Harry Keefer
Harry Keefer camping on Savary (c. 1908)
Source: Magnetic Isle

Harry Keefer camping on Savary (c. 1908)
Source: Magnetic Isle


(1873 - 1964) One of the major players in the early history of Savary Island. Keefer Bay was named for him.

Harry Keefer biking down Malaspina (c. 1950s) 
Source: Magnetic Isle

Harry Keefer biking down Malaspina (c. 1950s)
Source: Magnetic Isle


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Here's some more info about Harry Keefer:

He and his family started with tenting vacations at Savary during the years around 1910.

After the 1910 subdivision at the wharf end of Savary, he was involved with Bob Townley in promoting property sales.

Starting around 1911-1912, Harry arranged for the building of most of the early houses on Savary in conjunction with, for the first few years, his father-in-law Alan Mace, Sr., and later his brother-in-law Bill Mace.

Around 1915, Harry and his family moved from Vancouver to the Keefer's house on Savary Island where the family lived until after he died in 1964.

During the winter of 1912-1913, Keefer arranged for the building of the Savary Inn at the foot of the wharf. He operated the Savary Inn in conjunction with the Misses Roberts, sisters who had recently immigrated from Jamaica.

Keefer initially operated the store, post office, and telegraph service from the Savary Inn; however, later he moved all these services to a new building close to his house.

"Harry Keefer alongside the first motor vehicle on Savary, our [the Spilsbury's] Model T truck.  I must have backed over a stump or something, and the front wheels collapsed.  That's the store in the background." 
(Source: Spilsbury's Album by Jim Spilsbury, Harbour Publishing, 1990, www.harbourpublishing.com)

"Harry Keefer alongside the first motor vehicle on Savary, our [the Spilsbury's] Model T truck. I must have backed over a stump or something, and the front wheels collapsed.
That's the store in the background."
(Source: Spilsbury's Album by Jim Spilsbury, Harbour Publishing, 1990, www.harbourpublishing.com)


In 1914 he was appointed the postmaster for the Savary Island Post Office, which had been opened the previous year. He remained the postmaster for the next 50 years.

Later, during the 1910s, Keefer arranged for the building and maintenance of the pavilion behind his new store and thus provided a meeting place for staging Savary events, such as dances, amateur theatricals, and masquerades.

After Harry started living on Savary, he continued with his real estate sales activities to the extent possible and was still arranging property sales during the 1950s. For some period of years, he was also a Justice of the Peace.

He continued to operate the store until the building burned down (in 1942 according to Sunny Sandy Savary); after which he continued fuel sales, the post office, and the telephone from a building that was referred to locally as the 'Federal Building', and which was next door to the site of the store.

After the fire, Keefer's nephew — Alan Mace Jr.— rebuilt the store as a more modest structure on the same site and operated it with his wife Leone Mace.

During most of Keefer's years on Savary, people and freight arriving and departing Savary Island usually moved on vessels that operated out of Vancouver. In order to receive groceries for the store (during the years he was storekeeper) and the mail sacks for the post office, he would meet the boats that arrived at the Savary wharf, frequently with his lantern during the small hours of the night.


Conde Landale
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Categories: people



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