The Allens decided to move to Little Prairie as the Hart Highway was nearing completion, and a great need for accommodation for travelers was apparent. This was sometime in 1952-1953. They chose their location at the foot of Mount Wabi and on Wabi Creek. Mr. Allen built four cabins on the approximate location of the Legion Hall area. About this time a seismograph crew wanted a place to board, so the Allens started a lunch counter, calling it “Betty’s Shady Brook Lunch”. Betty was their daughter’s name “Shady Brook” suited the area.
As time went by they added items for resale and later some gas pumps. However, the buildings were moved north of the highway when the road came through. Jim Allen also traded in furs, having had previous experience at Loon Lake, Saskatchewan while living there. He trapped with Frank Nichols in Saskatchewan, who still lives south of Chetwynd on the Sukunka River and traps, as he still has a registered trap line.
Some of the land owned by Mr. Allen became part of the recreation grounds in Chetwynd. As near as Mrs. Allen remembers, they sold Shady Brook to Jack Williams in 1958.
Later, the building was vacant for awhile and then a Mr. Ginn took over. Then in June of 1959 Mr. Harry Seamans bought and built a new Service Station and removed other buildings. They changed the name to “Valley Esso” thus leaving all the old identification.
Today “Valley Esso” is operated by Mr. Joe Grey. Mr. Allen passed away five years ago and Mrs. Allen continues to operate Jim’s Trading Post three miles north of Dawson Creek on the Alaska Highway. She has a novel and well-stocked business, well worth anyone’s time to stop and I’m sure the tourists must be delighted.
Betty –Mrs. Walter Schilling — still lives in Chetwynd and has a boy and a girl, Sharon and Jimmy. Margaret and her husband live in Fort Nelson. So, although “Shady Brook” is no longer, we’ll have remembrances of the Allens for many years to come.