The Lane Family
as told by Cliff and Janet
He came to Canada when he was just 20years old, to Hallmark, Alberta, where he spent a year farming for friends. While in Calgary one day, he met a man who told him of a place called Kimberley that needed trained men and if Cliff would stake him the fare, they could both get a job. They arrived in Cranbrook and came up to Chapman Camp by train. The lineup at the Company Office, where Bill Leaman was a clerk, was a long one. Finally when his turn came, he told them he was a machinist. He was promptly informed that everyone started on the labor gang at $4.95 for a nine hour day, Cliff considered this good pay in those days. This was in the fall of 1922when the Concentrator was being built and Chapman Camp was a tent town. He lived in one of these until the weather got very cold and decided to move on to Vancouver. In the three months he was at Chapman Camp, he met two other men that had come from his home town of Bristol; George James and Walley Bidder.
After a short stay in Vancouver, he heard that a mechanic was needed in a garage in Ashcroft, working for Fred Peters, an old time stage driver. Cliff worked on such cars as Packards and Wintons and even drove stage the hundred and fifty miles up the Caribou Trail to Williams Lake.
In the summer of 1924, he spent a short time at Kiethley Creek Gold Mines and that winter he looked after stock at Eighty-three Mile House.
While he was working in Ashcroft, he met a school teacher, Margaret Janet Sutherland and in January of 1925, he married her, and moved back to Kimberley where he had again found work. Only this time he was at the North Star Mine and later he worked at the Stemwinder.
The two mines were leased and operated by the same company, the Porcupine Mining Company of Ontario. The Stemwinder closed down on December 31st, 1926, and for twenty years lay dormant. The Sullivan Mine obtained the property and around 1946,decided to pump it out and inspect it. The machinery was still in perfect working order, so they salvaged it, but did not reopen the mine.
Mr. and Mrs. Lane purchased property in what they called Blarchmont Park, at that time, on Hannay Street, a short street at the top of the hill overlooking Mark Creek. There was one other house there at the time, and only a pathway to town. A log across Mark Creek gave walking access to town but the only bridge for vehicles was at Black Bear crossing, past Taylors Mill site.
They lived in a tent all summer of 1925 while they built their home and moved in just before Christmas. They lived here for two years and sold it back to Mr. Fabro when Cliff got work at the Sandon mines. Here they stayed for seven years until 1935 when they moved to Sheep Creek Gold Mines at Salmo, and in 1941 to 1945, Cliff worked in the Tadanac Machine Shop at Trail.
In 1945 he was transferred back to Kimberley to the Mine Machine shop where he worked until his retirement in 1966.
In February of 1927 while they were still in Kimberley, a son Don was born, and it was shortly after that, that Cliff went to Sandon where Don started his schooling. The family was away eighteen years before returning to Kimberley, so Don never did go to school here. He attended schools in Nelson and Trail and one year at V.B.C. in Vancouver. Then he worked one year for the Company in the Mine, followed by two years at Calgary Tech. When he returned, he was an apprentice to the Company in the Fertilizer Machine Shop, where he is still employed.
Don married Vivian McIndoe in 1951 and they have two children, Gordon and Patricia. Gordon has just finished his apprenticeship with the Company and is now a tradesman in metal fabrication a third generation in Kimberley Machine Shops! Patricia graduated in 1977, she will attend Mount Royal College on a Company Scholarship.
Mrs. Lane, Sr., Janet, was born in New Zealand, but her parents moved to California when she was three years old. She had two sisters born there before her family again moved, this time to Vancouver in 1906. In January of 1907, her father got work on the C.P.R. at Ashcroft. A brother was born there.
Janet grew up in Ashcroft and then attended Normal School in Victoria while living in the YWCA. She had just completed her first term when she was given a three year permit to teach, due to a shortage of teachers. In January of 1917 she taught grades one to five in Ashcroft. One of her pupils was her younger brother. Then from January to June of 1920, she completed her Normal and taught two years at Leek Creek on Shuswap Lake. Back in Ashcroft, she met Cliff in 1923 and they were married in 1925.In those days when a teacher married it usually ended her career. However, she turned her talents to many other endeavors. She was organist in the United Church and sang in the Choir and organized the first C.G.LT. group in Kimberley. A group of women started a Blarchmont Recreation Club and an open air dance floor was erected where the Overwaitea Parking lot is now. Houses were being built in that area.
When the Lanes returned after an eighteen year absence, Janet again entered into the community in several fields. She became the superintendent of the Sunday School, was Vice- President of the Liberal Party in this area. She had joined the LO.D.E. (International Order of the Daughters of the Empire) in Trail and was instrumental in organizing a Chapter in Kimberley and was the first Regent the Sullivan Mine LO.D.E. in 1946, and was the Educational Secretary until it dissolved.
She was a member of the first Kimberley Hospital Auxiliary. A Mrs. Edmonds was the first President, Janet Lane was the third. In 1958 she was the first woman in Kimberley to be elected to the Hospital Board. She attended the Provincial Convention of the Hospital Boards and gained much knowledge, enabling her to help form the first Regional groups, and was the second Area Representative for two years.
Janet has also been active in the Community Chest, the Handicapped Society and the Mental Health Unit. She was instrumental in getting the first library in Kimberley. In the early days, books could be obtained from a shelf at the Bulletin Office, run by Mae Slade, or the Rexall Drug Store run by Fraser McKay, or from the McDougall Hall. The choice was very limited, so through much opposition and adverse attitudes, a central library was finally started.
The Lanes resided on Trail Street ever since their return to Kimberley in 1945. In later years Janet was confined to a wheel chair, having had both legs amputated. She passed away in 1978.