Standing at the Government Wharf, look to the left – the island
with the long sand spit is Stubbs Island. The area’s first non-native
settlement, known as Clayoquot, was located on this island.
By 1855, Banfield and Frances Ltd. had a trading post on the Island
– trading goods for furs (mink, martin, seal) fish (dried or salted)
and especially dog-fish oil. In the 1870’s Captain Pinney established
a store, and in 1874, Frederick Christian Thornberg took charge of what
he called “Clayoquot Station.” Mr. Thomas Earle took control
of the Island in 1890, and recruited Thomas Stockham and Walter T. Dawley
to take over the operation. The settlement continued to grow; land was
leased; there was a school, a jailhouse, a policeman, and one of the
provinces most distinct hotels.
When Thomas Earle died in 1902, Messrs. Stockham and Dawley bought
the land and the business. A few years later Stockham sold his shares
to Dawley who continued with the business, and (in the mid 20’s)
hired George Nicholson to help him out. Nicholson secured BC Liquor
license No.1 for the hotel. Mr. Dawley retired in 1937 and gave the
island as a wedding gift to his daughter Madeleine and her husband Pierre
Malon. By this time Clayoquot as a community had dwindled.
The island was sold around 1940 to Mrs. Betty Farmer. Together with
her sister, Josephine Bridges, they operated the hotel and pub; it was
said that the pub held to the highest decorum: ladies on one side of
the room and men on the other. The sisters gardened extensively and
were well known for the rhododendrons (now trees) that they grew from
seed. In 1964 the sisters sold the island and moved to Tofino.
The island then changed through many hands until 1989 when it became
the Clayoquot Island Preserve. The gardens have been restored, and expanded
by the island’s current owner and staff..
text & illustrations are excerpts
from ‘a walk in time’ courtesy of the raincoast education
society. used with permission. ‘a walk in time’ is a booklet
with history of landmark buildings on main street. worth reading, best
in combination with a leisurely stroll down main street. available
atthe rainforest interpretive centre
for two dollars.
Rainforest Interpretive Centre
452 Main Street, Tofino, BC
(the big yellow building at fourth)