This page is dedicated to stories about the history and goings' on at Wasa Lake, kindly contributed by our resident historian, Naomi Miller.
Historians agree that the name “ WASA “was given to the community beside “Hanson Lake” by the early Swedish settler Nils Hanson. It is not known whether he named it for a small lake or village near the Finnish border...Or for King Wasa...Or Queen Vasa...Or the Swedish warship VASA built in 1628. That ship sank in the Stockholm harbor during what was supposed to be its dedication ceremony. The ship was raised in 1961, floats on a pair of pontoons and serves as a very popular museum.
Lumber, Mounties and Tourists
When the North West Mounted Police settled at Galbraith’s Ferry in 1887 the constables quickly became loggers who were sent into nearby woods to cut trees suitable for constructing the barracks. Those buildings needed flooring. Sam Steele had observed that there was a small sawmill here in Wasa. He ordered sturdy cut lumber from Nils Hanson. A few weeks later two British tourists , Lees and Clutterbuck, were exploring in two canoes. They came abreast of a small boat manned by a Swede and a Norwegian. Their boat was linked to an improvised raft of lumber to fill Steele’s request. Quickly constables with horses pulled the lumber ashore and dragged it up by the buildings. When their load was ashore the Swede and Norwegian gamely poled upriver to their bunkhouse at Wasa. The Englishmen were invited to the officer’s quarters, fed and made comfortable for overnight. Hyde Baker arrived and invited the two to come to his father’s house in Cranbrook. Realizing that they had to walk rather than float Clutterbuck asked if it would be safe to leave their canoes in the bushes behind the beach. Sam Steele assured them ,”Of course they will be safe!” The tourists went to Cranbrook then on to see Moyie, and came home by an Indian camp on Peavine Creek. BUT at the Kootenay River there were no canoes!! Three young Mounties had decided to desert and taken the canoes to float down beyond the United States border. Michael Phillips knew exactly where those canoes sat, barely south of his home on Tobacco Plains. Phillips loaned the travelers a couple of horses and accompanied them away from some red faced officers in the Mountie barracks.
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