A LOOK BACK: Joe Drinkwater carves a name for himself in the Alberni Valley

Take a peek at the history of the Alberni Valley with the AV Museum

Joe and Della Drinkwater pose for a formal portrait circa 1898. The Drinkwater name has been a noted one since the 1800s, and numerous landmarks and streets are named for different family members. Drinkwater Creek at the headwaters to Great Central Lake was named for Joe Drinkwater, who had a number of mining claims in the Drinkwater Valley. Joe named Della Falls—the highest waterfall in British Columbia—after his wife Della (née Fayette). The couple was married in December 1899. This photo is one of 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN01129 COURTESY AV MUSEUM)

Joe and Della Drinkwater pose for a formal portrait circa 1898. The Drinkwater name has been a noted one since the 1800s, and numerous landmarks and streets are named for different family members. Drinkwater Creek at the headwaters to Great Central Lake was named for Joe Drinkwater, who had a number of mining claims in the Drinkwater Valley. Joe named Della Falls—the highest waterfall in British Columbia—after his wife Della (née Fayette). The couple was married in December 1899. This photo is one of 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN01129 COURTESY AV MUSEUM)

The Drinkwater name has been associated with the Alberni Valley since 1887, when Isaac Drinkwater and one of his eight sons (he also had three daughters) trekked across Canada and found themselves walking the Horne Lake Trail over the Beaufort Mountains and into their new Vancouver Island home.

Author Kaye Dukowski chronicles the Drinkwater family in Alberni Valley Pioneers: Drinkwaters and Connecting Families. Joe is arguably the most well known because of his discovery of Della Falls, at the far end of Great Central Lake and part of Strathcona Provincial Park.

Della Falls, fed by Della Lake and dropping into Della Creek below, has a reputation of being the tallest falls in Canada, according to the Canadian government. (This fact is disputed by others, including the World Waterfall Database).

Joe Drinkwater named the falls, lake and creek after his wife Della, who came from another pioneer family, the Fayettes.

Joe was a prospector and contractor among many other occupations. He built the original floating Ark Hotel at Great Central Lake.

This photo and numerous others of the Drinkwater family can be seen in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archive, comprised of 24,000 photos depicting more than 100 years of life in the Alberni Valley. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com.

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