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This page last updated March 5, 2003
© Michael Kluckner
"Gas for Less" – featured in the movie "The
Pledge" (2001) starring Jack Nicholson. It stood in for an
imaginary place in Nevada, surprise surprise, and there was no
acknowledgement of its location. Lytton? Where's that? Who
cares? It's actually on the outskirts of Lytton, on the
highway going north toward Lillooet.
But it turns out to be "instant heritage"!
Note from Catherine Schulmann, Lillooet: The truth is, Gas for Less is all Hollywood magic. It was built as a set for The Pledge, and while the movie didn't mention Lytton, it had obvious markers, such as the street sign for Botanie Valley Road. Isn't it cool what a good job the set designers did of making the place look like it had been around for 60+ years? I love this building, and don't mind that it's actually less than four years old. You probably noticed that the cashier and store is in a construction trailer inside the "garage". The garage was build around it.
As it was about 40 degrees C./100 degrees F. on the June day when I stopped in a patch of shade to paint, it reminded me of boiled-over rads, radiators plugged with bugs on summer holidays, and especially of a car trip – the last one I took with my mother – on Dominion Day, 1967 (which was the centenary of Canada, as it turned out), when our car overheated and we pulled into a service station in Grand Forks, or perhaps it was Trail, and spent the afternoon while a grease-stained mechanic fixed it.
(The photos below are in the immediate vicinity of the curious old forestry camp next to Ashcroft Manor)
Ashcroft Manor Service Station, 1946. Photo by Ken Sigfusson, Langley, BC. This is a copy of a copy, which will be replaced if Ken can locate the original.
A very murky photo c.1945 showing the service station, Ashcroft Manor (that is, the current historic building on the Trans Canada highway) and the row of rental cabins that are currently (2002) being rebuilt.
1939 Chevrolet trucks of the Canadian Army on the Trans Canada highway passing Ashcroft Manor. Photo from the Hank's Truck Pictures website, which has a number of BC images.
Long a fixture of the TransCanada highway between Chase and the Shuswap, the store has in recent years been a youth hostel. It is home also to a colony of rare bats. Its brick facing (over a timber frame) is very unusual for a boomtown-fronted building in the province. I don't know of any large number of brick buildings in the Chase area, but presumably there was a brickworks somewhere nearby. Note the gasoline bowser--the only remaining ones in use today (I know of) are at Trout Lake, north of Kaslo in the Lardeau area of the Kootenays.
The highway bridge crossing the Bridge River near its confluence with the Fraser River just north of Lillooet. The road heads off to Gold Bridge and Bralorne. This old bridge is a sort of box truss – is it called a "trestle bridge," or . . . ? Does anyone know its construction date – I gather this road is 1950s-vintage.