Alice Jowett (nee Smith) of Trout Lake (1853 – 1955)

Alice Jowett was born in Bradford in 1855, daughter of John Hill Smith. At the time of her marriage to Thomas Jowett, Foreman Stone Mason, son of John Jowett, contractor of New Road Side, Thornton, she was a spinster of Claremont, Horton in Bradford, and her father was described as a foreman in a Stuff Warehouse. Alice and John were married at Bradford Register Office on June 8 1878. Witnesses were Mary Eliza Smith and Ann Oldfield.

The 1881 census shows the family to be living at 3 Close Head Lane, Thornton In Bradford, Yorkshire, England, and to have two children, John Ed.aged 2 and Evaline (sic) R. M., 6 months. A further daughter to Alice and John, born after 1881, was Edith. The story below relates how, after Thomas died in 1889, Alice and the children took a trans-Atlantic adventure which ended up on the Canadian West Coast in British Columbia.

Rosemarie Parent tells me that John died fairly young of TB, whilst Evelyn (the spelling as she preferred it) married Andy Daney and had four children - Vivian, Alice, Seldon and Beverly. Edith married Harry Godsoe and had two girls - Erma and Helen. All lived and married in BC and their descendants are still around at various places. The ones left now would be grandchildren to these and even some of them are now gone. Unfortunately, because of John's early death none of the descendants now carry the Jowett name. Still, I would be more than happy to hear from any!

The following article was written by Rosemarie Parent of the Arrow Lakes Historical Society and reprinted with her kind permission. I am also indebted to Kathleen Lawry for bringing Alice to my attention in the first place.

Alice Jowett was one plucky hotel owner

Trout Lake was once known not only for its rich mines, but for the remarkable personality of a plucky hotel owner by the name of Alice Jowett. Born Alice Elizabeth Smith in 1853 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, she learned the confectionery business as a young woman and in 1878 married Thomas E Jowett.

In 1889 Alice lost her husband and decided to move to Canada with her three young children – Evelyn, Edith and John. They crossed the ocean to the coast of Canada and travelled across the country by train on a colonist car for immigrants, where two or three families shared cooking facilities and made up their own beds to share costs.

The original plan had been to go to Pasadena, California but by the time she got to Vancouver she had run out of money. She first worked for a family named Edwards and soon had enough money saved to start her own business. Alice set up the first bake shop in Cordova Street in Vancouver and had great success in selling her wonderful pies, cakes, bread and buns.

Hearing about the big gold mines of the Lardeau and feeling it was time for a change, Alice sold her bake shop and moved to Trout Lake in 1897. She bought the Trout Lake City Hotel, a two storey part-log building, from John Bourke and soon became known for her excellent meals. The miners flocked to her little establishment.

Other hotels were being built in the mining towns of the West Kootenay to accommodate the prospectors who were coming from far and wide.

One was the Windsor Hotel built in 1897 by McLennon, Black and Co. A three storey frame building with dormer windows, it was one of the finest in the Kootenays. It had hardwood floors throughout, a large billiard hall, parlours, and a reception room.

The Windsor was situated in front of Mrs. Jowett’s small Trout Lake City Hotel and when the larger hotel came up for sale in 1907 she jumped at the chance to buy it. Later, in the 1930s, she tore down her original hotel and sold the lumber to a mine.

Under her management the Windsor became well known, not only for her delicious meals, but for the fine china and linen table-cloths she used to serve her culinary delights.

By 1910 Jack Simpson had become her partner in the operation.

Alice had many employees through the years. One of them was a young girl named Edna Lindholm, later Edna Daney. On her way to work at Halcyon Hot Springs in 1930, Lindholm heard that Jowett was looking for someone to work at the hotel. The pay sounded better so she went to trout lake instead.

She worked for Jowett for three years, living and tasting the life of the Lardeau where every day was a new adventure.

After her hotel business was running smoothly and was well established Jowett caught the prospecting fever and began to hike among the hills searching for claims. Her most famous mine was the Foggy Day. She had several other claims and made a trip every year to inspect them, right up to her 80s.

At the age of 92 Jowett reluctantly decided she could no longer continue to operate the hotel. She sold out and moved to the Rest Haven convalescent home in Kelowna, where she celebrated her 100th birthday in 1953. She died in the spring of 1955.

Her family took her ashes to the alpine basin she so loved and placed them in a cairn especially built to honour this great pioneer.

The stories of the Jowett, Daneys and many others have been recorded by the Arrow Lakes Historical Society. The society is interviewing all the people they can find, although there are not many pioneers of the area left, and few accurate stories that have been written about them. If you have any information you would like to share or photographs that could be copied please contact the society at Box 819, Nakusp, B.C. V0G 1RO, email or website

Watch out next year for Alice Jowett’s Christmas Cake recipe!

Copyright S D Jowitt/Rosemarie Parent