The Otter Point and Sooke roads intersection has often been called the historically busiest corner in Sooke

SOOKE HISTORY: Pumping gas on the corner for 87 years

Automobiles were just coming into vogue during the 1920s and Louis Gettle built a gas outlet with two gas pumps in 1928.

We understand the block of land here on Sooke Road, just east of the Otter Point Road corner, was owned from the early 1900s by Adam Godtel and then his son Louis Gettle.

Automobiles were just coming into vogue during the 1920s and Louis built a gas outlet with two Union gas pumps in 1928.  Darryl Sheilds recalls that in her teens, his mother Florence got a job there pumping gas (in those days, the gas was actually pumped).

By the time this photo was taken in 1958, Eric Phillips Sr. had come to town and bought the corner tract of land where the two pumps stood and built a fine new BA station on the original spot.

Sadly, the Gettle children, whose dad ran the original station, had been left fatherless in 1929 when he was accidently shot by the Presbyterian minister Samuel Lundie in a hunting tragedy.

Another tragedy occurred after the Gettle incident, when A.C. McLennan, who operated a small non-prescription drugstore behind the gas pumps, lost his life in a fire there in 1945. It was soon after, in 1946, that Eric Phillips Sr. arrived and within a few years, had established a much-expanded service enterprise, still owned by the Phillips family today.

On the right hand side of the photo you can see scattered buildings, but that property also underwent change when it was bought by entrepreneur Bob Hughes, a new pool hall and bowling alley attracted dozens of bowling teams over the next couple of decades.

Today this area houses a restaurant and other businesses.

The hip-roofed building standing behind the shiny new service station in the photo is the Louis and Betty Gettle family home. After the Gettle time, it had been purchased as a family home by logging contractor Archie Manzer and later rented out to one of his truck drivers, George Pimlott.

This house was then in use by the Phillips family until about 1960, when it was relocated to Grant Road, becoming home to the Evan Haldane family.  It still stands on Grant today, though altered in style.

The Phillips family continued with renovation and expansion on the corner property and Eric Phillips Jr. and his brother Richard tell us that over the years their gas pumps have gone from BA to Gulf to Petro-Can. Since Eric Jr.’s retirement, the enterprise has been leased to another operator.

There’s an enchanting little story from Muriel (Gettle) Boyle, now living in Burnaby.  Muriel, now 93, has told us that a favourite memory of growing up in the house pictured, was lying in bed at night and listening to a fascinating sound. It was one of the Swiss cowhands working for the Glinz family, at Woodside Farm out on West Coast Road.

Muriel believes the cowhand was walking home to Woodside from an evening of pubbing, and the melodic Swiss yodeling she heard has stayed with her forever – the beautiful and haunting memory almost brings tears to her eyes.

•••

 

Elida Peers is the historian for Sooke Region Museum.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria thrift shop quietly closes two locations indefinitely

Society of St. Vincent de Paul shut down Sooke and Central Saanich storefronts

Sooke councillor pitches another way to improve transit

Coun. Jeff Bateman wants free passes for youth on local routes

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan in dismissing snap election

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read