By Margot Venema
Two small white dogs happily greet me, when entering Ken Grant’s house. While his place looks tiny on the outside, it is surprisingly spacious on the inside. Here lives a man with good taste and an eye for detail. We sit down in comfortable chairs for a wonderful cup of tea with a gorgeous look on Dutch Lake.
A little bit of Clearwater history
“My grandparents moved to Clearwater in the early 1900s,” says Grant. “First, my grandfather Arthur Harby came from Scotland, soon followed by his brother Bill.” They discovered that the soil around Dutch Lake allows for excellent berry growing – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. and so they started a successful berry farm. They shipped their produce by train to Edmonton.
“My family was the first in town to have water inside the house,” he tells. “They pumped the water directly up from the ground under the place.”
Grant’s house actually used to be the family’s summer kitchen where his grandparents cooked for the crewmen who made the railway ties for the railroad so the house they lived in wouldn’t get too hot.
Grant is related to a lot of people in town among them the Grants, the Harbys, the McLennans, and the Millers.
“The Millers,” he says, “lived on the other side of the lake where now Dutch Lake Resort is.”
They had a lot of children and when they had another child they would build another room to the house. His family called it the train. The Miller family had enough children to start Raft River School but the current school is a different one than the original one.
His life mostly outside of Clearwater
Ken Grant was born in Kamloops and even though he hasn’t lived in Clearwater for most of his life, this has always been home.
He grew up in Doug Meadows and in various places on Vancouver Island as his parents moved around. They made their living fixing up houses and when finished they would move on to the next. But every year he got to visit Clearwater.
Grant has had a varied career. He started out cutting grass and newspaper delivery. He then moved into working at a service station and he was an ambulance attendant for a while.
He was asked to be the Colonel’s aide in the air force stationed out at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, for four years. He also drove a milk truck, had a flower shop, an insurance business, built and remodeled houses, a garden center, and had a New York style delicatessen store.
From 1983 – 2000 he had a bed, bath, gift, dining, kitchen store “Granderson’s” in Seaside, Oregon. He admits that he misses the people, but he does not miss the store.
He has a quilt on the wall in his living room that is made of the more than 500 neckties he had when he retired. He wasn’t going to wear them anymore so a friend made four small quilts and four full size blankets out of them, and even then had neckties left over to sell on eBay.
He admits that three times he came awfully close to marrying but he believes “the girls saw how hard he worked in his store and the hours he made and they didn’t want to have that kind of life.”
Home in Clearwater
Mr. Grant says he hopes to die in the house he lives in now because this is truly his home. In the meantime, he does what he loves doing, working in his beautifully lush flower garden and looking after his house. And if anyone ever wonders, he is the old man by the lake.