The spring 1985 newsletter of the Canadian Forestry Association of BC contains an article about a local vintage logging truck, its restoration, and donation to the local Silver Lake Forestry and Logging Museum:
The headline was: “Vintage logging truck donated”
The story said: “The Silver Lake Forestry and Logging Museum has received one of Kelowna’s first logging trucks. A 1927 Graham truck has been donated by Mrs. Kay Schneider and will be used in displays and events at Silver Lake and at other logging and forestry displays throughout the Interior.
“This unusual truck has an equally unusual history. In a conversation with Lumby logging pioneer, Henry Buchenaur, it was discovered that the truck originally came from Shuswap Falls. It was bought new by George Finlayson who had a tie mill near Lumby.
“It was originally a flat bed with single wheels and (was) quite unique back then.
“’When the late Steve Bata (a pioneer from Kelowna) bought it in 1934, he had to change the wheels so he could log haul with it. Steve got a tandem set-up from Toronto and installed it himself. I can remember him hauling big logs to S.M. Simpson’s mill in Kelowna with that truck in the late ’30s,’” stated Buchenaur.
“Steve Bata used several trucks from the second war on, but his Graham sat at his ranch near Scotty Creek, 15 miles east of Kelowna, until it was bought by the late Bill Schneider in the ‘60s. Bill did some restoration work to bring it to its present condition.
“The (Silver Lake Forestry and Logging) museum has made arrangements with Kal Tire for the restoration and joint use of the truck as a feature display for National Forest Week and for logging conventions. Kal Tire will complete the restoration of the Graham in the style of Schneider Logging trucks of the past, as a tribute to the Schneider family’s contribution to the Silver Lake Forestry Camp.”
Bata had some unusual trucks and vehicles. Later vintage trucks which he used to haul logs to S.M. Simpson’s mill included a five-ton GMC tandem with a tandem trailer and a Pacific with a Deutz V8 air-cooled diesel. This one looked a bit odd, turning onto Ellis Street from Clement Avenue, as the fan could be seen rotating at the front.
There was a Second World War Canadian Army truck sitting at Bata’s camp. Also, there was a truck made from a Nash car, a straight-eight with twin ignition, if I remember correctly. A heel boom loader painted “government orange” might have been a Highways Department shovel, which I had seen at a pit north of the Amory Camp (Crystal Waters Resort). It had a Ford V8 flat-head engine, probably not the original.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Bata’s logging camp was in a remote area. Now, there are houses, all the way up from Ellison.
This article is part of a series, submitted by the Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Historical Society. Additional information would be welcome at P.O. Box 22105, Capri P.O., Kelowna, B.C., V1Y 9N9.