main Vanishing B.C. page Return to home page
This page last updated February 12, 2011
© Michael Kluckner
Written/sketched 2000: The idea of a forestry camp on the almost treeless, arid benches near Ashcroft seems like a joke. For the more than 40 years I can remember travelling the Trans Canada highway, I've been intrigued by the rather military quality of this collection of buildings, with orange-and-white-striped pylons holding, presumably, radio antennae, next to Ashcroft Manor (just west of Cache Creek). There are two distinct styles of buildings: first, a row of gambrel-roofed houses with prominent shed-roofed dormers that face the highway; and, a handful of simple gabled buildings arranged more randomly among the pylons behind the other houses. Apparently, according to the Ashcroft Museum, the site was originally a forestry camp, but became an army station during the Second World War--a communications station, presumably. Now the site is completely abandoned, the buildings boarded up, and I wonder every time I drive the Trans Canada whether they'll still be there.
The gambrel-roofed designs of the houses facing the highway (on the right above) are almost certainly those of Henry Whittaker, BC Provincial architect, about 1918-1919. They showed up in returned servicemen's housing in South Vancouver, and in provincial police buildings such as the former lock-up in Burns Lake, a larger building. The standard forest-service buildings, and many of the small ambulance crew buildings scattered around the province, appear to be evolutions of this basic design.
Note from Vashti Fisk [née Parker, whose mother DeeDee was one of the Cornwall daughers from the Manor]: "The DOT buildings near the Manor were originally built for a Radio Range Facility for the DOT about 1944 until that was phased out and the site was turned into a weather station in the 60's.This lasted a few years before it was briefly turned over to the foresty. It was sold sometime in the early 70's.....the dates are hazy offhand but we do have records somewhere I believe.We don't know the name of the present owner. It is so sad to see it as it is now. It was once so well groomed and cared for. The original inhabitants were really wonderful neighbors but we have lost touch over the years."
From Michael Taylor, 2011: Am proud to tell you the houses and garage were built by Taylor & Son, that's my grandfather John (Jack) C Taylor and my father Clifford Taylor (Kamloops pioneers since 1907).
Understand they were built in early 1940's after Cliff &
Jack had built housing at Bralorne mine site in 1935-37.
Taylor & Son also built wartime housing in Kamloops in late
1930's and early 1940's.
Photo by Ken Sigfusson, 1946, showing the edge of the site.
A 2008 photo of one of the houses by
Bill Grulkey, Vancouver
His photo collection can be viewed at: www.altphotos.com
( keyword search: grulkey )