Historical Facts

Malakwa Community Facts 1902-1952

This information was gathered at the Malakwa School Centenniel in 2002.  This page is work in progress and more recent history will be added.  If you can provide information or photos for this page, please use the contact on this site to provide information.  Scroll to the end of this page for many more historical photos and information about each photo.

The first school was built by community volunteers in 1902. At that time our community was called Craigellachie.

Craigellachie is a Gaelic word meaning “Stand Fast.”

November 7, 1885 the Last Spike was driven joining Canada east to west at Craigellachie. Contrary to tradition the spike was not made of gold, but common iron

The first road from Sicamous to Revelstoke was called the “Tote Road.”

The first post office opened February 1, 1895 it was operated by Joseph Willis and was located 2 miles west of Malakwa.

 Mrs. S. Loftus was the first woman to live in Malakwa.

 In 1902 the post office moved to Malakwa Road close to the station house, it was operated by Mr. Wosley from March 1, 1895 to April 28, 1895 .

Postmasters included:

William Loftus, September 1, 1898 – 1900

Stephen Loftus, 1890 – 1891

Ernest Baynes , 1902 – 1906

George Hall, 1906, 1908

J.N. Wosley, 1908 – 1909

L. Wosley 1910 – 1911

Gilber Grant 1911 –

J.W. Smith 1911

Albert Bell, 1912 – 1914

J.J. McGlone 1914 – 1920

Walter Gordon 1921 – 1922

Jack LeBeau 1923 – 1952

Ken Boyes 1952 – 1974

Ray Hanson 1974 – 2002

In 1902 the CPR built 3 railway stations, one at Malakwa, Taft, and Griffen Lake.

The first school was built in 1902, it was built on the present school site, but was called Craigellachie School.

The first teacher was Miss Helen Archibald. She was paid $50.00 per month.

11 pupils were enrolled when the school was opened, 3 families were represented, they were; Anderson, Baynes, and Scott families.

In 1903 the community was renamed “Malakwa.”

Common local belief is that Malakwa is a native word for mosquito.

1906 the school name changed from Craigellachie to Malakwa School.

– Logging was the main industry of the community. Lumber was shipped from the local station house during the week. Residents rode the train to Revelstoke on weekends.

– Mr. & Mrs. Briggs built the first house in Craigellachie and opened the first post office there. It was later bought by Mr. Boyes and was operated by the Boyes family until the post office was closed.

The first Malakwa Store was built by G.W. Hall in 1905. He sold the store to J.H. Johnson in 1910.

Mr. J. H. Johnson had great vision for the Malakwa area. With the financial backing of Mr. B. Schmidt, an American, he leased a large parcel of land from the government, the area that is known as the “town”. Mr. Johnson had that area surveyed into 40 lots and streets. The surveyed property eventually reverted back to the government when the townsite didn’t build as Mr. Johnson had anticipated.

Means of transportation from Revelstoke to the Okanagan was by rail, the trains ran twice a week. Local travel was by horse and buggy and horse and sleigh in the winter.

1910 the first community hall was built by community volunteers.

1912 – Mr. Johnson built a hotel in Malakwa. The hotel burned down in 1936.

1915 a “Swinging Bridge was built across the Eagle River to give safe passage for students living on the north side of the river. The Swinging Bridge is still used today.

A new frame school was built in 1915 (still in use today, the right side of the present old building!) Both the old log school and the new school were filled to capacity.

The Craigellachie school was built in 1916. It was used until 1952. The school was moved to Three Valley Gap and is part of the museum display. The Malakwa frame school was enlarged. (The “old school” as it stands today!

After the First World War the Veteran’s Association erected a cenotaph at Malakwa to commemorate those who had given their lives for peace. The plaque reads: Cpl. J.H. Anderson Pte. W. Waddell Pte. C.C. Jessop P.W. E. Wilson After World War II the Sicamous Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion added the following names: Pte. W.S. Morrision Pte. G.R. Barnes Sgt. W. Howard Sgt. L.E. Russell Sgt. J.E. Aubrey Lt. L.W. Swan Spr. A. Chilton

In 1922 the road between the Okanagan and Revelstoke was built. Once again the link was made at Malakwa, the road was named the Sutherland Highway.

In 1923 volunteers from Malakwa, Taft and Craigellachie built the Presbyterian church. The church later became the property of the United Church of Canada. Each summer a student Minister of the United Church came to live in the tiny manse and conduct services. The first wedding in the church was that of Bill and Evelyn Boyes on April 14, 1939.

1923 – Jack LeBeau purchased the local store.

Shortly after the church was built, property was purchased by the United Church and the Roman Catholic Church for the use of a cemetery. The first person buried in the cemetery was Mrs. Anna Sederberg, she was laid to rest in 1926. Until that time burials were done on the property where one lived.

1927 A sockey salmon hatchery was started in the area by the federal government. Bert Cullis managed the hatchery from 1932 – 1940.

1928 – Mr. Helmar Erikson operated a garage in Malakwa.

1930’s The Malakwa General Store and Post Office is owned and operated by Mr. Jack LeBeau.

Mr. and Mrs. J.J. McGlone owned and operated a store in Malakwa during the 30’s and 40’s.

During the 1930’s the valley turned away from logging operations and produced vegetables which were shipped to the cities by CPR rail.

After World War II, a group of Seventh Day Adventists settled on the west side of Malakwa in an area known as “Yard Creek.” They had their own school, church and a sawmill on site.

1947 – only one student (Elsie Erikson) attended for the month of November or December as all the students had Scarletina, a form of Scarlet Fever.

1950 February – school was closed for a whole month as the temperature was – 40.

1950 The first Malakwa School Parent Teacher Association is formed.

Mrs. Peggy Trimbee (seated) was the president of the first Malakwa School P.T.A.

1950 Elsie Erikson and Anne Straga went to Sicamous every day on a Greyhound bus to practice for the May Queen Celebrations, they were both princesses.

1950’s Avoca Bungalow Court is operated by the Trimbee family.

Centennial Facts 1952 to 2002

1953 Lilian Sugars (Sederberg) began teaching at Malakwa Elementary School.

1956 – A flying club is formed with members from Taft to Sicamous. A landing strip is made at Malakwa and the club bought a two seater plane.

1956 Gordon Munro began teaching at Malakwa School. Gordon retired in 1985 from his career as administrator/teacher at Malakwa for 29 years!

1957 – 1958- a large rock crusher moved to Malakwa and prepared the materials needed to complete a new highway from Malakwa to Revelstoke.

The Malakwa Café is built and operated by Mr. & Mrs. Frank Pilcher.

1959 Queen Elizabeth II visits Sicamous, July 17, 1959

1961 The Malakwa General Store and Post Office burned down, the store was quickly relocated to the Malakwa Rod and Gun Clubhouse and a new store was rebuilt and opened in December 1961. The store was owned and operated by Ken Boyes until 1974 when it was purchased by the Hanson family.

1964 Malakwa School is enlarged. A classroom and staff room. Classes were held at the local community hall until the addition was complete.

1971 Malakwa Centennial Park was officially opened. Originally known as Carney’s pole yard the property had long been used as the local ball field.

1972 The “Mal Mar”(short for Malakwa Market) opened its doors in the summer of 1972, family operated by Terry, Carole, Brent, Blake and Tara Erickson. The Ericksons sold the Mal Mar in 1980, and again operated it from 1983 to 1988 at that time it was sold to the Funk family. The Mal Mar was expanded by the Funk’s. It was later sold to the Kelm family, the Mal Mar burned down in 2000. Owners Alex and Clara Kelm rebuilt the Mal Mar and it reopened in 2001.

1976 Malakwa School is enlarged to accommodate over 120 students. Additions included two classrooms, a library, gymnasium, general office, medical room and teacher’s staff room. The population increase was created by the building of two electricity dams being built at Revelstoke and Mica Creek. 1978 Community members began raising money to build a firehall and a new community hall.

1979The old Malakwa Community Hall is demolished.

1980 Malakwa School is enlarged once again with the addition of 2 classrooms and a Principal’s office. A roof is built over the breezeway connecting the two schools.

1981 On April 4th the official sod turning took place for the new community hall. The $100,000.00 building opened debt free. Bill and Walter Blomquist donated a 200 x 125 foot parcel of land for the community hall and firehall to be built. The community received a grant of 34,356.67 from the Provincial government to assist with the project. Drew Sawmills, Federated Co-op and Holcan donated building materials to build the new community hall. Many community members donated countless hours of free labour during the construction of the building. On May 21, 1983 the community celebrated with a gala grand opening event.

1984 The Malakwa Gospel Church opens.

1985 The Malakwa Playschool Opens

1990 A new Adventure playground is added to the school grounds. Volunteer members from the community assembled the new playground.

1999 A plaque commemorating the Korean War was added to the Cenotaph Memorial.

2001 Cedars Campground, a popular camping spot in Malakwa for many years is located just West of Malakwa on the Trans Canada Highway.

2001 A pump house is added to Malakwa School. At this time fire sprinklers were installed in all areas of the school and a large holding tank of water is situated under the new pump house.

2001 Lake Country Log Homes is situated on the Trans Canada Highway, just West of Malakwa.

2002 Malakwa’s newest store opened. Triple Creek Mercantile, owned and operated by the Hansen family, it is located on the Trans Canada Highway.

Malakwa School 2002