Artist: Dwayne Davis, 2004
Funded by: Communities in Bloom, City of Williams Lake, Peterson Contracting, The Paint Depot, Leon’s Painting, Windsor Plywood, and Davis Arts
Dwayne says the railway wasn’t supposed to travel through Williams Lake originally, it was planned for the much larger centre at the time 150 Mile House, then on to Quesnel. But, “in true wild-west fashion” says Dwayne, “someone paid someone and somehow, the railroad got re-routed to its current location and this City’s future was assured.” Another strong influence that helped to build Williams Lake is the Stampede Rodeo, an event that will reach its 100th year in 2026. Now a popular family attraction, the Stampede started out with dare-devil events and wild parties in the streets and many unruly cowboys locked in jail. As for the mural’s three “Williams,” William Pinchbeck (1831 – 1893) was a gold rush roadhouse operator, ranch owner, and an officer for the British Columbia Provincial Police. Chief William, namesake of the City of Williams Lake, was chief in 1842 when the first priest, Father Demers, visited the Cariboo and New Caledonia. Chief William offered Father Demers his own house to stay in and the Chief himself moved into his son’s house next door. Chief William was responsible for keeping the peace between the Aboriginal people and the early gold miners in 1859. He died in the smallpox epidemic of 1862. His son Chief William Junior took over leadership of the Williams Lake Secwepemc people and after some persistent lobbying he managed to convince the provincial government to give his people the Sugarcane reserve in 1879. While Dwayne was painting the mural, a passerby, William Lyne, told him about his own relative, William Lyne Senior who was an early settler in the Williams Lake area. Dwayne looked at the photo and promptly added the 3rd William to the mural. This mural was painted for Williams Lake’s 75th birthday and depicts the town’s early influences: The Pacific Great Eastern Railway, cowboy & ranching culture, and the City’s three “Williams”: William Pinchbeck (left), Chief William (centre), and William Lyne Sr. (right). The cowboys here are Pierro Squinahan and Patrick Chelsea shown performing an early stampede rodeo event called Roman Racing where cowboys would ride two horses with one foot on each horse.
At a mural price of $4000, and the largest mural Dwayne had ever been commissioned for, his challenge was to keep costs down. During the long painting process, it rained often and at one point the scaffolding got stuck and almost tipped over. Our prolific Dwayne Davis almost became part of Williams Lake history right then and there! Of all Dwayne’s murals in Williams Lake, this one covers the largest square footage. Lion Carrigon donated time to prepare the wall for the mural and Peterson Contracting donated power scaffolding so Dwayne could access the complete wall to paint it.