As we write, the locale where this curious cross (pictured) stood is filled up with trucks and trailers, serving as headquarters for the massive road construction project taking place on Highway 14 near Connie Road in Sooke.
For several decades passing motorists were struck by the strange structure which caught their attention on the property owned by Al Shepherd, near Neil Creek.
Al Shepherd, who ran a sawmill on the land, was brother to Ken Shepherd, well known in Sooke as a prominent Lion and one of the Sooke Region Historical Society’s founders.
Questions about the cross frequently appeared in newspapers, in dailies and our weekly.
In 1983, the Sooke Mirror was purchased by John and Norma Arnett, and it was in August 1985 that this photo appeared in the Mirror, with the following story, quoted in its entirety:
“If the large 20-foot triple cross, adorned with a large rosary, on a Sooke Road property near the 17 Mile House has piqued your interest, that’s exactly what the man who erected it wants to happen.
Al Shepherd said he erected the cross and draped it with the large hand-carved rosary beads in 1974 to create greater interest in the Christian faith.
Mr. Shepherd, who has been a convert of the Catholic church for 25 years, made the cross and rosary in 1974 with wood from his own small sawmill. He carved the beads for the rosary by hand.
‘Catholics are a little possessive of the rosary, but I think it would be great if other religions prayed the rosary too,’ he said.”
The entire region we live in has been known over the years for individual personalities, and perhaps this was one of those examples.”
Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.