Chris Bondi performed a musical tribute to the MV Anscomb as its restored wheelhouse was unveiled Saturday in Balfour.

Restored Anscomb wheelhouse revealed

The original wheelhouse of the Kootenay Lake ferry MV Anscomb was unveiled Saturday before a large crowd at the Balfour ferry terminal.

The original wheelhouse of the Kootenay Lake ferry MV Anscomb was unveiled Saturday before a large crowd in the rest area of the Balfour ferry terminal.

Among the guests was Herb Brown, 95, whose first shift aboard the Anscomb came on July 1, 1947, a few days after it entered service. He was a deckhand at first, then became an oiler, and finally an engineer before retiring in January 1978.

He also worked aboard the MV Balfour and did relief on the MV Lardeau on Upper Arrow Lake. He turned down a chance to work on the Nasookin because he had no way to get to Procter, where it tied up.

“I had my turn at steering the boat across the lake,” he recalled of the old wheelhouse “It’s a bit different inside than what I remember. We had a battleship linoleum floor and the woodworking was a bit darker.”

Brown still has the reverse wheel and throttle lever from the Anscomb‘s Vivien engines, which were replaced in 1972 during the same refit that saw the wheelhouse removed in favour of a larger, steel compartment.

The old structure sat in a shed not far from the ferry terminal until the Balfour and District Business and Historic Association acquired it for $1 in 2008 and began a massive overhaul that required hundreds of hours of effort.

The wheelhouse was pried from its concrete base and given a new roof, floor, doors, windows and fittings. On Saturday, the wheelhouse and cabin at its rear were also full of artifacts from the Anscomb‘s working days.

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