“[The two lakes] are the ideal weekend trip from Vancouver or New Westminster, however. You hop the CPR at 6:50 any evening, [and] arrive here to be met by colorful and famous Joe Jackson at 12:40 a.m., six hours later. Joe Jackson and his spouse, Lil, proprietors of the modern and reasonably-priced accommodation here, set up shop just last year and, like most good fish-camp keepers, do all they can to get you hooked into a trout.” — Lee Straight, “Outdoors,” Vancouver Sun, August 8, 1947, p. 11
This video clip features amateur film footage shot in the 1940s by Joseph J. Jackson (1895-1972). The footage has been edited from a reel called [Coquihalla lodge, fishing, miscellaneous railway shots]. With his wife Lil, Mr. Jackson operated the Lil-Joe Lodge at Coquihalla, BC, along the Kettle Valley Railway.
- 0:09 – The edited clip begins and ends with sequences shot from trains leaving or arriving in Vancouver via the CPR main line, along the south shore of Burrard Inlet. In both of these segments, there are good shots (at 0:35 and 6:25) of the original Second Narrows Bridge, a rail and automobile crossing that was built in 1925.
- 0:46 – Buildings and activity around the Coquihalla station, including the children of employees.
- 1:50 – Rolling stock on the KVR, including speeders, CPR steam locomotives 3628 and 3652, and Sperry Rail Services rail detector car SRS 130.
- 2:58 – Lil-Joe Lodge, Lil and Joe, and trout fishing from rowboats on the Coquihalla Lakes.
- 5:21 – A community bonfire.
- 5:59 – Coming back into Vancouver on the CPR mainline.
In the August 8, 1947 edition of his Vancouver Sun column “Outdoors” [found in MS-0528, box 1 file 2, BC Archives], Lee Straight wrote:
COQUIHALLA LAKE, B.C. — Nestled up here on the summit of the Kettle Valley railroad pass between the lower Fraser Valley and the Okanagan are some little lakes mainlanders should know about. Right at the Coquihalla Station are the two Coquihalla Lakes and four hours back by pack horse are Brooks and Murray Lakes….
All of these lakes offer good trouting. The Coquihalla Lakes, which wife Joan and I fished Wednesday and Thursday, are on-again off-again propositions right now. They’re 3800 feet above sea level, but are so shallow that the sparkling water is warm in August and keeps the oxygen-hungry fish down in the cooler pools at midday. But they’re bulging with rainbows and Kokanee and these same trout bulge with fat. They will pay heed to a fly or troll, but only in the still of early morning and just after sundown….
The setting a country of grey spires — ghost of a forest fire that licked through the valley fifteen years ago. But the hilltops and lake shores are green. The harshness of the burn is softened with new growth and the landscape holds promise of game.
We’ve heard or seen blue and willow grouse and muskrats. There are also the odd coyote, plenty of deer and goat, and hills of blueberries and blue huckleberries. The cabins are logs, new and airtight, and the sleeping is easy. But Joan and I get the biggest kick out of Joe [Jackson] himself.
He has a scrap book that will hold you for hours. It turns out that he is one of the real sourdoughs of 1920-1930 Alaska prospecting. At 30 he was famous all over the U.S. and British Empire as “the Millionaire Kid.” And the name still means plenty to an Alaskan….
The Joseph J. Jackson fonds (PR-0709) at the BC Archives contains Joe’s films, photographs, and textual records. Four film reels, shot ca. 1933-35, provide extensive coverage of his travel and placer mining activities on the Stikine River. We’ll look at highlights from that footage in a future post.