Controlled Burns in the 108

The 108 Mile Ranch VFD will be conducting small controlled burns throughout 108 Greenbelt over the next several weeks to help prevent wildfires. The controlled burns will be done mainly on Tuesday evenings and incorporated with the VFD’s training nights.  Thank you to the firefighters for giving of their time to keep our communities safe. Check out the newest addition to the 108 fleet – Tender 12!

108 Has a New Fire Chief

Chris Haddad has been elected as the new Fire Chief of the 108 Volunteer Fire Department.  The appointment is for a three year term and is effective April 1, 2019. Thank you Chris and thank you Chief Ian Henderson who agreed to complete the term of former Fire Chief Marcel Reid who moved from the area last fall.

108 Volunteer Fire Department 2017

108 turns 50 in 2019!

The 108 Mile Ranch will turn 50 in 2019. We’re planning a huge celebration!

  • We’ll be starting the weekend with Spaghetti Dinner on Friday, June 21 6 p.m. at the 108 Community Hall hosted by the 108 Lions.
  • Saturday, June 22 we’ll have a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy at a variety locations in the 108
  • Sunday, June 23 we’ll start the day with a pancake breakfast at the 108 Heritage Site, a church service and cupcakes at 2 p.m.

108 History Quiz #13

How did Sepa Lake get its name?

Answer:

Not that long ago, Sepa Lake was called Separation Lake. One of the first initiatives of Brock Bros. in 1969 was to dredge a canal between 108 Lake and Separation Lake. They then abbreviated to the more accurate name of Sepa Lake. Water levels increased and there was good boating between the lakes for many years.

There are 1922 survey maps (by Archibald, Galloway) which show both lakes with no waterway between the two lakes. Apparently, even in the 1960s, Sepa Lake was much smaller and was surrounded with fields that were cut for hay.

108 History Quiz #11

Can you make the 108 connection between the three parts of this photo?

Answer:

If you go back only 50 years, the 108 was just a part of the 105 Mile Ranch. What Block Bros. purchased from Monical & Sons was actually the 105 Mile Ranch, which was 26,000 acres from just north of 100 Mile to just south of Lac La Hache. The main background photo here shows the 105 Mile Ranch taken after the Block Bros. purchase in 1969. As you drove north, you could see the sign atop Monical’s barn proudly announcing the  ‘108 Recreational Ranch’. Changes to Highway 97 required the removal of this 105 pioneer home and Block Bros. donated it to the Historical Society in 1979 when it was moved to its present location at the 108. (top left). Thank you to those many people and groups who had a hand in making this signature home available to our 108 Heritage Site.

That brings us to the third photo of Benjamin H. McNeil and his wife to be, Laura (nee Blackwell), pictured in front of their 105 Road House in 1905.  Benjamin had come to the Cariboo in 1893 with his brother Lester, both originally from Minnesota, then Washington. Their original plan was to mine in the Barkerville area, but they decided to stop over for winter in the 105 Mile area and never moved on. They were both broke after the vigorous journey north, but they were survivors, hard as nails. So in order to make a go of it they tried numerous projects, including trapping, farming, the butter business, and the hauling of freight, all with some success. Their first building at the 105 burned down, but they got busy at the turn of the century and built the second 105 Mile House building we see today. Benjamin and Laura, the Lac La Hache school teacher, had two children, Benjie and Herbie, both born while at the 105. In about 1916, they sold their 105 property to Lord Edgerton and moved with their two boys to develop a ranch at the far end of Canim Lake. A dream location, if you don’t mind back breaking hard work.

Young Benjie and Herbie  grew up to a life of  grit and hard work, ranching in an area almost completely isolated.  In 1934, Benjie married Florence Bachman and a few years later they struck out on their own, developing land and building a beautiful 13 room guest lodge on their 700 acre site at Mahood Lake. The Lodge, at the campground end of the lake, burned down in 1962 after the McNeils had moved back to the 100 Mile area. Benjie and  Florence had 7 children, two of whom, John and Dean, continue to live in this area.  Herbie and his wife, Joan had two children and continued developing the ranch on Canim Lake.

If you haven’t already, you should explore the inside of the McNeil 105 roadhouse at our Heritage Site. It was built using hand-hewn logs, with an embossed metal ceiling so that hot air from the wood heaters would reflect back into the room. Doors, windows, siding, and metal ceilings were hauled in by wagon trains. The building style is late Victorian Classical Revival, which was not typical in the Cariboo.

108 History Quiz #10

Do you know the history of this 108 building?

Answer:

The 108 Clubhouse was one of the first 108 buildings constructed by Block Bros. in the spring of 1969. By August 16th it was ready to celebrate its grand opening with an extensive barbecue hosting over 500 guests. The Hansen clan had worked long and hard to build this panoramic centerpiece overlooking the golf course. According to newspaper reports at the time, the cost was $90,000.

About the same time, Block Bros. entered into a contract with Frank Bernard, Vancouver hotel owner (Georgian Towers and Park Royal Hotels) to run the restaurant on the top floor of the Clubhouse. Bernard had one of his employees, Duncan Myers, manage the project locally. The bottom floor was to be the 108 golf pro shop run by pro Keith Hanna and later Bill Wilson. It wasn’t until 1978 that the pro shop was converted to a ski shop over the winter months, eventually under Gunner’s management.

In December 1970, Mike and Heidi Hapalo entered into a 5 year lease to take over operation of the Clubhouse restaurant. The Hapalos have made a substantial contribution to both the 108 Resort and the Hills Health Ranch over their many years in this area. At the 108 Clubhouse they were well known for their Swiss and French cuisine, Mike’s legendary baron of beef, and for being such friendly and enthusiastic hosts.

On March 1, 1975, Al and Dorothy Turnbull took over the restaurant with NY steaks being their specialty – His at $7.50 and Hers at $6.50. A comfortable cocktail lounge was added at the north end of the restaurant as a great new feature.

I am still trying to piece together all the proprietors after that and so far these names have come up; John Jennings, Mike Cobbe, Mike Liszkay, and the return of the Hapalos. Let me know if you can help with this narrative.

More coming in a later post, perhaps ‘The 108 Club House…Part Two’. That should begin in 1986 with the purchase of the 108 Resort by The Red Coach Inn Ltd.  The next phase was the Resort purchase by overseas Japanese interests, who extended the Clubhouse with first rate convention facilities, and lastly those troubled times leading to the big fire of 2010. Stay tuned.

108 History Quiz #9

If you have ever lived at the 108, you should recognize the location of this photo. But can you figure out when and what is going on?

Answer:  OK, it is the 108 main beach and probably 1970-1972, before the gas engine ban.  As for just what is going on, I don’t know, but it looks hot. Does anybody know the answer and can share it with us?