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Archduke's Penticton hunting trip comes to a stormy conclusion

The Penticton Hotel, shown in photo as it stood in 1898. The Archduke Ferdinand described seeing the foundation for the building, which opened in November of 1893 on Vancouver HIll at Van Horne Street in Penticton.
Image Credit: Penticton musum and Archives
April 02, 2017 - 6:30 PM

PART FOUR OF A FOUR PART SERIES

READ PART THREE OF THE SERIES HERE:

Archduke's cold forces early end to Penticton hunting trip

PENTICTON PIONEER EAGERLY BUYS ARCHDUKE'S LIQUOR SUPPLY

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, spent the night of Sept. 15 - 16, 1893 in his cabin on the SS Aberdeen, tied up at the Penticton wharf.

The next morning his cold had abated somewhat, but he remained on the vessel while Penticton Indians came aboard to sell him leather moccasins and gloves.

He thought the native women were curious to have a look “at the foreign prince,” allowing them aboard under the guidance of the local missionary.

His photographer took pictures of the ladies, whom he described as being, “dainty beauties who had very energetic facial features and strong bodies.” He further noted some of them enjoyed having their photos taken while others covered themselves up.

Ferdinand sold, at “considerable loss,” all the equipment he’d purchased to make the hunting trip up Shatford Creek. He wrote that a “vivid trade” had developed on the pier as field beds, cooking utensils, tins of food and alcoholic beverages were sold off.

ELLIS 'FULLY DRUNK ON THE SPOT'

Of note, Ferdinand wrote Tom Ellis was the purchaser of the majority of the equipment, including the booze.

He describes Ellis as “getting fully drunk on the spot.”

A bad storm popped up around noon, just as the Aberdeen was about to get underway, making departure from the Penticton wharf nearly impossible.

Ferdinand notes Ellis’s joy when stormy Okanagan Lake caused some difficult moments for the Aberdeen:

"A rope with which the aft of the ship should have been swung free snapped and we drifted again to the pier and hit it booming, to the greatest pleasure of Mr. Ellis under alcoholic influence who was howling with joy about this failure of the vehicle of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company he hated thoroughly and was waving his hat.”

The steamer hit the pier a second time, harder than the first, resulting in the captain “shouting and swearing” and Ellis “rejoicing,” before a third rope was launched successfully to steer the ship in the right direction.

Ferdinand noted it took several sightseers in addition to the ship’s crew to get the steamer properly positioned to leave the pier.

Ferdinand’s last journal entry on the Okanagan portion of his round the world tour describes a short visit to Kelowna, where the Aberdeen stopped at "this station which consisted of a few settler houses.”

He had a look at a 42-horsepower steam driven saw with "five circular saws and a planer (that) turned the mighty spruce trunks of the virgin forest within the shortest time into plain boards.”

The steamer made Priest’s Landing that evening. Ferdinand remained on board as rain fell began to fall on the prince's last night in the Okanagan.

The following day the Archduke's party managed to procure a special train to take them to Revelstoke, as the scheduled train didn't run on Sunday.

He noted the quiet emptiness of Shuswap Lake, seeing only "a bark canoe steered by Indians, some individual great loons and now and then a flock of ducks...on the smooth surface of the lake."

Ferdinand also noted the countryside surrounding the Spallumsheen River as "pleasant to see large stretches of forest here that had not yet been touched by fire."

The party arrived in Revelstoke on the evening of Sept. 17, transferring to a Columbia River paddlewheeler.

The steamship would take him to the U.S. rail head in Northport, Washington, where the party would conitnue on the next leg of their journey by railway to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming.


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