Profiles of Historic Sites

1947 Lake Errock: Gas Station, Store & Post Office,
home to the right and cabin behind apple tree.
Evelyn Dvorak fonds/0065-005
Courtesy Mission Community Archives

Lake Errock Community

Lougheed Highway, east of Mission

Lake Errock

Date of Original Construction:
1890s (first non-aboriginal settlement)

Resource Type:
Rural Community

Site Description:

Lake Errock is a tiny community about 20 km east of Mission. The former Lake Errock Gas Station & Cabins are scarcely noticeable; a new gas station and general store now stand on the site. The original cabins remain, and have been upgraded for year-round residences. There is a large community church on the north side of the highway. A cluster of homes and small farms are scattered along the highway.

Site History:
Content below is largely from "Discovering Deroche: From Nicomen to Lake Errock" by Daphne Sleigh

Sto:lo people occupied the land for over 4,500 years, fishing, hunting, and gathering on a seasonal cycle. People moved freely among their villages from Nicoamen, Leq'a:mel, Sqweahm, and Zaitscullachan.

When the CPR railway was built through the area in 1885, the halt was called Squakum, likely in reference to the local Sto:lo who lived in the area. An original post office that served the area was recorded as "Lake Errock" but was closed in 1899. Alex Malcolm, an early pioneer, bought land on the river about 1898.

Official maps recorded the area as Lake Errock, which was originally a logging area from the forested hills above Deroche. Some of the "rough old logging roads can still be traced in the undergrowth today. A number of small mills - often little more than lean-to shanties - were tucked away in the back woods." A larger-type steam-operated sawmill was located a little way up Watkins Road and employed about a half dozen men. Another small mill at the higher end of what had been the Ross Ranch belonged to James Tretheway. Water was carried down the mountainside by flume from the upper waters of Holachten Creek, channeled into a wooden reservoir box, and used to power a Pelton wheel.1

In 1893, the B.C. Directory listed the old Ross Ranch as "the largest fruit ranch in the lower province". Sweet chestnut trees grew, and a vineyard was planted on higher slopes, financed by a consortium in England, overseen by Tom Wilson.2

"Paddlewheelers used to tie up (at the Squakum Ranch landing) to take on milk and cream for the big mill at Harrison Mills or produce for Vancouver markets." Alex Malcolm was remembered by Charles Bell as "a wonderful athlete and international football player." 2 Alex sold his land to the Kilbergs in 1937; he lived "in one of the vacated relief camp buildings on Malcolm road" until his death in 1951.1

"Lake Errock was a very deserted in the 1930's. The little community of English ex-service men had dispersed and only a few families remained. As yet, there was no village centre--no post office, store, school or church--and the few people depended on Deroche for all these facilities."1

Bob Webster built the Lake Errock Store about 1939 on land from Reinhold Vix. It included a little house at the back corner.3

In 1940, a post office was opened at the store. "In 1945, William Hodgkin, a retired member of the provincial police, became post master for two years; Hodgkin Road was later named after him, since his home was on this road at the end near the lake."4

"For the next twelve years, Evelyn and Frank Dvorak lived at the Lake Errock store...Evelyn looked after the store, the post office and gas pumps." They also built some tourist cabins beside the store. She had to walk a quarter mile down the CPR track to the catching post each morning to affix the mail bag for the train to pick up. Evelyn also cut hair and gave home permanents.4

A one-room school was built in 1957 on the former Aitken property, but was closed in December 1982 due to low enrollment. A Mennonite Church was built in1960, where "Arthur Isaac drew a strong congregation to the church during the sixteen years of his ministry.5

In 1967, the Dewdney Alouette Regional District took over administration of the unorganized areas: Deroche, Lake Errock and Nicomen. In July 1982, a firehall was built immediately behind the church.5

People Associated with the Site:

Charles and Miriam Bell: provided memories on taped interviews with Imbert Orchard. (MCA Community Reference File 702.20 BEL-1

Evelyn Dvorak (Mission Community Archives fonds: Evelyn Dvorak-0065)

Mary Ann Morris, daughter of Chief Joe Kelly, lived at Holachten reserve on land inherited from her grandfather. Her husband Ray, and American Indian, worked as a logger. Mary Ann was trained in laundering at St. Mary's Mission school.1

Ray & Mary Ann Morris: Mary Ann served as Band Chief in the sixties.5

McQuarrie family had a small-scale farm on the west side of the lake.6

Ralph Siddall, a carpenter, railroader, fire ranger, and self admitted "black sheep". He built a hillside cabin at Holachten where he settled in his middle age.6

Reinhold Vix operated a van, delivering house to house in the late thirties; he delivered fresh meat that he butchered, and produce from local farms. He continued his route for about 10 years. Before the post office, he would bring his customers' mail from Deroche.1

William F. Watkins operated a mill at the upper end of Watkins Road from 1941. He also had a larger mill at Harrison River and a logging company at Mount Woodside.4

Where to get further information:

- Discovering Deroche, Daphne Sleigh, self published, 1983.
- Mission Community Archives - Evelyn Dvorak fonds
- Mission Community Archives - Community Reference Files

1 p. 70
2 p. 22
3 p. 77
4 p. 78
5 p. 91
6 p. 71

Last Modified January 17, 2014