Win Gooding recalls childhood ties to early Stampedes

Win Gooding was born in the old Williams Lake Memorial Hospital and grew up in Williams lake.

Win Gooding was born in the old Williams Lake Memorial Hospital and grew up in Williams lake.

Her dad, Fred Buchholtz, came from Wisconsin and arrived in Williams Lake by train in 1919.

He married her mother, Christine Pinchbeck in 1926, and was one of the first people to organize the Williams Lake Stampede.

Win grew up in the family home on Second Avenue where Shoppers Drug Mart is today.

Her family had running water but no electricity.

“We used coal oil and gas lamps,” Win said during the recent sharing circle talks held at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin to celebrate Heritage Week.

“During the war we had to be off the streets by 9 o’clock and black out our windows after the Pearl Harbour attack.”

She says her father was trained as a cabinet maker and carpenter, and was a very good gardener.

“He supplied us with fruit and vegetables all winter. We made our own sauerkraut. We had no refrigeration, but my dad used to cut big blocks of ice from Williams Lake and store them all summer in an icehouse insulated with sawdust.

“It was cold enough to keep our milk fresh. A big treat was to make our own ice-cream.”

Win says her dad worked at the early Stampedes and the family would take their own food there.

“When I was six years old I was the flower girl for the Stampede Queen riding on a float in the parade. It was quite exciting,” Win said.

Win remembers how things were much more casual when it comes to rules and regulations.

She worked in the Bank of Montreal and during one social celebration hosted by the bank, where she had to help with the refreshments.

“We had the liquor stored in the vault and people were dancing around the counters.”

Win says people used to go down to the train station to meet the passenger train for something to do.

She remembers riding the overnight train to Squamish where you had to get off and ride a steamship the rest of the way to North Vancouver.

“I’m sorry to see the sale of BC Rail. That passenger service brought a lot of visitors to the community.”

As a member of the historical society, Win is a strong advocate for preserving the old buildings.

“We don’t have many old buildings any more. We lost the Maple Leaf Hotel to fire. It was once called the Grand Central. The Log Cabin Hotel became the Ranch Hotel, and it burned. The Lakeview Hotel (also to fire) was the last one to go. Gradually we are losing our old landmarks.”

Win got all her schooling at Williams Lake Superior School, which was later called Parkside School.

“We got a good education in those days. We used the Anglican Hall for a gym and I learned to play badminton there.”

Win remembers the old airport where Ninth and Tenth Avenues are today.

“It was built in 1928 and they enlarged it a bit so the larger planes could land. They were always having to shoo the cows off the runway. Finally they built the new airport where it is today.”


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