Sixty-second in a series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names.
A photo that accompanied this column a few weeks ago showed some musicians outside the old Fort Sheppard Hotel at Waneta. It was taken by Fred Fransen (not Frans, as erroneously stated in the caption) probably in the 1930s and provided by his son Thor. Although most people were unidentified, the man holding a guitar was labelled “A. Golik.”
John Golik of South Slocan phoned to say that was his uncle Angelo who, along with John’s parents, came to Canada from Croatia in the 1920s. John’s father found work on the reconstruction of the Kootenay River dams and Angelo stayed with them for a while.
“He had his guitar with him and would strum it,” John recalls. “I was just a toddler then. He left it in our closet and I would pick away at the strings.”
He isn’t sure what Angelo was doing at the Fort Sheppard Hotel, although he apparently lived in Trail at one point.
In 1937, Angelo married Helen Bourgeois of Crescent Valley. The following year he was laid off by West Kootenay Power, so the couple decided to move to Wells where Angelo had previously worked at the Caribou Gold Quartz mine.
“We purchased a Model A Ford and drove to Wells with all our belongings,” Helen recalled in an autobiography. “It took us 2½ days, 22 flat tires, and a leaky radiator before we landed.”
After a few years they moved to the coast and had a variety of occupations, ranging from farming to owning a pharmacy to running the Sasquatch Inn at Harrison Mills.
However, in 1958, Angelo suffered a collapsed lung and needed surgery to remove three-quarters of it. He discovered he had contracted silicosis as a miner years earlier. He later tried farming again (they raised rabbits until he discovered he was allergic to them) but was in and out of hospital until his death in Vancouver in 1963 at age 58.
Helen went to work at the Langley post office and then Cloverdale Paint and a hardware store before retiring. She died in 1999 at age 85. They had no children.
John recalls Angelo “was quite a kidder, quite a character. He had a great sense of humor, as did Helen.”
John also identified another person in the photo, his uncle’s friend John Jovanovic, whom he recalls taking the bus to visit in Rossland. Jovanovic worked at the Trail smelter and had a wife, son, and daughter.
One other correction to the original story: a newspaper ad for the Fort Sheppard hotel actually appeared in the Trail Daily Times from August 24 to September 4, 1928, not the Victoria Colonist.