Artist: Dwayne Davis, 2014
Funded by: Downtown Williams Lake BIA and City of Williams Lake on Williams Lake’s 85th Anniversary
Dwayne wanted to paint a scene from a roadhouse which were vital centers during the goldrush era before the railroad. Dwayne says the stage coaches could only make 20-30 miles a day, so we had a lot of these roadhouses dotting the gold rush trail. They provided a post office, café, and hotel services to gold miners. Towns like Williams Lake grew up around the roadhouses. The practice of the day was for gold miners to stop and get rest and supplies on the way to Barkerville and then, depending on their luck, they would return to the roadhouse to either buy it, or work there until they could afford to get back on the goldrush trail. This is the scene from a typical roadhouse, a stopping place for stage coaches on their way to and from the Barkerville gold rush. The mural is dedicated to the many posts that serviced the road-weary travellers of the 1860’s to the mid 1900’s from Lillooet to the Cariboo to Barkerville. The car and truck are from the 1920’s. The man on the horse is Antoine Boitanio (1880’s – 1940’s) who was born on the Alkali Lake Reserve and was instrumental in starting the Williams Lake Stampede. Boitanio Mall, Boitanio Park and Boitanio Lake all bear his hame. The man smoking is Charlie Twann, honoured in 2006 by BC Cowboy Hall of Fame after 70 years of working on cattle ranches. When Dwayne was a child he saw Twann’s photo and he always remembered it – he painted Twann’s photo into this mural because his pose reminded Dwayne of all the Tsilhqot’in cowboys. The man in the middle is the property owner’s dad who is still alive and well and living in the area.
Sepia tones are used to capture the feel of a time long ago. Dwayne used the truck and car to anchor the foreground of the mural in the actual modern-day parking lot, to give the viewer the impression that one could step into the past and join the gold rush fever. Dwayne had help from his uncle Stew Davis, who is not an artist but was willing to do blocking-in work. Artist Elizabeth Hoelderl contributed her skills to parts of the pick-up and the car wheels.