Harry Husak and Gier Thorden

Construction of the Wharf
and Postal Service

Hauling mail and supplies. Hauling mail and supplies.

In 1949, the Department of Public Works Canada, contributed $10,000.00 to build a wharf at Dore Lake. A wharf was necessary to assist the fishermen, mink ranchers, lumber operators and fish buyers. Residents and business operators from around the Lake would bring their goods to this central landing-place, where they would be trucked south. It was necessary to decide upon a suitable location for the wharf. The government considered constructing the wharf in the East Bay area. There were advantages of having the wharf in the East Bay area. It had good plane landing facilities during the summer months. The wharf would be close to timber operations established in the area. Furthermore, it was thought that a wharf situated here might encourage settlement in the area. During this period, residents were centred in the South Bay area. The government felt that a decentralization policy would enhance development around the Lake.

There were several disadvantages of constructing a wharf at the East bay. It was wide open with little shelter. The present road into the area was only a winter road. If used during the wet season, it would become badly rutted. A considerable amount of maintenance work and expense would be needed to keep this road in good shape.

Eventually, it was decided that the wharf be constructed at South Bay. The Bay was sheltered, an all-weather road terminated at this point, and a settlement was established here.

The wharf needed to be constructed in an area that was 66 feet wide, by 300 feet long. At that time, Harry Husak occupied the property, where the wharf was to be built. Harry and the engineers discussed the proposed location of the wharf and constructing it on his leased property. Harry claimed that any land needed for this wharf would gladly be relinquished to the government.

A water lot was surveyed in October 1949, at Husak's Point on South Bay, and construction began in the spring of 1950.

Postal Service

The Viden home and Post Office.
The Viden home and Post Office, 1948, at Murray's Point. This had been Nels Edson's fish camp.

Mail Plane.
Mail Plane.

Until the 1930s, mail was brought to Dore Lake on the freight swings. During the mid-1930s, a post office was established at Verner Johnson's home, on Michel Point. Ida Johnson acted as the Postmistress. The mail was delivered by plane once a week to Johnson's home. Residents from around the Lake looked forward to travelling by boat, canoe, or snow machine to Michel, to pick up their mail. It was one of the few times when everyone could gather together to visit and exchange information over coffee, at the Johnson's home. John Thompson remembers how important the mail service was to the social life of the residents living around the Lake

"It was a big boost in our lives when we received mail service once a week by plane. The post office was at Verner Johnson's place and was run by Verner's wife, Ida. She was a cheerful person and a good cook. Verner made sure the coffee was always on."

The post office also serviced the small number of residents living on Smoothstone Lake. During the winter months. Smoothstone residents travelled by dog team over the Portage, and in the summer trekked on foot and by canoe, to collect their mail.

Air service was discontinued during the war years. The mail had to be freighted from Big River along the Beaver River. It was then carried across the Portage to Smith's Bay, where it was picked up and taken by canoe, boat or snow machine, depending on the season, to Michel Point.

During the late 1940s, a permanent settlement was developing around Murray's Point. It was logical that a post office is centred where the residents lived. Therefore, in 1947, the post office was closed down at the Johnson's place and moved to Murry's Point. Florence Viden acted as the postmistress and set up the postal service in the Viden's home. The post office continued until 1953 to 1960, the residents had to travel to Big River to pick up their mail.

In 1960, Marshall Calverly, the Pentecostal missionary, established a post office in his home at the South end. When Mr Calverly left Dore in 1962, Ray Kennedy, also a missionary, took over as postmaster and continued to carry out this service until 1964. Both these postmasters were responsible for driving into Big River every Friday morning with the outgoing mail and returning the same day with Dore Lake's mail.

In 1964, the government closed down many of the postal services in the smaller communities, including Dore Lake. With continually improving road conditions, the residents were able to travel more frequently to Big River and Meadow Lake to pick up their mail.

George Olsen and dog team came from Smoothstone Lake for the mail.
George Olsen and dog team, came from Smoothstone Lake for the mail. Note fish nets wound on drying reels in the background.


Author: Webmaster - jkcc.com
"Date Modified: May 2, 2024."

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