The History of the Shinglemill
The Shinglemill was built in 1913 by Brooks Bidlake, and was sold in the 1920’s to ‘Doc’ J.F Jamieson. Howard Jameson was manager until he was succeeded by R. Nanson in 1934. Homes grew up around the Shinglemill and ‘Doc’ laid a steam line from the mill in the early 1950’s.
The Shinglemill was also the second home for Sam Sing, a respected business pioneer, who was the first merchant in Townsite.
In 1923, after his profitable business was sold to the Powell River Company, he moved to the Shinglemill. He opened another business that included grocery, butcher shop, general merchandise and bachelor accommodations.
Sam Sing died in 1937 and his business was carried on by his sons. The Penny Profit store, the last one operated by one of his children, closed its doors in 1987.
Some of Sing’s grandchildren have remained in Powell River. As well as the Shinglemill there were other small shingle bolt companies up and down the lake. Included are Olsen Landing, Goat Lake, as well as various camps operated by H. Nakamura who was interred in 1942 according to Federal Law.
The History of Powell Lake
Powell Lake was named in 1881 after Dr.Israel Wood Powell, a medical doctor from Ontario who worked for the British Columbia government during the 1880’s A fiord lake, it spans some 50km in length and is 24km wide. In 1924, when the Powell River Company raised it’s dam on the Powell River for the second time, the lake level rose to 56km above sea level.
Although a fresh-water lake, a 1961 study by the University of British Columbia proved the existence of salt water at the bottom of the lake.
Giuseppe Gagliardi (1886-1947) was from the Calabria area of Italy. It appears that upon his arrival, sometime before 1914, he took his property as a half pre-emption (80 acres). It was then called Powell Lake Farm. He grew a fabulous garden and sold his produce to markets in Powell River.
Also helping him were John Minichelli and his wife as well as Dominic Diana. Minichelli and Gagliardi worked two homesteads. John’s homestead was on Frog Lake. Upon Gagliardi’s death, the land remained vacant for many years. In the 1960’s, young Americans, disillusioned by the Vietnam war, came to live there. However, after disbanding a few years later they didn’t sell the land, determined to save it from developments.
In 1975, The Scheibers, urged by a former commune member, took a job from Total Education, an alternate school, and started an out-door program. After Total Education, they started their own school which ran until 1985.
The farm hosted Katimivik programs and it was about the time Peter Scheibers death in 1985 that the name changed to Fiddle Head Farm.
Head Farm. The farm involved to become an International Hostel site, retreat centre and a holiday destination for families. In recent years the land where the farm once thrived has been sold and logged, but the area remains one of significance in the memories of longtime Powell Riverites.
Thanks to the P.R. Forestry Museum for the photo and to Mrs. Scheiber for the information.