Tatla Lake Region
"There they built a fine new house."
- Graham Inn
For a long time, Tatla Lake was considered the 'end of the
road' or the end of the Chilcotin Highway if it could be called
such. The few people that lived west of Tatla struggled over
a poor horse track on horseback or bounced over it with team
The first man to take up land at Tatla Lake was a Lieutenant
Martin who by the spring of 1890 had developed a fine ranch.
Benjamin Franklin purchased Martin's land and on March 15,
1892 decided to prove an experiment. Accompanied by two Indian
guides, he set out to prove that a route could be put through
from the Chilcotin to Victoria via Knight's Inlet. Making
the trip on foot, using horses, snowshoes and by canoe, it
took him six days to make 130 miles to the ocean. Franklin
was hoping to convince the government that a shorter more
direct road to the Chilcotin from the Coast should be built
this way. The Victoria Colonist on April 13, 1892, reported
that, "The two Indians who accompanied Franklin to Victoria
had never been in a city before. Never seen a railway, a steamboat,
or a street car and the Indians themselves were a curiosity
to the city folks as they passed up Government Street with
their bundles of furs on their backs and their rifles in hand."
Since no such route is in existance, it is to be assumed that
Franklin did not succeed in convincing the government that
the way was feasible.
In the early 1900's Franklin sold his Tatla Lake property
to Robert Graham who had followed in the wake of the gold
rush to northern BC prior to his purchase. In 1909, Graham
went back to Scotland and returned with a wife, baby daughter
and step-daughter. The Grahams built a fine new house in 1930
as well as a store. That distint house is now Graham Inn and
has long been known for its good food served to travelers
along the Chilcotin Highway.
A thriving ranch developed then still exists today and was
where a Post Office was a established in 1914 where mail only
came in once a month at first, and then every two weeks. Graham's
son acquired a bulldozer with which to improve the ranch and
used it to build roads all over the Chilcotn, including helping
to build the road to Bella Coola.
Tatla Lake is probably best known for its fantastic view
of sawtoothed mountains that seem so close you feel you can
reach out and touch them. It is the gateway to the west as
well as to the Tatlayoko Valley, and a string of lakes called
Horn, Sapeye, Bluff and Middle Lake, known for their excellent
Graham Inn still serves fine food and there are two accommodations
operations in Tatla Lake proper as well as a grocery store,
school, and nursing station.
Folks in Tatla Lake and surrounding area are very pro-active
and involved in their community and host a number of events
throughout the year. There is an extensive cross country trail
system in winter, hiking, camping, birdwatching, mountain
biking, and excellent fishing in surrounding lakes in summer.
*Source: Chilcotin: Preserving Pioneer Memories by The Whitte
Operators - Tatla Region