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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 area.

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 Country website:
"In 1897 rich silver ore was discovered on Wallace Mountain and gold was discovered in Carmi, a few kilometers from what is today known as Beaverdell. As a result, three small towns sprung up: Beaverton, Carmi and Rendell. In 1901, Rendell and Beaverton became one, hence Beaverdell. Of 200 attempts to locate high-grade silver ore on Wallace Mountain, seven were successful. The Highland Mine had produced continuously for over 90 years until recently when the mine was closed and the site sold to the provincial government. At the time of its closure, the mine held the record for being the longest operating in British Columbia and had kept the community alive through many of the province's hard times. Today's residents rely on the forest industry for most of their employment. A small, privately owned dimension lumber mill contributes to the economy."

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 interested.....

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 it.

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.

In the mid seventies when I was four, my dad had a job in the area so he took me, my mom and his crew to stay at the hotel until the job finished. We were to stay for a couple of weeks. However, we left after only a few days. Supposedly I couldn't get though any nights without climbing into bed with my parents (my bed being on the other side of the room). The third night they let me stay in their bed and I  fell asleep. Then I awoke with a start, sat straight up and stared out of the room towards the eating area. When my mom leaned over I slapped my hand over her eyes and told her "don't look at the door mommy." My dad got up and checked around, nothing. We went back to sleep. Not much later, again I sat up with a start. My mom reached out to touch me and I bit her thumb. I sat looking out the doorway, I said "the man won't go!" This happened a couple more times that night, freaking my parents out considerably.  No one felt comfortable in that hotel, everyone left soon after- some claiming there was an uneasiness they couldn't explain. This story was told to me by my parents- I don't remember what I saw. Could it have been a child's nightmare? But there are other accounts, other stories, thus the hotel's haunted reputation. I know you're not a ghost story writer but I thought you might enjoy that tid-bit of information!

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.

Carmi

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...

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Artwork and text ©Michael Kluckner, 2001, 2002