Cars arrived in Jordan River when the road was brought through from Sooke in 1912. This photo was taken in 1922.

Local dynasty began in Jordan River

Nowadays we may notice about town that trucks are closely identified with the men who drive them, but in 1922 it was this array of automobiles that caught the attention.

The lively community of Jordan River, its prosperity fueled by the BC Electric power plant and the logging industry, may have boasted more automobiles than the village of Sooke at that time. In 1912 a welcome extension of the gravel road had made vehicle traffic to Jordan River possible.

At the far right of the photo one sees the corner of the once-impressive powerhouse, while more company buildings are seen up close. At this scene now, on the east side of the river, a few hundred yards from West Coast Road, one would find the area overgrown with alder, brambles and scrub conifers, screening the derelict powerhouse.

The men have been identified as l to r: Albert Sjoberg (maintenance) Bob Cummins (operator, powerhouse), Alex Murphy (operator, powerhouse), George Atkins (oiler), Frank Rumsby (electrician), Fred Ames (caretaker at Camp 2), and at right, company superintendent DI Walker, with his son “Bunny” Walker.

In 1935 DI Walker built the Jordan River Hotel, a hub of the town until it burned down in the late1980s. For many years, members of the Walker family kept a connection to the company, later to become BC Hydro.

It fell to Frank Rumsby, however, to create a local dynasty. Frank is the man sporting the suspenders, third from right. He married a young teacher at the Jordan River School, Nettie Maloney, and the couple later settled on the waterfront in Saseenos. Frank’s two sons Larry and Bill also became electricians and community leaders.  Today the fourth generation of Rumsbys can be seen taking a role in the Sooke community.

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