In the 1950s and ‘60s, the Schneider family ran a roadside attraction at Four Mile on the North Shore called Fairyland. After a visit to Disneyland, Zetta Schneider was inspired to create lawn ornaments out of chicken wire and cement, portraying characters from fairy tales and children’s stories. Passing motorists started to stop and take pictures, so with her husband and children’s help, she opened her yard and its fantastic creations to the public.
Meanwhile, at Ten Mile, Tom and Mary Hetherington ran the Starlight drive-in theatre, which entertained movie-goers for 30 years. In addition to the theatre, which operated seven days a week, the two-acre site included gardens, a playground, pool, and tea room.
Today Fairyland and the Starlight are long gone, but both are fondly remembered and receive their due in a new website devoted to the history of Kootenay Lake’s North Shore to be launched Sunday at Touchstones Nelson.
It’s the brainchild of cousins Patsy Ormond and Randi Jensen, descendants of the pioneering Heddle family, who were raised on the North Shore and wanted to preserve its past.
More than a year ago they decided the way to do that was a website, which could be continually updated and expanded. Their own family albums and personal memories provided a starting point.
The result, Up the Lake, is full of stories and photos dedicated to the century-plus of North Shore settlement, although primarily focused on the last 50 years.
“As two people we couldn’t possibly round up all the information out there but we could set the foundation for the community to contribute their memories, stories, family histories and any other pertinent archival material,” Jensen explains.
What began as a history of Six Mile expanded its boundaries to between Two Mile, where Kokanee Lodge once stood before the highway was re-routed, and Kokanee Creek Provincial Park — the catchment area of the now-closed A.I. Collinson School and since-disbanded Duhamel Recreation Commission.
The communities along that stretch are much different than in their childhood, Ormond and Jensen say. Schools, churches, and businesses have ceased to exist as the once self-contained area has since become more of a Nelson suburb.
The website was developed with the help of sponsorships by the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Touchstones Nelson, and Columbia Basin Trust.
In addition to photos and stories, it includes digitized versions of Eric Denny’s 1967 booklet West Arm Echoes and a 1950s cookbook by the St. Andrews by the Lake church guild.
Ormond says the website should be considered just a beginning.
“Sections already have stories and memories filled in and we hope that it will inspire people to continue to contribute things that we haven’t posted yet as well as anything they may have to complement what is already there,” she says. “It’s a website for the people, by the people.”
Sunday’s launch at Touchstones is from 1 t o 3 p.m. and will include cakes from the St. Andrews church guild, trivia, and door prizes. Once live, the website will be found at upthelakehistory.wordpress.com. Submissions can be sent to upthelakehistory(at)gmail.com