Im sure youll receive many replies giving information about Charlie Ellis, who appeared in the Historical Lens photo on Page 6 of the April 22nd edition of The Columbia Valley Pioneer.
From the time he came to the valley from the eastern United States (probably in the late 1890s) he was part of our family. He worked as a desk clerk at the Windermere Hotel, owned by James Stoddart.
When my father, Walter, came at age 16 to live with his aunt and uncle (since hed been promised a horse by his uncle), he and Charles D. Ellis. became close friends.
With the financial help of my Dads uncle, they homesteaded Ellenvale Ranch (now the K2 Ranch), living there for 16 years. Charlie kept a diary of their ranch life that is now the property of Windermere Valley Historical Society.
He was an amateur prospector and a mountain goat, enjoying the challenge of scaling local peaks. He was also a loner, and had little climbing equipment.
However, when a group of experienced climbers thought they were to be the first on the summit of Mt. Nelson, they were surprised to find Charlies name and date of his climb already there in a bottle.
After selling Ellenvale to Capt. and Mrs. McCarthy (about 1922), Charlie spent his proceeds from the sale in seeing the world travelling by tramp steamers and absorbing sights and sounds far and wide. We inherited a trunk of his souvenirs: a fez from Turkey, brass from India, oil paintings done by a friend in Tahiti, etc.
He returned to the valley about 1930, purchasing an historic log building and becoming a mosaic artist, using his own techniques to replicate work seen in Europe. Some of his mosaics are in St. Peters church in Invermere.
As a child, I spent summers in the 1930s with my family at his home. We moved here in 1940 (my father always feeling Windermere his true home) and built vacation cabins at what is now TerraVista. Charlie was an almost daily visitor, especially at dinner time.
He died when visiting a niece in California but his remains are in Windermere cemetery, marked by a mosaic tombstone that he had fortuitously made for himself.
He was one of a kind and left wonderful memories.