Why this road along Vaseux Lake was a popular spot for early photographs - InfoNews

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Why this road along Vaseux Lake was a popular spot for early photographs

A group of businessmen, are shown here posing in this 1013 photo taken at the Vaseux Lake bluff.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Okanagan Trust Archives Society/ Huddy Hudson
May 29, 2020 - 6:30 AM

The Vaseux Lake bluffs provided lots of camera fodder for pioneer motorists.

The large outcropping with a corner blasted out along the edge of Vaseux Lake must have epitomized area roads to pioneer Okanagan motorists, as it was a popular stopping place for those hardy enough to use the road in the early 1900s.

Okanagan Archives Trust Society archivist Brian Wilson shared recently a photo of the bluffs taken in 1913.

Wilson says the story behind the photo involves four Okanagan brothers named Shatford, who were likely on an investment tour of the south Okanagan out of the historic mining community of Fairview in 1913.

“Fairview was a leading Okanagan community at the time. It was a gold mining town located in the hills west of Oliver,” Wilson says.

The men in the photo were probably conducting business on behalf of the South Okanagan Land Company, which was owned by the Shatford brothers.

“They bought and sold many large Okanagan properties. One brother started the first orchard in the Okanagan, one started a general store in Hedley and one was mayor of Vernon, in addition to having business interests there,” Wilson says.

“I assume they were going to the south Okanagan to look at some land,” Wilson says.

The Vaseux Lake bluffs were a popular spot for photographs back in the early pioneer days of the Okanagan.This photo was also taken in 1913.
The Vaseux Lake bluffs were a popular spot for photographs back in the early pioneer days of the Okanagan.This photo was also taken in 1913.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Penticton Museum and Archives

The famous piece of roadway at Vaseux Lake owed its beginnings to a survey conducted by the Columbia and Western Railway work crews out of Spokane who blasted the rock while surveying out a potential rail line to Penticton.

“When they blasted, just one piece came out. They couldn’t get the rest of the rock to come down, so they just left it,” Wilson says.

The rock overhang was removed, over years of highway reconstruction, but the bluff remains and a dangerously sharp corner still exists at the location on Highway 97 today.

The Vaseux Lake bluffs were a popular photo spot even during horse and buggy days.
The Vaseux Lake bluffs were a popular photo spot even during horse and buggy days.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Penticton Museum and Archives

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