By Laura Stovel
The Revelstoke Railway Museum offered a glimpse of its upcoming exhibit, an intricate, compressed diorama of Arrowhead, at its Christmas social on Wednesday. The model, complete with railway station, houses, trains and a sawmill, was created and donated by Vancouver resident Brian Pate.
Pate was moving into a retirement home so his extensive models were divided and sent to the communities that each model represents, said Greg Brule, a member of the Revelstoke Model Railway Club.
Arrowhead was a town south of Revelstoke on the east side of the Columbia River. In 1896 the Canadian Pacific Railway built a branch line from Revelstoke to Arrowhead to connect with the paddle wheelers that plied the Arrow Lakes and the Columbia River. Arrowhead was flooded out in 1965 after BC Hydro built the Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar, submerging many communities upstream after residents were forced to move. Many old-timers in Revelstoke have roots in Arrowhead and other communities that were forcibly abandoned at the time.
The diorama “isn’t a true representation of Arrowhead,” Brule noted. “Arrowhead was huge compared with what you can model so it’s been compressed and the scenes are selectively picked. There was never a curved track. It was straight up the valley. The wharf, the dock, the station, everything’s compressed. The sawmill was actually around the corner, a lot farther from town.”
“And the town site had a road in front of it, between the track and the town,” added Barry Ozero, whose dad worked for Shell Oil and used to deliver fuel oil to the many communities south of Revelstoke, including Arrowhead.
There had been a model of the Minto (an iconic sternwheeler boat) to go with the Arrowhead model but that went to Pate’s son, Brule said. “We have another gentleman on Vancouver Island who’s building us a model Minto for it.”
The model still needs some work but it will soon become an exhibit in the museum. BC Hydro has announced that it will help fund the exhibit.
Here are some photos from the event:
By Laura Stovel