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This page last updated February 15, 2021
© Michael Kluckner
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Written/sketched in 2003: On the bench above the Cisco bridges, on the left bank of the river, stand the ruins of a resort known as Siska Lodge (Siska being the name of the Indian village a mile or two downstream). These days, you can miss it entirely if your eye doesn't catch the deep green patch of the acacia grove – a different colour from the bleached olive and black tones of the pines that typically dot the hillsides. Although all the buildings, except for the exquisite little barn in the watercolour above, are either reduced to piles of sticks or else (like the old lodge house) are roofless walls, the land is still neatly terraced, dotted with acacias, and irrigated for the current owner's vegetable garden.
At Cisco, below Lytton, the bridges of the two great national railways cross the Fraser River. The CPR surveys of the 1880s chose a narrow canyon there to take the river from the left bank across to the right; then, in the 1910s, the Canadian Northern Pacific (now the Canadian National) was forced to use a slightly wider spot just upstream to cross to the left bank on its way downstream toward Boston Bar. The site was much photographed, as in the hand-tinted one below, probably from the 1920s and published by the Gowen, Sutton Co. Ltd. of Vancouver, which inadvertently describes it as being on the Thompson River (which joins the Fraser at Lytton).
1949 photo by anonymous provincial government employee. The acacia trees that now are the only real indication of the old resort are visible to the left of the lodge.
Author's name obscured, unfortunately, by the UBC library cataloguing information!
From John Campbell, 2020: My wife and I were driving around the area and found ourselves down Siska Siding Road, by the railway. There we discovered a little track heading off down to the riverside. Halfway down the track we spotted a “Private property” notice. We couldn’t turn in the track so had to head down to the end and to our surprise we spotted stone ruins among the undergrowth. We didn’t hang around long but we could make out that there seems to be quite a lot of structured landscaping and stone foundations, with stone retaining walls and levelled lawn area. Even a ramshackle old outhouse that amazingly still stood! The spot was quite beautiful and it struck us that there must be some history to the site. I’ve done a bit of searching of what maps I could find, also searched online for any information and can find nothing whatsoever referring to any building on the site. Is there any chance you’d know what this site used to be? And who might still own it?
From Darlene Heal, 2019: While searching for information
about a place named, Siska Lodge, Cisco, I came across you
website on the Internet. I was recording details about an
old lodge on Quesnel Lake, built by the Gaugh family in the mid
1920s, and came across this tidbit about the Siska Lodge and
noted you did not have any details about this time period on
your website, so am just passing it along.
"A small lodge and auto camp are being built at Cisco to
replace the Siska Lodge which was destroyed by fire a few months
ago. The new camp will be modern in every way and will be
opened by May 1st Allen Gaugh, who built Siska Lodge and Mrs.
Gaugh were at the head of Quesnel Lake at the time of the
fire. They lost everything they possessed with the
exception of a few clothes they had with them. Mr. Gaugh
was one of the owners and builders, of Trail's End Lodge on
From Gerald, 2017: there are a few other shots of Siska
Lodge on Hank's
From Linda Weekley Stradley, 2015: I don't know for sure
when Siska Lodge burned down, but my Social Studies teacher
hired myself and another girl from Kumsheen to come out and
clean his cabin in 1969, so I know it was still there then.
I married in 1973 and left Lytton, so I can't say I know
when it met its end.
From Chuck Morris, 2013: Reading an excerpt about Siska Lodge I noted an entry by a fellow looking for pictures of the gas station and buildings at Jackass Flats. I too would be interested in this as we (Mom and Dad and three of my siblings and I) spent at least a year there. We went to school in Lytton and slept in one of the out buildings on the property.
When we moved from there we were going to Puntzi Mountain and Dad left our old Ford truck completely loaded with belongings, hidden behind the main building. When he and I had come down to get it many months later it was long gone.
For the short time we were there, somewhere in the early 60’s,
I have many fond memories of playing in the bush. In fact, on
the treed hillside behind the main building, about 20 or so feet
up was a couple of old car bodies. We used to play in those as
well (without fear of them freeing themselves and sliding down
The earlier message, from Dennis Chappell: I’m looking for pictures of the Jack Ass Café and Restaurant south of Lytton. I remember seeing it before it burned down, but that was a long time ago.
From Sharon Negraiff Ellis, 2013: I googled to see where
the post card I have of Siska Lodge was again. I knew there is a
Siska Native village near Kanaka Bar as I once had a dog (which
I got from the former managers of Kanaka Bar ) Alexis &
Bill. I named him Siska, as I think the dog was from the
village. He was a beautiful malemute which at the time was too
much to handle and went to a home on a Ginseng farm in Merritt.
I have a photo of him I will have to dig out one day. I am
attaching my Gowen & Sutton postcard of the Siska Lodge.
From Cliff Beattie, 2012: I just read your piece on
vanishing places in the Fraser Canyon, Fred Lindsay was a very
good friend of mine and the last time we visited at Siska Lodge
we were sitting at the kitchen table and Fred was Missing his
wife Florence, he had a big bag of silver coins on the table and
said help your self he didn't want them anymore so my friend
that was traveling with me and myself spent the afternoon trying
to cheer him up, we did not take the money but left him a little
more happy than when we found him. I have most of Fred's books I
am missing Mouse Mountain though but would like to find a copy.
After I moved Fred to the Vernon area he offered me the motel
for free and I have kicked my ass ever since for not taking him
up on his offer, by this time Florence had passed away.
Note from Robin Hickman, 2008: I live in Salmon Arm, as have members of my family since 1907 when my great grandfather, A. A. Brooke, homesteaded here after moving from Switzerland via Manitoba. He was a watercolour artist and painted illustrations in diaries he kept of his life since his early teens. His father was also an artist who made his living by painting landscapes of Switzerland and selling them to tourists. The reason for this was that he was banished to Switzerland by his father from England for having fallen in love with a family maid, my great, great grandmother. It was with some amazement that I happened upon your website after doing a Google search and found many ties to our family. My father, Bob Hickman, contracted to Charlie Nakamura during the 1950's and up until the bankruptcy of the Nakamura Mill in 1961. Further, my grandfather and grandmother, Harold and Nellie Brooke owned and operated Siska Lodge in the 1940s and 1950s. My uncle, Ronnie Brooke, lived his early years at Siska Lodge and is the holder of the diaries painted by A. A. Brooke. My family visited them several times at Siska Lodge in the 1950s, stayed in the old hotel and had many adventures on the river, railway trestles and area.
Collection of David Pollock
Note from David Pollock: I have a business card dating back to the 30s from Siska Lodge. I carry it in the glove box of my '35 Plymouth Coupe along with an envelope of miniature postcards of the canyon. The car is a twin to one my uncle used to drive the canyon route in the 30s and one day I intend to cover the same ground with it. I remember dining at Siska.... the potatoes were "off" and I have never forgotten the flavour. I think it burned down about 1965.
Some of the photos in a postcard set by J.C. Walker, Chilliwack. Collection of David Pollock
from Patrick Smith, 2008: I have been researching
my family roots and was brought to Vanishing BC as my
Grandfather lived in Walhachin Back in the early 1900's I
cant say for sure when but it would have been prior to 1929 as my
uncle Henry was born then but in Kamloops I do know that my
grandfather worked the railway an was possibly section foreman for
that area from about 1931 until when I have no idea.Interestingly
upon researching my family I came upon a little history of my
wife. The Siska lodge was owned and managed by a Fred Lindsay
which is her Great uncle. She has a book "Mouse Mountain" signed
by Fred and Florence Lindsay in 1964 to all his Poulton nieces and
nephews my wifes father passed the book on to her. So just a neat
little piece of history.
* * *
Kanyon View Kabins
|From Frank Seufert, 2021: I stopped here in November 2014
and took the attached photos. The property was neglected and
abandoned. No buildings were livable. The house I photographed I
believe to be the back view of the one you show in your blog. It
is however Rodent infested. Doors and windows missing. Roof
leaking. Floors rotting. Basically not salvageable.
Interestingly I found a shelter at the back of the property, at the tree (forest) line, made of bottles. Having posted these pictures on facebook I learned much of this place.
Keith Brown wrote: "This was my grandfather’s property in the 50’s and 60’s. Kenyon View Auto Court. William and Marie Brown operated the motel and leased out the restaurant to Mr. Mosley and wife. They had the peacocks in a large pen on site. The generator building was made by my grandfather’s brother Dave with embalming fluid bottles."
Tori-Lee Mcintyre wrote: "Brown I was told that my late grandparents Bill Walker and Verna Gustafson also ran this when it was a gas station at one point."
Cherrinton-Kelly, 2019: I saw your article on Siska
Lodge and it mentioned Kanyon View motel. Our crew stayed
there sometime in November, 1971. I do remember
Driving down to Vancouver November 11th. We were doing
clearing limits for the Mica Creek power line, driving in
from there up Anderson River on logging roads and flying in
by helicopter when no roads available. The motel was
run by a lady who cooked breakfast and dinner for us in the
little cafe. She had the big house and rented out five
or six little cabins, two of us in each one. After
graduating from SFU, i moved to Prince Rupert in 1972 and
the motel was sold to some hippies who took over the site.
The cabins got pulled down sometime later, perhaps
1975. Another place I remembered was the Kanaka Bar
restaurant. We used to stop there a lot in the
late sixties and early seventies. It had the
neatest stick chairs and tables. My girl friend at the
time worked there (1973-74) and the staff stayed in the
magnificent chalets behind the restaurant. I am sorry
to see all these places become decrepit and run down.
I think they should have been better preserved because now
that time, once so part of one's youth is now going on fifty
years past. In 1993, Kanaka Bar went up for sale for
$110K. It had several acres, went up the hill and had
a giant waterwheel up top! I or my workmates might
have some photos but cameras were rarer then than now.
From Diana Azevedo, 2014:
Just wanted to let you know yet another old highway
side piece of the fraser canyon's history has been burnt
down. The old Kanyon View Kabins motel/auto court just a
couple minutes outside Boston Bar were mysteriously set on
fire in the middle of the night. The main building here is
the only one burnt down.
[From Bob Brown, March 2008: The glass house at Boston Bar was also done by Dave Brown as his brother Bill owned the property. It was an auto court called Kanyon View, I think the building housed a type of generator. (This note about the Kanyon View came because of a query on the Sanca glasshouse page). And from David Pollock, 2009: Just to confirm that the generating plant at Kanyon View was a diesel unit and was housed in a glass block building visible from the highway.]
Abandoned motel cabins near Boston Bar airstrip
Written by me 2002: In my recollection, Fraser Canyon motels and houses had magnificent weeping willows – enormous yellowy-green trees swaying gracefully in the hot wind – but the ones here were probably the best ... I was inspired to go looking for it because of a comment made by Grace Darney in response to a statement I'd made about the Totem Motel, a fine establishment in Lytton. She wrote:
Update from Grace Darney in June, 2003: "Aunt Marianne died last December, and Uncle Bill died in March. We held his memorial service a couple of weekends ago and many people talked about how he kept the sides of the highway cleaned of metal trash. Some photos were on display, showing his garden as it was when they first moved there, a very different look from how it was last year. The property was sold to a young couple from Alberta." And, "In the 1930's, Bill and his two brothers built many rock walls in North and West Vancouver, and also in Shaughnessy."
Sharleine M. Haycock (nee: Bergot) Youngest daughter/stepdaughter of Bill, describes how Bill and Marianne were happy just to live their lives as they saw fit, without any outside interference or help from their extended family. They were well known up and down the Canyon, especially at Alexandra Lodge, where they often ate dinner and where Bill would entertain guests with his accordion. They bought the motel in the mid to late 1970s from a man named Couteau who had been running it as an antique shop, and never themselves ran it as a motel.
Winnifred Marianne Walker (formerly Bergot of Powell River) nee: Wakelin, January 15, 1912 - December 4, 2002, and William Albert Frank Walker, May 20, 1916 - March 23, 2003. "William and Marianne were married in North Vancouver, November 24, 1958 and ironically, that is where they both died. They had come full circle"--Sharleine Haycock
Bill Walker playing his beloved accordion at Jade Springs Cafe in Lytton on November 24, 1998. Photo by Sharleine Haycock
I went by there in early June, 2003, and saw that the site was being cleared up. Apparently it has been bought by a young couple from the Prairies who may reopen it?
Note from Cheryl Lea: My neighbor told me he had been surfing your site and came across the pictures of an old motel by the airstrip near boston bar and the write up of a "young alberta couple" who had purchased said property. He wondered if that couple was us. It is. I was thrilled to see the pictures and read about some history of our property. We are in the process of cleaning it up and making it liveable. It is a huge project and will be a work in progress for awhile. Mr. Walker certainly left a lot behind! It was interesting to see the picture of Mr. Walker playing his accordion because my Dad also plays that instrument! It is a beautiful piece of property and I would imagine it was stunning when it was well taken care of. My husband Ed and I haven't made any solid decisions on what we will be doing there but we are looking forward to building this place back up to what it must have been at one time. Everything needs a big dose of TLC!!! I would love to hear more about the history of our property. If you have any suggestions on where I could look I would appreciate the help. I love your pictures. That is exactly how the cabins looked.Update from Cheryl and Ed Lea, March 2008: I thought you might like to know that we have continued our clean-up project and have made progress. We are now living in the main house. Ed has done a fabulous job renovating the building. The property doesn't look the same now that the scrap is gone. The willows still blow in the breeze and the cabins are still there. One of them is still the same, one we started renos on and the other needs to be torn down. The roof fell in a
couple of years ago. The multitude of spring flowers is still a sight to see. We have become friends with Sharleine Haycock and she has been out to visit. She is amazed at the changes to her parents' home and is an encouragement to continue renovations.