Katherine Ford, right, and her brother Armour are photographed as children in this uncredited photo, circa 1905. Armour Ford practiced law in Port Alberni until his retirement. He married Helen Manning in 1953. Ford’s name lives on with Port Alberni’s Navy League Cadets Corp, named NLCC Armour Ford. This photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/ Many of the history books cited in the Look Back series are available for purchase at the AV Museum. Call 250-720-2863 for more information. (PHOTO PN03921 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)

LOOK BACK: The legacy of Armour and Helen Ford

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

Armour Ford is a familiar name in the Alberni Valley, although an historic photograph of himself and sister Katherine from 1905 may not be.

Armour Ford was called to the bar in British Columbia and practiced law in Port Alberni until his retirement. He married Helen Manning in 1953. The new Mrs. Ford’s parents owned Sproat Lake Sawmills, and Sproat Lake is where Helen and Armour Ford lived in their later years.

Helen Ford was part of the Alberni District Museum and Historical Society when it met for the first time on March 31, 1965, as part of the move toward amalgamating the communities of Alberni and Port Alberni. Armour Ford was for years treasurer of the Alberni District Historical Society.

(Historian Jan Peterson wrote more about amalgamation in Twin Cities: Alberni-Port Alberni.)

A bequest by Helen Ford to enhance the local theatre community with a performing arts space went toward renovating the Capitol Theatre. The lobby is named the Helen Ford lobby, and more information on the renovations can be found online at atthecapitol.org.

Helen and Armour Ford were both known for their philanthropy and their dedication to community. Fossli Provincial Park, located on Stirling Arm of Sproat Lake, was the Fords’ homestead. They donated the land for a park in 1974, according to BC Parks.

Armour Ford’s name lives on with Port Alberni’s Navy League Cadets Corp, named NLCC Armour Ford, for all the support he dedicated to Navy cadets in the region.

This photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/ Many of the history books cited in the Look Back series are available for purchase at the AV Museum. Call 250-720-2863 for more information.

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