The Dickeys’ profound love of Revelstoke reflected in a new book from the Museum & Archives

By David F. Rooney

Earle and Estelle Dickey loved Revelstoke deeply. That’s a fact that can be measured by their chronicling of the community’s history during much of the 20th century. But don’t take my word for it. You can gauge the depth of their feeling for our community by examining the images of local life taken by these professional photographers.

Many of the Dickeys unforgettable images have now been collected, edited and published in a book, Reflections: four decades of photographs by Earle & Estelle Dickey, published by the Revelstoke Museum & Archives.

Set to be launched Saturday evening during a special dinner at the Hillcrest Hotel (click here to view the poster), the book lovingly tells both the story of these remarkable citizens and the community whose life they faithfully captured on film between 1920 and the early 1970s.

Earle was born here to pioneer residents William and Sarah Dickey. His wife, Estelle (nee Jones), came here in 1916 to work as a cashier at CB Hume’s General Store. A niece of Hume’s wife, Emily, the two were married in 1920 and worked together as team with Earle taking the pictures and Estelle developing them in the darkroom. She also hand-tinted many of the images taken in the years before colour film was developed. After Earle died in 1954, she continued to take pictures of community life. Estelle eventually retired to Sicamous and died in Vernon in 1980.

Their family later donated all of their photos, which constitute a remarkable chronicle of community life, to the Revelstoke Museum & Archives. For more information about Reflections, please contact the Revelstoke Museum & Archives at 250-837-3067.

How do you measure one couple’s love of Revelstoke? Examine the photos below and you be the judge…

Earle and Estelle Dickey on their wedding day, July 20, 1920. Photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
"The Competition," as this image was named by Earle Dickey, shows a classic confrontation between two modes of transportation. Circa 1950. Earle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
Ruby (Rutherford) Nobbs, at left, and Estelle Dickey, at right, by a cabin on Mount Revelstoke, circa 1928. Ruby shared Estelle's passion for Revelstoke's history and at the age of 91 published Revelstoke History and Heritage. Earle Dickey courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
Revelstoke CPR Yards during the Railway Strike on August 24, 1950. Earle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
The filming of a train wreck scene for Gaumont British film Silent Barriers in 1936. The film company arrived in Revelstoke in 1936 and filmed many of the scenes for the movie in and around Revelstoke, including Mount Revelstoke National Park, Three Valley Lake, along the Big Bend Highway and south of town at Greenslide. The film company hired quite a few local people as extras which was welcome employment during the Depression. Campbell Avenue became part of the movie set, while the former CB Hume Warehouse was transformed into the Rat Trap Saloon. The movie was shown at the Province Theatre in April of 1937 to great local acclaim. Earle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
Snow removal on Boyle Avenue at First Street, circa 1950. This unique snow-loader was built in Revelstoke. The Hub Garage and Imperial Oil Station is at the left with the Masonic Lodge to the right. Earle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
Charlie Sing with horse and sleigh, 1942. Charlie Sing came to Revelstoke in 1913 and had a large market garden on land that is now part of the Industrial Park. Charlie was born in China as Low Wai Jing in 1885. He was well known and liked throughout the community for his kindness and many acts of generosity. He often has children riding his delivery wagon and each Christmas he gave beautifully embroidered silk handkerchiefs and Chinese lily bulbs to his customers. He made a point of leaning gifts of vegetables or fruit for families in need. His funeral in 1954 was attended by a large portion of the community and his gravestone reads: "God Bless Him." Earle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
The visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabethth (known to later generations as the Queen Mother) to Canada in 1939 caused great excitement throughout the country. Huge crowds of people gathered wherever the royal couple passed, trying to get even a glimpse. In Revelstoke, up to 9,000 people gathered at the CPR Station, tripling the local population. The weather was very poor, with torrential rain soaking the waiting public and causing washouts on the road between Revelstoke and Sicamous. When the royal couple arrived in Revelstoke and stepped off the train to greet people they were very upset to learn that young children and senior citizens had been waiting in the rain for hours. Most people, however, felt that the drenching was well worth it for a chance to see the popular King and Queen. Earle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
The Revelstoke Review ran this story on January 20, 1960: "That skiing in Revelstoke embraces all ages is clearly illustrated in the above picture. E.D. Wood, 77 years old is the oldest member of the Revelstoke Ski Club while Henry at 14 months is the youngest. They an been every afternoon practicing on Hickory Run in Mount Revelstoke National Park. Henry is the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Okamura who are very active members of the local club." Estelle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives
May Day Celebrations, Revelstoke, 1956. Estelle Dickey photo courtesy of Revelstoke Museum & Archives
Clearing a stand of cedar at 72 Mile, Big Bend, September 17, 1938, during construction of the Big Bend Highway. At the top is Dick Camozzi, with Andy Kitson, bottom left. Bob Edgar is at the top right with Johnny Peterson at second from the top on the right. Earle Dickey photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives