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 Hollyburn Ridge Cabin Photos (1920 - 1950)

For many young Vancouverites who were active on Hollyburn in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's, cabin living was an important part of their 'mountain' experience. Some chose to rent Hollyburn Ski Camp cabins from Oscar Pearson and his Swedish cousins, Ole Anderson and Andrew Irving. Others chose to build their own cabins. Arguably, the best cabin builders were Scandinavians like Eilif Haxthow, Ommund Ommundsen, Finn Fladmark, and Gus Johnson. Native-born Canadians such as Gerry Hardman and Jim Graham learned their cabin-building skills both through trial and error and the sharing of knowledge within the cabin community. The photos (with descriptions below) provide us with some insight about the trials, tribulations and successes of early Hollyburn cabin builders.

Photo Group 1 Captions

PHOTO_01. Captain Lindermere (seated), Pollough Pogue (far left) and his daughters beside a Nasmyth mill cabin, 1924 (Eilif Haxthow Collection). Most likely the first cabins on Hollyburn Ridge were built during WW1 for loggers and mill workers who required accommodation at the Nasmyth mill. The cabins were not built of logs but had board and batten siding. During the Fall of 1924, Rudolph Verne, Eilif Haxthow and other Scandinavian immigrants fixed up the abandoned mill cookhouse and some small cabins to establish the first commercial ski camp on the North Shore mountains. (Eilif Haxthow Collection)

PHOTO_02. "The Cabin", Hollyburn Ridge; February, 1932 (Gerry Hardman Collection). Gerry and his friends from West Vancouver High School built this 'board and batten' cabin using boards scavenged from the Nasmyth mill flume. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_03. "The Cabin", Hollyburn Ridge; August, 1932 (Gerry Hardman Collection). During the summer of 1932, Gerry and his buddies built a small addition to their cabin. Note the sturdy foundation log underneath the main cabin. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_04. Jim Barker excavating bricks for the fireplace from the Nasmyth mill, Summer, 1932 (Gerry Hardman Collection). Gerry and his friends found their cabin to be very cold during the winter. Before they could install a wood stove/fireplace(?), they had to build a chimney. Again, the nearby Nasmyth mill was a convenient source of building materials. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_05. "The Cabin', Hollyburn Ridge; July, 1933 (Gerry Hardman Collection) The chimney and the new addition appear to be finished. Notice the horizontal 'board and batten' siding on the cabin. This new layer was added in an attempt to provide better insulation. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_06. Hardman cabin, January, 1935 (Gerry Hardman Collection). Notice the layer of shingles that Gerry and his friends have added to their cabin. Even with this extra layer of insulation, the cabin proved to be very cold. In the summer of 1935, Gerry built his own, 'cozier', log cabin. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_07. In 1927, Eilif Haxthow built his first Hollyburn Ridge cabin using techniques he had learned in his native country, Norway. (In 1925, he had built a small log shelter at the end of his trap line near Yew Lake.) (Eilif Haxthow Collection. This photo also appears in Ommund Ommundsen's Collection.)

PHOTO_08. Eilif used the cabin as a weekend retreat. In the photo his friend, Leif, sits at the door of the cabin. Note the interesting roof line. (Eilif Haxthow Collection)

PHOTO_09. Eilif's friends, Ommund Ommundsen (L) and Finn Fladmark (R) sample his home-made wine, "Poor man's Delight". (Eilif Haxthow Collection. This photo also appears in Ommund Ommundsen's Collection.)

PHOTO_10. Ommund Ommundsen (L) and Eilif Haxthow (R) dance on the roof of Eilif's cabin, having enjoyed, perhaps, more than a couple of glasses of "Poor Man's Delight". Note the arrangement of cedar shakes on the cabin roof. (Eilif Haxthow Collection. This photo also appears in Ommund Ommundsen's Collection.)

PHOTO_11. Finn Fladmark "building our new cabin, Fall, 1928," Hollyburn Ridge. Ommund Ommundsen was to share this cabin with Eilif Haxthow until the mid-1930's. (Ommund Ommundsen Collection)

PHOTO_12. Ommund Ommundsen "outside our new cabin," Hollyburn Ridge,1928. (Ommund Ommundsen Collection)

PHOTO_13. Visitors outside the Ommundsen/Haxthow cabin, 1932. The roofline of this cabin is quite similar to that of the Hollyburn Ridge cabin built by Finn Fladmark circa 1934. See 'Skiesta' photos 05a -05e below. (Eilif Haxthow Collection)

PHOTO_14. Helen (Taylor) Haxthow with her baby daughter, Grace, beside the Ommundsen/Haxthow cabin, 1935. (Eilif Haxthow Collection)

PHOTO_15. 'Skiesta' built by Norwegian immigrant Finn Fladmark (March 1901 - February 17, 1969) circa 1934. Note the dramatic roofline. The cabin was given the name 'Skiesta' by Bob Tapp and Bill Sherwood who purchased the cabin in the late 1940's. (Eilif Haxthow Collection)

PHOTO_16. 'Skiesta', late 1940's. (Bob Tapp Collection)

PHOTO_17. 'Skiesta', circa 1950. Evocative photos such as this one inspire dreams of owning a cabin on Hollyburn Ridge. The realization of that dream involves considerable effort. Most cabin owners on the Ridge reach their mountain retreats along narrow paths far from easy road access. (Bob Tapp Collection)

PHOTO_18. 'Skiesta', circa 1960. In the late 1950's, Skiesta was purchased by two doctors from Estonia - Laine Loo and her husband. Having endured severe hardships under Nazi and Soviet occupation of their native country during the 1940's, a mountain refuge on Hollyburn Ridge was a dream come true. (Laine Loo Collection)

PHOTO_19. Relieving a heavy snow load on the roof of Skiesta, circa 1960. During years of heavy snowfall, this is an arduous task performed many times by cabin owners. (Laine Loo Collection)

In 1928, at the age of sixteen, Scotty Finlayson started going up Hollyburn Mountain. At first he stayed in the boy's dormitory at the Hollyburn Ski Camp where was one long bunk the length of the room. Later he met some boys his own age - Harry Morey, Conrad Brown, and Murdoch Brown. Together, they decided to build a cabin on Hollyburn Ridge.

PHOTO_20. In 1930, Scotty and his friends Harry, Conrad, and Murdock picked what they considered to be a suitable site, cut down some trees nearby, and built the 'Canuck' cabin. At the time, cabin building on Hollyburn Ridge was not supervised by the District of West Vancouver. (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_21. A side view of the "Canuck" cabin during construction, 1930. After finishing the cabin, Scotty and his friends found out that the site they had chosen was privately owned. Fortunately, they were able to persuade the owner, who lived in England, to sell them the lot at a reasonable price. (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_22. (L-R) Scotty Finlayson & Harry Morey circa 1931 (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_23. Interior of the 'Canuck' cabin, Spring, 1931. The bars on the window were installed to prevent bears from breaking into the cabin to look for food. (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_24. Interior of the 'Canuck' cabin, Spring 1931. Note the names on the cabin wall and the use of tree boughs as a mattress. (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

Photo Group 1

Photo Group 2 Captions

PHOTO_24. Interior of the 'Canuck' cabin, Spring 1931. Note the names on the cabin wall and the use of tree boughs as a mattress. (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_25. Scotty Finlayson, Hollyburn Ranger, May, 1932. "As the depression worsened no jobs were available at all . . . we had our cabin on Hollyburn and many more who still had jobs also had cabins. People were breaking into these cabins for food left in them. Some of us without jobs set up a patrol system, for 25 cents a week we would check the cabins twice a day, put up a sign that they were patrolled." Concerned about the uncontrolled cabin building on the Ridge, the District of West Vancouver appointed Scotty Finlayson as the first official Hollyburn Ranger in 1932. (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_26. 'Canuck' cabin interior, Summer, 1933. Note the rifles mounted on the wall. "We were having a problem with “rogue” black bears, breaking into the cabins, we tried heavy shutters over the windows but then they took to tearing off the roof. I went hunting and killed off some of the rogues and then the camp cook ground the meat for hamburger and it was much appreciated." (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_27. Scotty and Gwen, "up mountain at Scotty's cabin with second story addition," Summer, 1933. Scotty and Gwen were eventually to marry. Notice that a second story has been added to the cabin. "At one time (during 1932) we had six living together and doing the patrol work. There was George Lumsden, 'Chuck' Rolston, and Dick Lundgren. Joe Olsen, a friend of Dick's, was a member of the crew of the RCMP ship (St. Roch) that made the East-West crossing of the Arctic, “The Northwest Passage: he stayed while on leave. The cabin proved too small, it was only 12 feet by 16 feet, so we added another story with a four-foot overhand on each side and in front this gave us a living room downstairs and a 20 by 20 foot sleeping area up." (Scotty Finlayson Collection)

PHOTO_28. "The old cabin" - where Don & I stayed for two years before making our own, about February, 1931.”  “My friend, Don Fraser and I somehow got interested in going up Hollyburn Mountain. We used to go to Hollyburn commencing in ‘29 and into ‘30. We stayed at a big, old rat and mouse infested cabin, built and owned by Mush Limon, Art Alex (I think his name was), and two or three other guys." (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_29. "Me (Jim Graham) with somebody's hat on, at Jesse's cabin. up Hollyburn mountain, 1931. (Don Fraser took  picture.)” (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_30. "Don Fraser at sight of our first cabin (which wasn't ever finished), 1931.” “In ‘31, I think, Don and I decided we would build our own cabin. Well, that just didn’t work out. First of all, the site, as I remember it, was a nice site, with s good view of the city but  crummy trees around it. The one picture I have is of Don sitting on the floor of our would-be cabin with several small logs from nearby trees we have cut down, logs just no good at all for building a cabin. We were very young and we didn’t know any better so that was a false start.” (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_31. "Early spring of 1934 - our cabin; our 'Wood Box' before completion-1934.” “I think the very next year we chose a spot surrounded trees very suitable for the building of a cabin with a little creek nearby that became our water supply. We bought on Main Street a two-man crosscut saw, an ax, and a frow we used for splitting shakes. So we built our cabin. I remember it was very hard physical work  and we were again, I repeat, just kids. and groping our way, so to speak. What we used for the floor and I think for the door and I know for the shutter on the one window that we made was , in fact, a few remaining 2 by 12 boards that were part of the flume that originated from the "Old Mill" which was a considerable distance from our cabin.” (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_32. "Jim G at our cabin (Don Fraser & I), West of the ‘Old Mill’ up Hollyburn, about 1934.” Having started our first attempt at a cabin in '30/ '31, we probably finished our second cabin in 1932, a cozy, little log cabin, and hung the sign ‘Woodbox’ on it along with our names Don Fraser and Jim Graham. That was a happy day!” (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_33. "Where George & Charlie (Chuck) Pope stayed while making their cabin; Charlie in picture. Taken by George - summer 1932." “Our friends George and Charlie Pope  built a bigger and better cabin at the north end of the "Old Mill" site.” (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_34. "George (Pope) on his brother's almost completed cabin. Taken by me (Jim Graham) Feb. 1933. Just above ‘Old Mill’.” (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_35. “George and Charlie Pope's cabin (1933) N. of ‘Old Mill’. (Ours is S.W.)” (Jim Graham Collection)

PHOTO_36. Harry Collins cabin, Strachan Valley, 1934. Around 1930, Harry Collins decided to build the highest cabin on Hollyburn Mountain. His doctor had recommended that Harry spend as much time as possible in the pure mountain air as he was exposed to the toxic fumes of house paint while at work. Harry chose a building site in Strachan Valley just west of the Hollyburn shoulder. (Brownie Morris Collection)

PHOTO_37. Harry Collins cabin, Strachan Valley, 1934. Harry’s girlfriend, Blackie, at the window of his cabin in Strachan Valley, 1934. Notice the smoking stove pipe beside her head. Harry named his high, mountain retreat, ‘Blackie’s cabin, This name appears on the Boy Scout maps produced in the early 1960’s. (Brownie Morris Collection)

PHOTO_38. Harry Collins cabin, Strachan Valley, circa 1934. During winter, Blackie’s cabin was often buried in deep snow. Harry had to do a lot of shoveling to gain access to his cabin, which was sometimes difficult to find. To prevent the cabin from caving in under a heavy snow load , he braced the roof beams with stout posts. These posts helped prevent a disastrous collapse but impeded movement through the cabin. (Brownie Morris Collection)

PHOTO_39. "Harry Collins' cabin in Strachan Valley", circa 1946. Blackie’s cabin was well known to Hollyburners. Skiers and hikers on their way to Strachan Peak passed by the cabin. (Terry Connor) Collection)

PHOTO_40. Harry Collins' cabin. Strachan Valley, April, 1947. On an overnight skiing trip into Strachan Valley, Alice, Dot, Joy pause at Harry's cabin. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_41. Blackie's cabin, Strachan Valley, August 25, 1963 (Alex Swanson Collection) By the time the Swanson family hiked past Blackie’s cabin in the early 1960’s, it had long since collapsed. Harry’s presence in Strachan Valley has not been forgotten, however. The Collins ski run on Mt. Strachan is named after him.

PHOTO_42. Lucas cabin, Hollyburn Ridge, Summer - 1935: Throughout the snow-free months of 1935, Ron Lucas and his friends built their cabin on Hollyburn Ridge. (Ron Lucas Collection)

PHOTO_43. Lucas cabin, Hollyburn Ridge - Fall, 1935: By the time snows arrived in the Fall, the walls and roof of the Lucas had been finished. Ron and his friends enjoyed the luxury of windows in the back wall and a warm stove. (Ron Lucas Collection)

PHOTO_44. Lucas cabin, Hollyburn Ridge - May 1, 1936: On May 1. 1936, the Lucas cabin site was still covered with snow. Logs jutting from the roof were to be used later in the year as supporting beams for a covered porch. (Ron Lucas Collection)

PHOTO_45. Lucas cabin, Hollyburn Ridge - Summer, 1936: By the summer of 1936, the covered porch had been completed. These porches were used by many cabin owners to keep a dry wood supply close at hand. (Ron Lucas Collection)

PHOTO_46. Lucas cabin, Hollyburn Ridge - Easter, 1939: Three years later, no obvious changes had been made to the Lucas cabin. The narrow eaves have allowed snow to build up against the cabin walls. (Ron Lucas Collection)

PHOTO_47. Lucas cabin, Hollyburn Ridge - 1941: Sometime after 1939, an addition was added to the back of the Lucas cabin. (Ron Lucas Collection)

PHOTO_48. Hollyburn Ridge, Fall, 1942: Ron Lucas and his fiancé inside the Lucas cabin. Hollyburn Ridge was an oasis of peace in a world ravaged by war. Sadly, like many cabins built during the 1930’s, the Lucas cabin has disappeared. The foundation logs rested on wet ground and eventually rotted away. The eaves of the roofs did not project far enough away from the walls that supported them allowing snow to build up against the walls. This contributed to more rot. Declared unsafe, the cabins were abandoned. (Ron Lucas Collection)

Photo Group 2

Photo Group 3 Captions

PHOTO_49. Gerry Hardman’s second cabin on Hollyburn Ridge – 1935: In 1935, Gerry Hardman built a log cabin on Hollyburn Ridge. Unlike his first ‘board and batten’ style cabin, which he shared with his high school buddies, this was a true log cabin. It survives to this day and is known as ‘Sigge’s Retreat’. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_50. Gerry Hardman’s second cabin on Hollyburn Ridge – 1935: Gerry finished building his log cabin before the beginning of the snow season on Hollyburn Ridge. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_51 Gerry Hardman’s second cabin on Hollyburn Ridge circa 1986: Sigge Schmidt's cabin on Hollyburn Ridge, built in 1935 by Gerry Hardman, It is interesting to compare this photo with the previous photo (11b) taken 50 years earlier. There is little apparent change in the cabin. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_52. Gerry Hardman’s second cabin on Hollyburn Ridge - November, 1943: Doreen Hardman in front of the Hardman cabin on Hollyburn Ridge, November, 1943. Gerry and Doreen were married in early 1940’s. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_53. Gerry Hardman’s second cabin on Hollyburn Ridge circa 1986: A closer look at Sigge Schmidt's cabin. Again, it is interesting to compare this photo with the previous photo (11d) taken 43 years earlier. The shake roof has been replaced with a tin one. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_54. Gerry Hardman’s second cabin on Hollyburn Ridge - December, 1985: Gerry Hardman at his second cabin’s 50th anniversary party hosted by the current owner,  Sigge Schmidt. (Gerry Hardman Collection)

PHOTO_55. ‘Ski Heil’, Don Tyrell’s Hollyburn Ridge cabin circa 1935: In 1934, Don built a cabin on Hollyburn which he called “Ski Heil”. Later, he used the name for his winter sports column which appeared in the Daily Province from the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s. Skiers on all the North Shore mountains read his column to learn about snow conditions, competition dates and light-hearted mountain gossip. (Don Tyrell Collection)

PHOTO_56. ‘Ski Heil’, Don Tyrell’s Hollyburn Ridge cabin circa 1935: Don Tyrell had many friends on the North Shore mountains. His Hollyburn cabin was a popular hangout. (Don Tyrell Collection)

PHOTO_57. ‘Ski Heil’, Don Tyrell’s Hollyburn Ridge cabin circa 1935: A number of photos in the HHS archives suggest skiing down off a cabin roof was a challenge many Hollyburners found hard to resist. (Don Tyrell Collection)

PHOTO_58. Marjorie Gale on the ‘Holmenkollen’ porch - Fall, 1936: In the early 1930’s Marjorie Gale made arrangements to have a new cabin built near the south end of First Lake. The cabin was named “Holmenkollen” after the giant ski jump near Oslo, Norway. (Brownie Morris Collection)

PHOTO_59. Lil Paige and Brownie Morris beside ‘Holmenkollen’ - Fall, 1936: Lil Page (L) and Brownie Morris (R) enjoy the Fall sunshine outside “Holmenkollen”. Brownie Morris and Marjorie Gale were cabin partners during the 1930’s. (Brownie Morris Collection)

PHOTO_60. ‘Holmenkollen’ covered in snow – 1938: Note the crossed skis over the doorway. Compare this photo with the one that follows (13d). (Brownie Morris Collection)

PHOTO_61. ‘Holmenkollen’ covered in snow - Winter, 1999: In 1961, Bob and Greta Tapp became the owners of ‘Holmenkollen’. Thirty-eight years later, during the winter of 1998/1999 they were witness to a record snowfall on Hollyburn which buried their cabin. Photos 13c and 13d taken sixty years apart are remarkably similar. What is not evident is that many years before the record snowfall, the cabin was raised almost one full story. (SEE photo 13e.) (Bob & Greta Tapp Collection)

PHOTO_62. Visitors beside ‘Holmenkollen’ - Loggers’ Day Sports August, 1989: The raising of ‘Holmenkollen’ created a convenient storage space underneath the cabin. (Bob & Greta Tapp Collection)

PHOTO_63. Bob and Greta Tapp’s son, Dan Tapp, inside ‘Holmenkollen’ – 2001 (Bob & Greta Tapp Collection)

PHOTO_64. Stone Hut/Stonehaven - late 1930’s: During the late 1930’s and 1940’s, one of the most admired Hollyburn Ridge cabins was “Stone Hut” (aka Stonehaven), built by Chuck Gillrie and Stu Morrison in around 1936. Its most compelling feature was a stone chimney, hence its name. Most Hollyburn cabin builders used stove pipes because they were much lighter and more convenient to carry building sites along mountain trails. (Chuck & June Gillrie Collection)

PHOTO_65. Stone Hut/Stonehaven - late 1930’s: Eve Firth (centre right) and George Firth (right) in front of Stonehaven. (Chuck & June Gillrie Collection)

PHOTO_66. Stone Hut/Stonehaven - late 1930’s: “Scotty, Bob, and Chuck Gillrie” at Stonehaven. (Chuck & June Gillrie Collection)

PHOTO_67. Stone Hut/Stonehaven - late 1930’s: “Biddy and Stu Morrison” at Stonehaven. (Chuck & June Gillrie Collection)

PHOTO_68. Stone Hut/Stonehaven – early 1940’s: Interior of Stonehaven. Large stones are visible in the walls on either side of the fireplace. (Chuck & June Gillrie Collection)

PHOTO_69. Stone Hut/Stonehaven - late 1930’s: The large number of boulders/stone used to build the chimney and foundation wall are clearly visible. (Chuck & June Gillrie Collection)

PHOTO_70. Harmany Hall, April, 1945: Jim Harman in front of the he and his brothers purchased which they named “Harmany Hall”, April, 1945; "Bill's downhill's were rather big for me." Jim Harman, his twin brother Jack, and older brother, Bill, rented a cabin on Hollyburn in the early 1940’s. Enjoying the experience, they wanted their own cabin. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_71. Harmany Hall, Summer, 1946: In 1946, they began to add a new room to create more living space for the extended Harman family and friends. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_72. Harmany Hall, Summer, 1946: During the summer and fall of 1946, heavy logs were lifted into place by means of an elaborate pulley system to form the walls of the new addition. (Jim Harman Collection)

Photo Group 3

Photo Group 4 Captions

PHOTO_73. Harmony Hall, Fall, 1946: During the summer and fall of 1946, heavy logs were lifted into place by means of an elaborate pulley system to form the walls of the new addition. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_74. Harmony Hall cartoon, Fall, 1946: "Harmany Hall" detail from 1947 cartoon by Jack Harmon based on Photo 15d, Fall, 1946. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_75. Harmany Hall, late Fall, 1946: Good progress had been made on the new addition by the time the first snows of winter had arrived. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_76. Harmany Hall, April, 1947: During April, 1947, the Harman family and their friends worked hard to put a roof on the new addition. In the photo Jack Harman is moving the ridgepole into place. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_77. Harmany Hall, April, 1947: “Construction job.” Another view of the ridge pole being moved into place. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_78. Harmany Hall, April, 1947: Bill Harman prepares to add shakes to the roof. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_79. 'Headin' for the shake line'’, Summer, 1947: The Harman family construction crew found a downed yellow cedar tree some distance from their cabin. Yellow cedar is prized building material because of its ability to resist rot. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_80. Harmany Hall, Summer, 1947: Betty Hutchinson & Bill Harman on the porch of Harmany Hall. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_81. Harmany Hall, Summer, 1947: “Ernie and Dave” on the porch steps of Harmany Hall. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_82. Harmany Hall, November, 1947: “Jim, Les, Frank”. By the time the first snows arrived in November, the new addition was finished. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_83. Harmany Hall, Winter, 1947: A ‘picture postcard view’ of Harmany Hall covered in snow. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_84. Harmany Hall, Fall, 1948: Harmany Hall “on a cold and frosty morn.” (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_85. Jack Harman, Harmany Hall, February, 1949: Jack Harman working on a cartoon inside Harmany Hall. Towards the end of his life, Jack received the Order of British Columbia for his outstanding achievements as a sculpture. (Jim Harman Collection)

PHOTO_86. Harman family, Harmany Hall, February, 1949 : Harman family members pose for a picture on the deep snow that has covered their cabin. (Jim Harman Collection)

Photo Group 4