View Full Version : History Lesson for Leaseman (Douglas lake ranch - Douglas lake cattle Company)

10-16-2007, 08:10 AM
The history of Douglas Lake Ranch spans a period of some 120 years dating back to the mid-1880ís. In fact, Douglas Lake Ranch itself traces its name back to 1872 when John Douglas Sr. homesteaded his first 320 acres (130 hectares) along its shore.
In 1884, John Douglas Sr. sold this property to Charles Beak, who, along with Joseph Greaves, Charles Thomson and William Ward, founded Douglas Lake Cattle Company on June 30, 1886; a date which coincided with the first transcontinental train trip of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Charles Beak was a cattle rancher who had already amassed some 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) in the Nicola Valley, whereas Greaves, Thomson and Ward were members of a cattle syndicate that purchased cattle with a view to obtaining the Canadian Pacific Railway beef contract. In 1892 Charles Beak sold his interest to the remaining shareholders. Greaves and Thomson both remained until 1910 when Ward purchased their interest. By this time, the Ranch had grown to over 110,000 deeded acres (44,000 hectares), establishing it as the
pre-eminent ranch in Canada.
The Ranch remained under the ownership and management of successive members of the Ward family until 1940. Throughout this period, the Douglas Lake Ranchís fortunes rose and fell repeatedly. From the highs of World War I to the depths of the Great Depression there were turbulent times. Revenues rose and fell whereas the costs of ranching continued to rise by early 1900ís standards. Additionally, ranching was changing as horsepower began to be replaced by combustion power. The Ward family sold to Colonel Victor Spencer and William Studdert in 1950. However, during the period to April 1951, Frank Ross (later to become
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia) joined Spencer and Studdert as a third owner. Studdert subsequently sold to Spencer and Ross. By then, the deeded acres had increased to over 145,000 acres (58,000 hectares). In 1959, Spencer and Ross sold Douglas Lake Ranch to Charles (Chunky) Woodward and John West. Westís ownership continued until his death in 1968 at which time Woodward became the sole owner.
In July of 1998 the Woodward family sold to Bernard J. Ebbers, a Canadian born resident of Jackson, Mississippi, who then sold the ranch in 2003.
Our present owner Stan Kroenke is a Missouri and Colorado based businessman with a commercial real estate and sports based business. He also has other ranches in Montana and Wyoming.
Life at the Ranch fosters teamwork between management and some 75 full and part time employees. This has created a strong culture and considerable employee loyalty, The employees value their way of life far more than the financial rewards. In fact, Douglas Lake has a history of employees who have spent their entire working careers at the Ranch and seldom found the need to leave its boundaries.

10-16-2007, 08:11 AM
The Douglas Lake Cattle Company is Canada's largest working cattle ranch, usually known as the Douglas Lake Ranch. Founded June 30 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_30), 1886 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1886), it has been operating continuously since. This date is also shared with the last leg of the first transcontinental train trip of the Canadian Pacific Railway (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Pacific_Railway) from Montreal to Vancouver.
In response to booming demand for beef in rapidly-growing Vancouver, the Interior stock industry went into high gear in the wake of the railway's opening, spurring on something of a golden age in BC ranching. In 1907 the Nicola branch line of the CPR was built into the Nicola Valley to serve the booming stock operation at Douglas Lake, which was already one of the country's largest and for many years second only to the sprawling Gang Ranch (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gang_Ranch&action=edit) on the west side of the Fraser, which has since shrunk in scale leaving the Douglas Lake as the largest. The ranch includes leased grazing land as well as directly-leased or titled lands, and verges on the edges of metropolitan Kamloops and towards Shuswap Lake, spanning most of the high country of the northwestern Thompson Plateau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thompson_Plateau).
The Nicola Valley line's original terminus at Upper Nicola (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Upper_Nicola%2C_British_Columbia&action=edit), shown as "Nicola" on railway maps, was at the ranch and its cattleyards on Nicola Lake, but in 1915 a route from Merritt to Penticton was opened in 1915, connecting also with an existing Great Northern Line which ran up the Similkameen River (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Similkameen_River) to Princeton from the U.S. and which was built to Princeton in 1909, and then beyond in 1915 as far as Brookmere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookmere%2C_British_Columbia) (track between Brookmere and Princeton was shared by the two railways). Nicola Station then became only a spur of the Nicola line, which itself was bypassed by the Coquihalla River route in 1926, which succeeded as the main route of the southern mainline (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Southern_mainline&action=edit) of the CPR until it was decommissioned. The Nicola railway remains today, still serving the Douglas Lake Cattle Company's ongoing ranching operations.
Most of the cowboys of the Douglas Lake Ranch are members of the Spaxomin (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spaxomin&action=edit) and Scw'exmx (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scw%27exmx) peoples, who are jointly known as the Nicola people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicola_people), and the life of the adjacent reserves and the ranch is tightly integrated as a result. A slowdown in operations in the later 20th Century engendered new recreation-residential development on part of the ranch holdings, near the old main house at Douglas Lake. .

10-16-2007, 08:25 AM
Bernie Ebbers is doing hard time IIRC for the Worldcom swindle.

There is also a rumour that Mel Gibson was looking at buying the ranch last time it was for sale - newhunterette heard that and was standing in line to get a job shovelling out the horse stalls. :wink:


10-16-2007, 08:29 AM
There is also a rumour that Mel Gibson was looking at buying the ranch last time it was for sale - newhunterette heard that and was standing in line to get a job shovelling out the horse stalls. :wink:

hey now I may do a lot of things but I would not shovel horsey poop for Mel Gibson - tell me Sam Elliott is buying the ranch or even old Clint Eastwood and I might for him - I like the rugged cowboys FD heheheheheheh

10-16-2007, 08:41 AM
Stan Kroenke is a owner of the colarado avalanche and he wife is Sam Waltons granddaughter or something like that

10-16-2007, 01:01 PM
Does Mel need a Realtor? I should phone him.....

10-16-2007, 01:13 PM
Is This Ranch Like Wako Texas??? Or Hotel California??

Doe Eyes
10-16-2007, 01:18 PM
Did someone say Sam Elliott????
The voice....oh ya...giddy-up

10-16-2007, 02:03 PM
You did good Ali....I think the acreage is a tad off but heh!!...Joseph Greaves was my great grandfather ( or was it great great...)...in my younger years, during the mid 70's, I spent a lot of time up there with my uncle Buck (greaves) who had a trap line on the ranch.... had access to the private lakes at that time (during the time Woodwards owned it) and my uncle lived on Salmon Lake, private end, where Woodwards sister and family had their "summer home"....lots of great memories up to when my uncle died in the mid 80's...........

Haven't spent much time up there since, but it will always hold a fond place in my heart....my parents still have his original saddle, pack frames etc. from when the ranch was young...lots of pics too.....


10-16-2007, 02:59 PM
- I like the rugged cowboys FD heheheheheheh

:lol: This is the wisest comparison I've heard so far! Seriously