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Page last updated April 23, 2018
© Michael Kluckner
Watercolour of the Beaverdell Hotel, painted in 2001
Written in 2003: Beaverdell provides a bit of a break on the long run from Kelowna down Highway 33 to Rock Creek, with a couple of cafes and stores and the venerable Beaverdell Hotel, which its owners claim is the oldest continuously operating one in the province – leading, as Rosemary Neering quipped in her Traveller's Guide to Historic B.C., to some very tired bartenders. Everybody's a little vague about the dates and so on – I'm wondering if anyone has any definite information on the hotel and its history. Beaverdell and Carmi both have histories entwined with mining and logging, with the route of the Kettle Valley Railway, now part of the Trans Canada Trail, passing nearby higher up on the hillside.
From Terry Turner (Riondel and West Kelowna), 2018: I
worked on the Blizzard uranium property near Lassie Lake, east
of Beaverdell between 1976-79. Our exploration crews spent many
nights socializing at the hotel. I think everyone had a blue
T-shirt, "Beaverdell Hotel, Home of the Horny Black Beaver" They
often had the Asshole of the Month contest, and a few crew
members won the bragging rights. I remember Pat Viscount
(Viscount Inn) before he was tragically killed. Others included
John McKinley (a local), Phil Olinger (Carmi) and a fellow named
Hincks (the Carmi Railway Station). A friend and I wanted to buy
the Carmi Hotel when it still had 3 walls but it was one of the
best investments we never made. Lots of fond memories of the
Update March 28, 2011: I just heard from Chris Walker, news editor at CBC Kelowna, that the Beaverdell Hotel burned down last night. What a total drag...... and, from Coral Fife: It is a sad day for the Williams Family. My grandparents Mervin and Delia Williams owned the hotel in the 50's and 60's. My parents were helping after my grandfather passed and lived there with my sister. It has been the last link to my grandfather for most of us. Five generations have had their photo taken on that porch. And many family weddings and parties took place there. Love your photos and write up. See below for more photos.
...added March 29th – photos culled from the web
The Vic Randall photos are from castanet.net, the news site.
Note from the Boundary
The hotel does have a real "roadhouse" feel to it – as you arrive in the town and see it up ahead on the roadside, the shape of it says "hotel" and the thirstometer gets cranked up a notch or two. It's a very pretty area to visit, especially in October when the tamarack turn golden and dot the pine-forested hillsides.
From lilly goetting, 2013:
I really enjoyed all the beaverdell stories.- my husband bruno
and I came to beaverdell in1952 and were the first germans to
come there after WWII. we got married in beaverdell and I didn’t
understand one word of our wedding ceremony in english. my
husband worked in beaverdell for 36 years at the mine. our two
daughters grew up there until after 14 years, it was time for
them to go to highschool. so for 22 years we had two homes, one
in beaverdell and one in penticton. the mining camp was torn
down a few years ago and now, one can’t even find the spots
where the houses stood. your published stories sure bring back a
lot of memories. in all those 36 years in beaverdell, I was in
the hotel bar/dining room 3 times. once for a company dinner
party, I think percy williams was the cook at that time and the
food was great. one time on a hot and dusty summer evening, we
went to have a cool beer and as soon as we sat down, our little
bar table was full of drinks, ordered by all the patrons in the
bar that wanted to buy us a drink, but that was too much to
handle, very much appreciated though, we never dared to go
back. the third time I went back with daughter and son in
law a few years ago. we wanted a bottle of beer each, were told
they didn’t have bottled beer anymore just canned or draft and
we didn’t stay. if I remember correctly, one of the Capozzis,
tom or joe, were involved with a bit of gold mining right beside
the olinger sawmill. the olingers were friends with friends of
ours, doug and mina hunter, he was working at the cpr station in
carmi. I know my english lags some finess, always hesitate to
write letters in english, but just had to let you know, how much
I liked those stories.
From Linda Barker (née
Tedesco), 2012: I was looking up about Beaverdell on
facebook looking for people I went to school with and came
across your research about the hotel...I realize it has since
burned down but I do know a little history on it...in 1946 my
grandfather bought the Beaverdell Hotel...his name was Peter
Murie....he took his family up there from the
coast...Langley.....including my mother...who was around 20 or
21 at the time...while they were there she met John Tedesco who
was recently home from WW 2 and working with his dad (Eugene
Tedesco) on the railroad in Beaverdell...any way after 2 months
of knowing each other they were married and lived there for 20
years until my dad passed away at the age of 44. He was the
foreman of the dept. of highways up there until 1967.....There
were pictures in the hotel of my dad with his logging truck that
he worked at in the early years before he got the job with
highways....I saw a little write up by Russ Williams about when
his parents owned the hotel and I went to school with his sister
Betty-Lou, who was a little younger than him....I don’t know if
you are interested in any of this but wanted to let you know
that the Beaverdell Hotel has a history in my family as well and
we were all very sad when we saw on the news that it had burned
down...my mother who is now 86 years old and lives with me could
give you a lot more history about it if you are still
From Russ Williams, 2011: My
dad purchased the hotel circa 1954. I lived in the hotel
residence and on occasion stayed in the rooms ...I never saw a
ghost !! Not once !! I did see a lot of heavy drinking,
brawling, singing, banjo playing, loving, laughter...in other
words, full of life. To the sour puss who said the food
was bad ..not on the Williams watch.. the food was excellent and
the beer must have been fabulous 'cause we sold the hell out of
The big surprise is that the hotel never burned down
sooner. Everyone smoked ! Inebriated miners and
loggers would pass out in the rooms with lit cigarettes. Maybe
God does love a drunk !
There are a lot of memories ..mostly good ones. While the Hotel may be gone, the memories are not .
Note from Coral Fife, 2011: My grandfather originally owned the store in Fraser Mills BC where my father was born before moving to Beaverdell with the youngest two of nine children. So for most of our family that was home. My grandmother stayed in Beaverdell for many years so it was where we vacationed as kids. Still have family in Kelowna and Osoyoos area. My cousin was up there last summer and my father is still talked about by the old timers, for being the big son who kicked them out or cut them off.
This photo shows my parents, Sid and Fran Williams, 40 years after they worked at the hotel.
From barry zettergreen, 2011:
in 1967 - age - 19 - i was working in the
beaverdell area -running loader for the dept of highways- on a
chip seal job of 70 miles. one night while in the small
bar section of the hotel one of our truckers came in and
said he was hauling his holiday trailer behind dump truck to new
location 20 miles down the road - - a black bear ran across the
road and hit his trailer-(dead) - 4 of us got in an old
landrover jeep with no top- 10 at night - drove 3 miles
and found the bear - put it on the hood of jeep returned to the
hotel- and put a large blue jeen jacket on it and a pokeadot
baseball cap - and took it in the bar - set it in a chair
and put a glass of beer in front of it -- two elderly women in
their later 60s owned the hotel at that time - and said
nothing lol true story
Note from Mikhyla Stewart,
2007: I was born in Grand Forks BC, my father has been
a water well driller in the Okanagan/West Kootenay area for the
past 40 years. I know information about the hotel is hard to
find. Its current reputation is basically "a sleazy joint" with
bad food and worse service. It has rich history though, as I'm
sure you have researched. One thing you may not know is it
carries the long standing rumor that it is very haunted.
Note from Anna Johnson, 2010: I was raised in Beaverdell...Stayed at the hotel in 1967...did not see a ghost...first time I ever heard that this hotel was haunted...My sisters first home was Carmi....we moved from Carmi to Merritt in 1957...back to Beaverdell 1967....My Dad passed away 2 years ago...He still lived in Beaverdell...We still have family that live there...If the walls of that hotel could talk...it would have many stories to tell....I have many stories to tell....We loved our life in Beaverdell...My brother has bought land there again...wants us all to build a summer home on the Kettle River....You should talk to the familys that know the history...not many left....Graff's, Kirschner's, Houlind's, Neigum's, Clapperton's just some of the family's that would know the history....
Above: photograph by Lythgoe, c. 1948. Note the addition since of the "cosmetic" second-story verandah, which darkens the upstairs rooms considerably.
Below: Not far north from Beaverdell, the town of Carmi has even more of a backwoods feel. I vaguely recall its hotel from trips through the area in the early 1970s. The hotel burned down in 2000, I think it was, catching me by surprise, but Dan Langford, author of Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway, kindly provided me with one.
Note from Helena Goodwin (née
Olinger), 2011: it was my (family's) house which Brandy
went through in Carmi with the double staircase. We bought
and moved to that house in 1950 but the house had been there for
thirty or forty years before we moved in and had been an old
hunting lodge for a fellow named Duncan McLean, I believe.
My father built a lumber mill on the site of the three old gold
mines there. My brother and I were eventually sent off to
boarding school and only came home to our beloved Carmi at
Christmas, Easter annd summer holidays on the Kettle Valley
railway line. When we first moved to Carmi, the old hotel was
still in business and run by its owner Mrs. Muir. We knew
her well and I was at her funeral when she died in 1959 or early
1960. My family still owns the Carmi property and I plan to move
back there soon.
Note from Brandy in Vernon, 2010, talking about a hike about 22 years ago when she was 12: There was a hotel that had two floors and we were able to explore both, various houses (one I recall had a beautiful staircase that went up the main living area and branched off to both sides of the upstairs...it sort of had an open plan, and cabins, a "mill" type building that we went in but I recall only being able to walk along the edge of the floor because it had caved in, there was also some sort of closed-off mine. I've been wondering for years where on earth I was exploring.
In the couple of houses we were in all The furniture was left (vandalized and all over the place though), beds, chairs, etc...in the one there was even a calendar (can't recall the date or anything) and different food stuffs etc....it just fascinates me why people would up and leave all their belongings like that...the cabin was empty I believe but we ate lunch on its porch...