Kemano- Jeff Watt's Photos

Kemano, British Columbia, Canada

Misc. Kemano Scenes
from Jeff Watts Collection of Photos and Memorabilia

Jeff's friend, Alan Tennyson
along the Kemano River
getting ready for a photo shot.

L/R- Chiki ?, Sharon? Diane?

Kemano girls

Men in the Coffee Shop
Jeff Watts on right

Black Bear
Enjoying the smells of the Cookhouse

MK 54 Ford F100 no1M7.
Boilermaker Asst. Superintendant Ed Lawson's of Seattle

Wolf Cubs collecting empty beer bottles

Couple boys and a dog

left-right, ? Smith, Fred ?


ca 1955
Mountain known as “The Jaws”
Three rock horns that rise above Kemano.
SW to NE,
First Jaw,
2nd Jaw, highest, (6765 ft)
then the 3rd Jaw.
All East of Horetzky Creek.
Probably Bruce Moss Photo

ca 1955
Siffleur Lake
Jeff thinks this might be
what the Scouts called
“Hotdog lake”
alt- 1216 mtr
Lat- 53°37' North
Long- 127°45' West
Siffleur= French word for Marmot
Probably Bruce Moss Photo
(See article below)


pictures below from small slides, quality on some is not perfect, but best we have for now
Jeff had some redone, you will notice them for sure now

Kemano Valley

Kemano Theatre Bill Board

Powerline NW of Kemano

Euclid Truck

Jaws Mountain at Horetzky Creek, ca 1955

Jeff Watts Dancing at the Kemano Theatre

Mt. Dubose
Scout's Military Jeep, “The Flying Flea” donated by MK for $1

International TD24 Dozer at the Gravel Pit downstream from the Switchyard
Jeff Watts on the track

Jeff Watts beside MK 5 Ton Ford
Bobtail Dump Truck, ca 1955

Road Bridge and Hand Railing at Powerhouse Tailrace
to the Kemano River, ca 1955

Left- Jim Hanna, lives in Melbourne, Australia,
worked in the M-K office
under Doug Ellis, accountant, in middle,
and Barb Ellis on right, his wife
who live in Boise, Idaho.
Photo taken at Wachwas Village housing.

Jeff Watts at Kemano River Beach, ca 1955

Japanese Performers at Kemano Theatre, ca 1955

Loading 11ft diameter x 20ft Penstock Raise Pipes
onto Lowboy at Kemano docks


Collection of assorted photos.
some are above, they require some professional work to be clearer here.
Best Jeff has for now.

Nicknamed “Aluminum Bellhops”

Alcan Seurity Chief, Mr. Weston, when Jeff was there.
He once cautioned Jeff for ordering Seagram's 83 Whiskey from the LCB, as he was underage, and Mr. Weston reviewed the supply barge manifest.

Alcan Security Officer- Tommy Lees, husband of Nancy Lees below

Arthur Newcombe was Alcan Security Officer

I remember the Duke of Edinburgh visiting Kemano. I was given the task of helping build steel holders for window boxes for the MK managers homes at Camp 5. They were made from 1 1/2“ steel angle and decorated with flower stems made from rebar and leaves stamped out of 1/8” plate. Harry the Blacksmith, nicknamed “Helkistink” as he chain smoked cigars, was my partner. I still have a slight scar on my right hand from a piece of hot haywire when he caught me snoozing on the job. I got no sympathy from my foreman, Jim Palmer. They were brightly painted and filled with real flowers for the Duke's one minute motorcade. I was fascinated by the Canadian pronunciation of duke as “dook” as opposed to my English “dewk”. Another word I struggled with was “can't”, “cehn't” as apposed to “caan't”. I would practice Canadian quietly when alone as I was teased by my workmates for my limey accent. True to the title “Boilermaker” we all imbibed. A 26 ounce bottle of Seagrams 83 cost $3.85 when ordered from the Liquor Control Board in Vancouver but the bootleg price was $10 and double or more on holidays.

My recollection was that the Duke visited Kemano in October 1954 because I worked as a labourer until the rock crushing plant shut down for the winter in October when I became a Boilermaker Helper. Or was it in the Spring of 1955?

There was another MK superintendent, Gus Delatour but I don't recall his title. In those days there was unemployment in Quebec and the government shipped men out to the west. We had a welder we called “Frenchie” and he took a lot of teasing on the job. I had taken French in high school so we would kibitz. One day he was really upset and he said, “To ell with this Colombie Britanique, I go back to Canada!”

There is an additional company that operated in Kemano in those years, Kitimat Storage. I think the best description of their function is “services contractor” which provided instant responses to Alcan's needs where a formal contract would delay action. The owner and onsite manager was Mr. Lockhart and his two subordinates were his son Sandy Lockhart and Walter Shellest. I spoke to Walter a number of years ago where he was living in Prince George. They had one of the warehouses near the tramway.

Sandy Lockhart was Cub Master in Kemano

  • “Ole” Strandberg, MK
  • “Red” McKernan
  • “Jack” Delaye, Project Mgr., MK
  • “Herman Echols” Assistant Project Mgr. ,MK
  • Boilermaker Supt., Ernie McPhalen, Riverside, CA., MK
  • Assistant Boilermaker Supt., Ed Lawson, Seattle, WA., MK
  • Rock Crusher and Aggregate Screening, ? Bittersley, MK
  • “Doug” Ellis, Office Bookkeeper, Boise, ID, MK
  • Bruce Moss, Photographer, MK
  • Office Manager, ? Guild, MK

Grocery Store

Nancy Lees, wife of Tommy Lees above

More Memories from Jeff, Feb 16, 2012

Okanagan Helicopters Company, was I believe, owned and managed by Bill Brooks. (see Web Editor note below) The hanger was just on the other side of the tailrace bridge facing the switchyard. A scarlet red Sikorsky S-55 was the work horse and there were two or three small Bell helicopters. The S-55 was used to erect the tubular aluminum transmission towers over the pass at the headwaters of the Kemano River and down the Kitimat side. All construction tools and rigging were supplied by helicopter and I believe this was the first time in history that high riggers aligned and bolted up structural members furnished from the sky.

(Web Editor Note)- I don't think Bill Brooks was the owner, probably the Base Manager at Kemano. Would love to hear from Bill or a family member to clarify this.

In the summer of 1956 we held our summer camp at “Hotdog Lake” on the trail from Horetzky Creek Camp to the Tahtsa Lake intake structure. The scouts liked the site because on the south side of this acre sized lake the snow remained in the summer so they could slide down and land in warm water. Bill Brooks kindly volunteered to fly in our tents, camp gear and provisions and as I recall two of the scouts got a ride in a Bell. The rest of us had to backpack our personal gear. This was a special event as we all knew that family and friends would be leaving Kemano before the winter snows most of whom would not meet again.

See the picture of Siffleur Lake above, very probably Scouts “Hotdog Lake”

View Jeff Watt's Scout Collection also
Boy Scout Troop

Pictures and info contributed by, Jeff Watts, now an American citizen, living in California USA.
During Kemano era, his name was Godfrey James Watts.
Jeff was born in England
Thanks for sharing Jeff!

Jeff also presented many color slides to the Kemano Museum, when he was invited there, as a guest of Alcan,
just prior to the closing of Kemano Village, which are believed to be in the Rio Tinto Alcan archives.


  • Last modified: 2017/11/14 22:54
  • by dlgent