While the Colwood Hotel stood miles to the east of Sooke, it figured in the lives of travelers to Victoria in the early 1900s. This photo shows the second Colwood Hotel, rebuilt in 1892 after the first one burned. It was located on the water side of what was then a dirt road – now a busy intersection that is controlled by many flashing traffic signals today.
The 1913 Buick in the photo belonged to the Maynard family of Maynard and Sons Auctioneers. In the museum’s collections there is another photo showing this Maynard touring car on the road to Jordan River, alongside a horse and wagon driven by Jack White, who had at that time used his team to pull the vehicle out of the mud.
Because we note a team of horses and a wagon with hay bales in this photo as well, we suggest that the owner of the team was again Jack White. For those who are interested in the history of Aaron Denton White and his First Nations wife Owechemis, Jack White was the couple’s only son, following four daughters who became very well-known through their marriages into Sooke pioneer families.
Because the Buick belonged to the Maynards and because Katherine, a daughter of Hannah Maynard the pioneer photographer, lived in Jordan River, married to D. I. Walker, the engineer responsible for the early hydro operation, we can again suggest that visiting the Walkers would be the reason the car was on the road.
In any event, traffic was sparse in the early 1900s. Even in 1951, just after my husband and I were married, we were driving one Sunday evening from Sooke to our home in Victoria when we had our own little experience showing the contrast to current traffic conditions.
While today there is a plethora of lanes at this intersection, leading to Langford, up-island, Victoria or Sooke, with an array of traffic signals to guide motorists, in that year there were none, only a little old STOP sign as we joined the Island Highway. In the gathering dusk, with no vehicles in sight, my husband chose not to stop at the sign. Guess what? A police cruiser was hidden behind nearby bushes at the quiet corner and we got a ticket.
Sooke Region Museum