When the Rails End restaurant opened its doors in 1992, it was a welcome addition to the community. Located near Saywell Park, its uniquely designed building is situated on a prime piece of riverfront property on the Upper Pool (mouth of the Cowichan River). After a series of different owners, different menus and name changes over the years, the building sat empty for a time until the newly opened restaurant, Jake’s at the Lake, made its recent debut.
Over the past century the property that Jake’s now occupies has been home to several different buildings and businesses, residences, as well as the mooring place for float houses that clustered near the shoreline.
The first known building, built in 1913, occupied the approximate location of where Jake’s is now. Brothers Ted and Sidney Scholey purchased two riverside lots on the land on which to build a general store. (The brothers had previously operated a store near the Lakeside Hotel, which was situated a mile or two past the Riverside Inn on North Shore Road.)
By late 1913, the new Scholey’s store, set in the midst of the community, was the only supplier of just about everything necessary for the residents of the small village and outlying area. The new store carried everything from food to kerosene, tools to dry goods, clothing and buckets to fence wire and hardware as well as everything in between. With the new railway and terminus (built in 1912) just across the way (near present day Kaatza Station Museum) the location was considered to be the ideal site.
In 1919 the brothers bought a “motor truck to assist them in their business” The same year Sidney Scholey married Dorothy Jaynes “who became closely associated with the store and postal activities until Sid retired in 1950.” (Kaatza-The Chronicles of Cowichan Lake).
The brothers dissolved their partnership in 1924 after which Sid built a house and new store (selling dry goods) across the road taking the post office with him. Ted, the elder of the brothers, carried on in the old store selling groceries until he married and moved his store across the road beside his brother.
About 1936, Ted Scholey up and sold his business then moved with his family to Victoria. Brother Sid carried on until 1945 when he sold his store but kept the post office of which he was the first official postmaster.
In time, a larger post office was needed so across the road again he went, moving the post office to a space nearby. Several years later, another new post office was built further down South Shore Road. The building (between the auto parts store and the pharmacy/apartment building) now sits empty.
When Sid Scholey retired in 1950 he moved to Victoria where he died in 1972. Several of his descendants remain in Lake Cowichan.
Fast forward to present day. Almost everyday, during summer months, lots of activity takes place in the area near Saywell Park and the new restaurant (and tube rentals) not unlike the activity of yesteryear when Scholey’s Store was the busiest place in town. Although, one hundred years of change has occurred since then, there are some things that didn’t change. Mainly the constant activity that once took place at Scholey’s General Store of yesteryear and the present ongoing activity found near the new restaurant called Jake’s at the Lake.