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.

 

 

Just Posted

Sooke’s First Nations have Iroquois links

References to the proud Iroquois race tend to make one think of… Continue reading

Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

Cop-turned-storyteller reaches back to his past for Tribal Police Files

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

B.C. getting less bang for its buck

B.C.’s CPI topped 2.7 per cent in April 2019, compared to two per cent for all of Canada

Walkers across B.C. raise $1M to support those facing Alzheimer’s

The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s returns on May 3, 2020

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read