This is a photo of the Portage La Loche Post factor's house in September, 1908 taken by the Crean Expedition in West La Loche.(photo was being sold on ebay in 2010)
*The census of 1906 shows the HBC factor was Edward Beatty (age 22 or 32), his wife Florence (age 23),
his daughter Thelma (age 8 months) and a servant John Reads (age 63).
The HBC factor in 1908 is John O. Groat. His wife and daughter are in this picture. John Reads may also be in this picture.
Revillon Freres had a post in La Loche from 1906 to 1936. The company was sold to the HBC in 1936. The HBC used the
old Revillon buildings until they built a new store on the property in 1940.
The census of 1906 shows a Solomon Ballentyne (28 years old) as agent of this post. Also included was his wife Mary (25 years old).
The Revillon Freres Post and Dene/Chipewyan teepees in La Loche between June 30-July 2, 1918 from Canada Archives.
Edited coloured version.
Revillon Freres Post at La Loche in January 1907.
"Living house for men, Simon Bourwick on the right"
Revillon Freres Post at La Loche January 1907. "Metis trader holding a silver fox fur".
Hudson's Bay Company
The HBC had posts on Lac La Loche since 1810 but it was not until 1936 that they opened a post in the village of La Loche. It was located in the former Revillon Freres post.
A new building was built in 1940. (see the photo and the description below)
La Loche Hudson's Bay Company 1946-47 by Alan Yuill.
"The chap at the far left (is) Willy, our interpreter."
Alan Yuill was 17 when he took this picture and worked under the Chief Factor of the La Loche Post John Blackhall.
and the many additions made to the original building over the years. (now the Northern Store)
The new entrance to the store is where the flag is flying on the left.
The old entrance facing the lake was in the middle of the photo.
The original building (with the three small windows in a row) was built in the 1950's.
The old warehouse was built in 1957.
Lac La Loche Posts in 1820
Sir George Back wrote a description of the Lac La Loche posts while travelling through in 1820.
There may have been 120 people living on the lake with a few houses in La Loche, West La Loche and around the two posts.
The HBC post and the NWC post were on the south west side of the lake.
The HBC Post were "logs piled one above the other with mud and moss to fill up the crevices- there is a single
partition which divides the Master's room from that of the men.-the former has half a roof to it-some parchment
windows make up the whole-"
The NWC Post was "a square and flat roofed hut just seven feet high-neither wind nor weather tight in which
are stowed-Master, men, women, children, dogs and sledges-"
Returning from Fort Chipewyan in 1822 with a brigade of canoes he writes... " we touched at the houses on the borders of the lake
and embarked a man in each canoe".
(from the book- Arctic Artist The Journal and Paintings of George Back, Midshipman with Franklin, 1819-1822 ( page 207))
Map of the fur trade posts
Black shows the Hudson's Bay Posts.
Red shows the North West Company's Posts.
A solid triangle shows 16 to 50 years of occupation.
A solid circle shows 4 to 15 years of occupation.
An empty circle shows 1 to 3 years of occupation.
Map from "The Atlas of Canada" of 1974
Fur Trade Posts
Some fur trade posts may have been simply a storage building with living quarters.
Some of these early posts were used for the summer trade season only.
These summer posts may have moved to different locations on the lake if another location became more convenient.
Others were built as a place the traders and their men could overwinter.
Portage La Loche Post at La Loche
The Portage La Loche Hudson's Bay Post kept
its name even though its location on the lake changed.
The Post was called Portage La Loche when it was at the portage,
when it was in West La Loche and when it was in La Loche.
The Mission was also called the Mission of Portage La Loche thought its buildings were in the village of La Loche.
Early pictures of some of these northern posts show a storehouse and a residence next to it. The manager of the post bought fur and sold trade goods. Perhaps a simple fence surrounded the buildings.
(these two photos from J. Gordon Shillingford, Publisher)
Portage La Loche HBC post at La Loche and HBC residence 1940.
Sometimes a palisade of logs would surround a compound of
many buildings. An early drawing of Ile a la Crosse forts shows this type of construction.(see drawing)
The early Mission there may also have had a high log fence surrounding its
Some of the early posts on Lac La Loche were described a being
forts. These posts probably had a palisade of logs surrounding
HBC and NWC forts at Ile a la Crosse by George Back in the winter of 1820 (Canada Archives)
George Back was a member of the second Franklin Expedition.
The records of Portage La Loche held in the HBC Archives in Winnipeg cover the years 1834 to 1932
The North West Company and The Hudson's Bay Company
The merging of the two companies in 1821 created a huge continent wide Hudson's Bay Company.
The map below shows the routes of the North West Company in black and the Hudson's Bay Company in dotted lines.