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?

108 History Quiz #8

This is  GROUND BREAKING NEWS  ….can you identify the News and the news makers  in this photo? (Tip…this was in 1984.)

Answer:

This was a real ground breaking event in 1984 and it was for the beginning of our current Community Hall.  The news makers are Lil Doucette, Willie Cole (white jacket), Al Richmond and Larry Pinkney. I have no idea what is going on between Al and Larry.

The land had been donated by Block Bros. and there was an enthusiastic community ready to get behind the fundraising and construction needed to build the hall. The 108 Lions and the 108 Supply deserve special mention for their substantial contribution of skill, labour and building supplies.  The land and buildings are owned and managed by the 108 Mile Ranch Community Association, a B.C. Society whose membership is made up of 108 residents. As a member you have a say in the direction of the hall and other important matters in our community.  Additionally, the administration of our Greenbelt lands is attached to the Community Hall property. The management and maintenance of the hall is achieved from hall rental revenues, RCA projects, and a parcel tax of $12.96 per year on each 108 lot.

The Hall is a very active place as you can see from our What’s Happening section and might be the perfect venue if you want to rent it for a wedding or other private event. see Hall RentalsThis is just another example of how lucky we are here at the 108, with our incredible facilities. 

History Quiz #7

In 1981, these 35 locals got together and started something that is still going strong here at the 108 today. Do you know what it is?

Answer:

They are the Charter Members of the 108 Lions Club. It was local resident Niels Christianson, a 100 Mile House Lion, who approached other 108 residents to see if there was enough interest to start a Lions Club at the 108. There was lots, so on April 4, 1981 they gathered at the 108 Club House for their charter night. They were an enthusiastic, talented group and completed many important projects here at the 108.  For example, back in those early days, there was no cable TV at the 108, just 2 channels with very poor rabbit-ear reception. It was the 108 Lions who came up with the idea to install a 30 foot tower on Kyllo Road and then rebroadcast the HBO Movie channel and a local Chicago station from satellite to our 108 area. The deal was that residents were to pay $50 per year, payable on  the honorary system. You will be starting to get a little old if you can still remember either rabbit-ears reception or the honorary system. Back in those early days the 108 Lions could be seen fundraising by putting on casino nights, managing beer gardens and organizing dinners and dances. They were also a strong force in getting our Community Hall built, which today homes their Lions’ Den.

Today the 108 Lions are 28 men and women members strong, and continue to be a rock of our community. They are a very active and committed group, and would love you to join them. Their motto might well be “getting it done while having fun!

I count at least 4 of those Charter Members still residing here. Are there more?

Check out their Facebook page.

108 History Quiz #6

Have a look at this 108 photo collage. What is its secret? Can you solve its mystery? (Clue: our roots gave us our routes.)

Answer:

The answer to this mystery is that each of these men in the photo collage have a 108 road named after them. Here are their connections.

1. Olaf Hansen (Hansen Court) owner of one of the 108’s first businesses, Hansen Recreational Homes (1969) and 108 Supply Ltd (1972).

2. Arthur and Henry Block (Block Drive).

3. Grant Kyllo.  (Kyllo Drive) A Block Bros. vice president with responsibility for the 108. Much of the early development successes are a result of his enthusiasm and direction.

4. Phil Tattersfield (Tattersfield Place) was a landscape engineer involved in designing the golf course.

5. Dick Smith (Smith Road) was initially working with R.M. Monical and Sons Ltd., the previous ranch owners of the 108.  When the ranch sold, he continued to work with Block Bros. and initially was a one-fifth partner.

6. Mel Stewart (Stewart Road) Mel and his brother were engineers and surveyors at the 108

7. Al Mein (Mein road) was an assistant to the vice president at Block Bros.

8. Don Parker (Parker Court) was the golf course superintendent.

9. Mike Gutman (Gutman Court) was the Block Bros. pilot.

10. Len Monical (Monical Road). Probably named after Len Monical who was closely involved at the 108 as he was a partner of the sellers and the purchasers. Perhaps the name covers his older brothers Wendal and Robert as well.

108 History Quiz #5

This Building has a lot of 108 history and has had many visitors. Can you guess what it was used for in 1972?

a.) Original 108 school house

b.) Block Bros. office

c.) Original 108 Community Center

d.) 108 Chapel

The answer is both c and d.

This is the original 108 Community Center built in 1972 by local builder, Hansen Recreational Homes. It was a very busy place with community meetings, frequent club gatherings and regular bingo nights. It is not all that big, yet according to a local newspaper report, over 100 people gathered there on July 16, 1972 when the building was dedicated by Henry Block as the 108 Chapel, and was used as such, at least on Sundays. Today the building is used by CCLF as a Youth Center.

In behind the Community Hall you can still see the original ‘Field House’. Pat Corbett, who was the then manager of Block Bros. at the 108, made arrangements with the School Board to allow for the construction of what was to be a covered community skating rink right next to the Hall. This worked well for a few years until the School Board discontinued use of the rink, sighting liability issues.

108 History Quiz #4

Yes, the 108 had commercial air service from the 108 to Kamloops and Vancouver as well as flights to Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Prince George. That was in 1975. Can you guess what it cost to fly one way from the 108 to Vancouver?

a) $41    b) $79    c) $108    d) $142

Answer: You probably guessed (c) $108, and you would be wrong. It was (a) $41, as you will see by reading the very entertaining and informative article below.

The photo was taken at the 108 Airport where Mayor Ross Marks congratulates Captain Norm Rogers for landing the first official flight, as Henry Block looks on. At left is Pat Corbett whose work was instrumental in getting the flights to land at the 108. Next to Corbett is Block Bros. pilot Mike Gutman.

108 History Quiz #3

There are 10 photos of the 108 in this photo collage. How many can you identify? Names and dates?

Answers starting top left and clockwise.

1. This historic picture, taken in October 1972 by Duncan Meyers, shows our fire hall under construction, along with our stalwart fire department volunteers. Left to right: Dick McDermid, Rod Beaton, Neil Christiansen, Fire Chief Karl Lysell, Ed Irwin, Nick Addison, Svend Hansen, Karl Nielson, Tom Highland.

2. This is a 1969 photo of Len Monical, who is no doubt the longest residing resident of the 108 at 57 years and counting. His many accomplishments will be in a later post.

3. Watson Mansion …see Q #1

4. Hockey on 108 Lake 2019 at the Giggle Games.

5. Arthur and Henry Block, brothers and owners of Block Bros. Realty, developed the 108 Recreational Ranch in 1969. Both built summer homes here, Arthur on Block Drive and Henry on Kinncum North. Back in those days we had smart mega phones, which never rang, and which could not be answered.

6. This is a 1969 photo of the Club House overlooking the 9th Green. This easy going and fun place included a dining room, a bar and coffee shop, pro shop and huge wraparound sun deck. Green fees at $75 per year for a couple was a 50% discount incentive for property owners.

7. This Heritage Site building, now referred to as the Telegraph Office, used many of the logs from the original 108 Road House building that was torn down in 1880. That definitely appears to be a ghost in the top window. Massive bragging rights if you knew her name is Emily.

Evidence keeps appearing to support the various connections between the known 108 ghosts, Emily, Shadowman, Spiritcat and the crimes and murders at the old 108 Hotel.  You must read Hotel From Hell: The 108 Mile Murders by local 108 author Lisa Pugh, which reveals the alleged crimes of the nefarious Scotswoman, Agnus McVee, who along with her husband Jim, and son-in-law Al Riley, operated the 108 Roadhouse from 1875-1885.   Apparently, many miners returning from the gold fields in Barkerville, found themselves much lighter after their stop over at the 108 Hotel.

8. Photo of 108 Lake in 2018.

9. Al Richmond, Ulli Vogler and Dan Jackson in full regalia to celebrate Canada Day at the annual Heritage Site festivities.

10. This aerial photo of the 108 Clubhouse area was taken on the busy Labour Day weekend, 1969, on occasion of the enthusiastic opening of the 108 Airport. The golf course was also open, and mostly complete. The Motor Lodge and Wheelroom were still in the plans.   

108 History Quiz #2

Part of the Block Bros. vision for the 108 was the development of 5-acre Biblical Garden with its own lake, with sculptured statutes, plus a 650 seat outdoor amphitheater right next to the 108 Chapel. And it did happen, with grand opening on July 16, 1977.

What became of this Biblical garden that was to be our 108 community centerpiece?

Answer

Image of statue of Jesus, man-made lake and amphitheater at 108 Mile Ranch.

Well one thing is for sure it is not there anymore, yet it was a remarkable attraction to our community for many years. The original 108 Chapel was built in 1975 followed by the Garden in 1977. It was filled with 24 life size original sculptures depicting 14 different scenes from the life of Jesus. The various statutes were made from fibreglass and created by the renowned Italian sculptor, Trinka. The Garden feature was a 12-foot statute of Jesus in the middle of a million gallon man-made lake and waterfall.  There was professionally designed night lighting and the amphitheatre was often filled for concerts or Christian performers and speakers flown in by Block Bros. from around North America. In addition, the development included an orientation building with projection studio, and a souvenir and book shop.  It was estimated that up to 3000 people per year visited the 108 Garden.

However, the Garden cost over $30,000 per year to maintain, and without Block Bros.’ support it was just too costly for the local Church to sustain. So, in 1984, the Church gave away the Garden assets, including the statutes, to former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm’s Fantasy Gardens in Richmond. Fantasy Gardens was sold around 1991 and in 2011 many of the 108 statutes found their way to the Coachella Valley in California.

If you have a hankering for a great date milkshake, go to Shields Date Garden in Indio and take their featured stroll out back among the gardens and date trees and see some amazing life size sculptures depicting the life of Jesus and know that it started right here at the 108.  If you want to see these statutes right now, take an armchair tour on the Shields Date Garden website and check out the current home of the 108 biblical garden statutes.