caycuse bell

This is Caycuse Bell in Lake Cowichan. The town of Caycuse has an interesting history as a floating village on the south west end of Lake Cowichan. Caycuse had 400 loggers/residents at its peak in the 1900s. Not yet a ghost town, 13 people currently live on the land in that area, though I’ve seen other numbers that say 65 people do. The town has a closed school and a 2 lane bowling alley called the MULTIPLEX. It also has an active firehall. You can access Caycuse on a gravel road from Honeymoon Bay.

The bell itself is in front of the musem in “downtown” Lake Cowichan near the Weir. The museum is normally south and behind the bell, but the light from the south was better, as was the backdrop, so I went behind the bell and took the photo, and then mirrored it horizontally to make it look un-backwards again.

I have no idea what the bell was used for. The museum was closed so we couldn’t find out any official info on the weekend. In my head, I am imagining that it was rung when the waffles were ready for the lumberjacks to eat. Do you know anything about Caycuse? Have you been there? Have you heard of it until now?

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  1. towns from that far back in history often had centrally located bells to help call out emergencies such as fires, when people would be summoned to help put together a bucket brigade.
    It’s cool that you found that town – lots of history on the island that you never hear about (especially when you live in Calgary).

  2. I grew up in Caycuse from 1960-78, and that bell was hung on the porch of the cookhouse, and was rung to call the loggers to meals, and by us kids to drive everyone nuts.

  3. This Caycuse Bell was heard all over camp when it was dinner time and there were bunkhouses full of men waiting for dinner prepared by Big Al Wilkinson and Ivy Anderson, who always waved at the kids walking by after school. Ruby Evans was in the cook house as well and she was always there beside Ivy looking out the small windows over the cookhouse sink and smiling away as they were busy, busy gals. I remember the sound of that bell. Big Al went to the Lake Cowichan Forest Research Station in Mesachie Lake to cook there after Caycuse Camp. The Forestry research station in Mesachie at one point in history was a place to hide government officials in time of War. This is huge area of history. Mrs. Simpkins is the lovely lady that is in the museum during hours of operation and she is a wealth of knowledge if you have the time to speak with her she is well worth listening to. Also a sit called Mosaic has some stories from people I babysat for in camp and worked with for a short time when I was working at the Caycuse Office one summer lol. What a blast that camp was.

  4. The other Bell…Caycuse Bell is from the Schoolhouse it is in the Living Room of Barb Robertson who taught school in Caycuse. THey still live there today. THere are more than 13 people who live there. The Volunteer fire dept is still there. Fire Chief Bruce Wilson and Bruce Maher long time residents are still there lots of stories. The camp community has a clause in the that could not force the residents off the land. So for those that remain and keep the spirit alive of the oldest remaining logging camp on Vancouver Island alive. GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! The fire separtment is well needed in Caycuse for they respond to accidents in the remote areas of the lake on those roads as well. Camp Kids still Rule no matter how old we all have become lol

  5. Definitely looks like the cookhouse bell and was used to call the loggers to dinner in the cookhouse. Having lived there from 57 to 68 it was one of the constants of camp life. What a place and what magnificent people. Being a kid in Caycuse was so cool we had an enormous play ground that was the woods around the camp. We would disappear on Saturday mornings and show up around dinner time. Allowance day meant you had 25 cents for a 10 or 15 cent of fries and a Coke at the snack bar. We would drive Ernie Wisken (spelling) crazy but we were always welcomed back. Of course Ernie had the best candy selection as well ju jubes 4 for a penny! 40 for a dime that was so cool.

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