In winter R.J. Haney Heritage Village is a perfect place to be. The road is sanded. We have a team of 8 dedicated volunteers in the archives who come in to work. Researchers come armed with questions about relatives, buildings, etc. The place is busy. It is the time when the real work behind constructing exhibits gets done. We catch up on thank you letters, write applications for funding, and relish in the quiet beauty of the park setting in winter. We talk about cross country skiing on the farmland, but it is only talk. We do what we really like doing, working with collections in the archives.
One project some of the volunteers are working on is indexing the two Revelstoke Newspapers for Salmon Arm entries. The Revelstoke Herald and Kootenay Mail are online, thanks to a digitized newspaper project at UBC.1. The newspapers are all no longer in print. The Salmon Arm references come up quickly, but have to be sorted.
The Kootenay Mail has 125 references to Salmon Arm. The Revelstoke Herald has 224 references. When those are entered into our database, one volunteer will move on to the Enderby Press and Walker’s Weekly with a combined 476 references. Then it is on to the Nicola Valley Press with its 60 Salmon Arm references. When you add all the entries up, all these newspapers paint a picture of what was happening in our community from the view of outsiders, reporting to another community. The big advantage to collecting this information is that reporting was done before the Salmon Arm Observer began printing its weekly news.
There are gems hidden in these accounts. People visited back and forth. Gossip was recorded. A doctor, A.H. Simpson who lived in Revelstoke with his wife and child, relocated to our community and built a house just outside of the Raven area. According to the Kootenay Mail, he had patients that recovered nicely. Then the Doctor he bought a fine gasoline launch – likely his transportation to town as Lakeshore Rd. wasn’t pushed through until the 1930s. When Dr. Simpson died unexpectedly in 1905, the event also made the Revelstoke news. Simpson was a relatively young man, only 37. More than a hundred years later, the date of the Doctor’s death helps identify the age of the house he had built on what locals used to call Edwardes Point, named George H. Edwardes for Mrs. Simpson’s second husband.2.
When John Dolan was having a house built in the Valley in 1908, he used an Enderby contractor J.S. Johnstone. We know the two story structure had twenty-four hundred blocks to build, which took seven weeks to cast and lay. The Dolan house still stands today.
Then there's the Rex Lingford photography studio. The archives has a few Lingford images of scenes and portraits of people taken out-of-doors that is clearly Enderby. Why? I knew he had a studio, but when? Were there better business opportunities in the bigger city to the south?
Enderby's Walker's Weekly filled in some of the blanks. Lingford opened a second studio May 22, 1911. He'd been working in Salmon Arm and occasionally making trips to Enderby. On May 18 he announced that he was occupying a studio near the bridge. He continues advertising until August 28, 1913. The wonderful thing is that our Enderby images now make sense, make sense in the Lingford collection, and, from an archival perspective, belong at the Salmon Arm Museum’s archives at R.J. Haney Heritage Village. That’s a nice feeling in itself.
So all winter long a dedicated group of volunteers will be indexing newspapers from neighbouring communities for Salmon Arm connections. The crew are making such a difference to the work we do!
Rex Lingford, Photographer
Pictured here is the prettiest sternwheeler to serve Salmon Arm was the SS Andover, built in Kamloops by Maritime ship builders Captain George Ward and his sons Elmer and Arthur in 1908. The boat was christened the SS Silver Stream but renamed the SS Andover shortly afterwards. Ward didn’t realize the name was spoken for and another vessel in the British ship registry already bore the name.
Armed with a government subsidy of $1,500, Ward remodelled his steamship for the tourist trade a year later. The state room accommodated sixteen people with meals served from a galley kitchen on board. Beginning May 26, 1909 service from Kamloops to Sicamous was thrice weekly with an overnight stop in Salmon Arm.
Salmon Arm’s wharf channel was dredged and the future looked bright for water travel. Captain Ward was confident that excursions would appeal to hundreds of tourists during the summer months. He set his prices accordingly. In 1910 the excursion rates were a dollar for adults and half price for children
Luckily, a young photographer also arrived on the scene in Salmon Arm in 1909. Rex Lingford took this photograph as the SS Andover rounded Marble Point on Shuswap Lake.
This winter volunteers in the archives room found an intriguing letter published in Revelstoke’s Kootenay Mail. The author commented on the desperate bachelors of Salmon Arm. It appeared that single ladies in the Salmon Valley were short in supply.
The shortage was first referenced in an advertisement republished in Ernie Doe’s Centennial History of Salmon Arm. On November 18, 1893 the Salmon Arm bachelors placed an ad in the Kamloops newspaper, The Inland Sentinel
“Wanted – 27 marriageable young ladies to pay a visit to the Arm. None need apply who do not want to take a rancher."
In the February 9th, 1894 edition of the same newspaper, the story continued:
Mr. F.W. McGregor, of Fairview ranch, Salmon Arm, late of the SENTINEL staff, is erecting a handsome residence. Mr. McGregor intends to take unto himself a wife. It is pleasing to know that the advertisement issued in the SENTINEL a short time back is producing such fruit. And still there’s more to follow…."
The same issue in the Salmon Arm Notes section announced:
"Mr. Fred McGregor has finished his house. On Friday last he organised a bee and raised the building. A bee in this valley is not accompanied with whiskey, but repartee and wit are never lacking."
When I checked the BC Archives and Records Service Genealogy webpage I found bachelor Frederick W. McGregor, 27 years old, married spinster Elizabeth Savage, 25, in Kamloops on February 6th, days before the Sentinel went to press.
It turned out that the Sentinel editors were wrong. The advertisement wasn’t a resounding success. The valley was still short of single women. On February 6th, 1895, Annie Gordon wrote her sister Jessie McQueen in Nova Scotia:
"The Valley has gone mad over dancing. There are dances at McGuire's, Dolan's, and Bolton's every few days. The last one at Dolan's, Jack Savage dressed up in one of my old dresses, coat, hat and veil, went over and fooled the crowd. Tom Noble in particular, Tom was edging up to him at a great rate, under the impression [Jack] was a girl, and was overwhelmed when the truth came out. I hear that Tom hasn't showed out since, for everyone is laying for him.”
Then Salmon Arm bachelors took matters into their own hands once again and wrote the Montreal Star hoping to appeal to a wider audience. I haven’t been able to find the reference, but a rebuttal was published in Revelstoke’s Kootenay Mail on April 4, 1896. It was called “A Bachelor’s Lament”.
“Some time ago there was a reference in these columns to the ‘unfortunate’ condition of the bachelors in the neighborhood of Salmon Arm who, in their desperation, had written a Montreal newspaper with a view of attracting the attention of eastern girl[s] to their forlorn condition in the hope that the interest thus awakened would result in inducing [them] to become the partner of their earthly joys and sorrow.
But the matter is not to rest here, [the editor wrote] the latest contribution is from ‘A British Columbia Girl.’ She writes to the Montreal Star ‘to disabuse the impression likely to be made of letters from British Columbia farmers that there are no girls in this province.
She says: ‘I could tell a B.C. Farmer of at least a dozen girls with whom I am acquainted, who would make excellent wives for B.C. farmers, or any other men – girls who are true and pure and good: and I have no doubt there are many more in this province.
Our girls may be more independent, and not as inclined to settle down as their sisters in the East, but if the B.C. farmer is as worthy as most B.C. girls I know, I can certainly advise a Nova Scotia Farmer’s Daughter to come out here and make a home for some poor, desolate bachelor. I do not know any farmers here, so I had no idea that the poor fellows [existed] under anything but pleasant circumstances until their letters [came] forward to prove the contrary. A Bachelor’s Lament is pathetic enough to make one’s heart ache over the woes it so touchingly [describes]. I never realized before that single blessedness may not always be perfectly satisfactory. I offer a B.C. Farmer my deep sympathy, and, while wishing him every success in his efforts to win some nice Eastern girl to share his lot, would remind him that the B.C. girls are as competent to manage a home, and as worthy of honor as any that can be found anywhere in the world.
Even with the objections noted by the B.C. Girl, it appears the bachelors' advertisement wasn’t entirely successful, evidenced by the marriage and birth rates in the valley. 1890 saw no recorded births. In 1891, the Harris family had a set of twins. In 1894, four births were recorded and by 1900 the annual birth rate increased to six.Salmon Arm’s first recorded marriages took place over the winter of 1899. Joseph Robe and Anna Myers were married in November and Henry Scaddan and Annie Erskine wed in December. According to the B.C. Archives and Records service, neither couple had children. Perhaps more strategic advertising was in order.
 Inland Sentinel, February 9, 1894.
 Letters from Annie Gordon to Jessie McQueen, 6 February 1895, Salmon Arm
Susan Mackie, photographer
The Heritage Week Pie Auction at the Mall at Piccadilly is a major fundraiser for the R.J. Haney Heritage Village. This year was a record breaker. Seventeen pies generated over $23,000.
The auction pies were in a category all their own, the "Best of the Shuswap". All entries were made by winners from past years' contests and each pie promised to be melt-in-your-mouth good.
For the last four years I’ve had the pleasure of being the “Vanna White” of Haney Heritage Village. I parade the pies on a stage wearing my 1911 reproduction costume that includes two petticoats, one pair of bloomers, and a camisole as the foundation garments. It was made from scratch, just like the pies we auction.
Jerry Seppala was the auctioneer and his patter was rhythmic and ensured we got the best price for each pie. This year he outdid himself.
General Manager Susan Mackie got busy a month before soliciting pies from past winners. She organized the week, along with everything that had the potential to make money. She also dressed in period clothes as part of the celebration. There were a few of us. We wore muted colours, big hats, and boots that should be outlawed.
Business owner, and friend to Haney, Bill Laird helped line up bidders from his contacts in the business community. He checked his list of usual suspects and made the calls. Bill didn’t beat around the bush. He gave them the date of the auction, told them to show up, and advised the newbies on his list quite bluntly to bring their cheque books and be prepared to spend $2,000.
Bill knew from experience that he had to brief his candidates. In 2013, BDO’s John White showed up and was surprised. He was from the city, new to the community, and didn’t realize what league this contest was in. This year John came prepared. He also brought his business partner, Jeff Johnson.
The bidding started off friendly and, from the stage, I saw the group’s dynamics unfold. Bobbi Johnson set the tone. She has been known to outbid her grandson, son, and husband. Other husbands began to bid against their wives. Business partners bid against each other. It was unscripted entertainment that felt natural and caused a lot of laughter.
The laughs always seem to come with the event. In 2011 yours truly was tilting a homemade berry pie. It was made with handpicked wild blackberries from northern Ontario. The pie baker, Irene Campbell, was the announcer. She’d had a tea house on the North Shore of Shuswap Lake and had won the pie baking contest several years running.
Irene handed her pie to me so she could talk about it. She promised it would be delicious. Her pies were tender and made from the highest quality ingredients.
As the auction began I tilted the pie slightly for bidders to get a good look at the lattice work on the upper crust. As I did, the pie moved in its dish. I stopped breathing. I realized there were no juices on the bottom crust to hold it in place. Within milliseconds, the pie slid halfway out of the plate. I leveled the pan. Then the unheard of happened. The pie was so tender it broke in half and a mess of berries, sugar, and baked pie crust hit the floor. I was horrified.
Jerry, the auctioneer, put aside his mike and asked me, “What do we do now?”
I smiled as Susan laughed from the audience. “Sell the other half,” I said.
Partway through the bidding, realtor Jim Grieve stopped the bidding when he walked over and asked if he could look at the pie. He peered at the half pie and asked for a taste. Someone called out from the audience that the pie on the floor hadn’t been there for ten seconds – implying it was safe to eat.
Jerry continued with his lyrical way of extracting money. He managed to close the bid at $750 for half a pie! The pie still in its plate, that is.
Lynda Stepura, photographer
Thanks to Mall at Piccadilly's Marketing Director Lynda Stepura for her photographs of Susan and Irene at the pie table and Irene handing me the pie.
When my grandchildren took me through the cat museum they had built in their basement, I was intrigued. Two seven year old curators exploring a creative process that imitated something I’d been doing for twenty-four years. I asked pointed questions.
“Yes,” Morgan replied.
When I looked for the labels, I soon realized that the exhibit wasn’t about cats—it was a facility for cat patrons.
I also realized how much the language of engagement has evolved since I created my first exhibit at R.J. Haney Heritage Village in 1990. The girls’ enthusiasm reminded me of the excitement I felt when my exhibit opened last spring. The two smiled widely. I could see their sense of achievement.
The sisters had fashioned a gathering place for cats. It was simply several contiguous rooms made from a variety of recycled cardboard boxes with entrances and exits to accommodate their pets, Cleo and Rolly.
“Is it an art museum?” I asked, noting the cat statue outside the building.
“Yes,” was the chimed response.
It wasn’t obvious to this homo sapien viewer. I was glad that I got that one right.
“Who came up with the idea?” I asked the twins.
“Jasmine did,” said Morgan.
“No you did Morgan,” said Jasmine, pointing out that no one really could claim sole inspiration for the project. My curators were a team.
Right away I noticed that the exhibition rooms were dark. How were Cleo and Rolly going to be encouraged to enter? Lighting was essential to the invitation to engage. Aha! They had cat vision to rely on!
I wondered about the storyline. What was the message? Was the exhibit a reflection of a time and place? And would Cleo and Rolly be changed when they wandered through the space?
“Is this a permanent exhibit?” I enquired.
“Yes,” the girls responded. Obviously there was a significant investment of time and expertise. Permanent, in museum language, is ten years.
I asked the young curators whether or not this museum would be open to the public, as in to the neighbourhood cats.
“No!” was the emphatic response. “Daddy doesn’t let us have other cats in the house.”
So these young curators had a board to report to!
I asked if there was potential for the exhibit to travel, to increase cat awareness by taking the exhibit on the road. The two girls looked doubtful, as if they hadn’t thought about the concept of increasing access and the dissemination of knowledge. Then I asked the girls if they’d thought about the display as a temporary travelling exhibit to take to different parts of the house. Jasmine and Morgan were quick to point out that their creation was a delicate structure that wasn’t built to endure relocation.
“Mommy says it has to stay downstairs. She doesn’t want it upstairs. She’s glad we made it but she doesn’t want it in the living room,” said Morgan.
Jasmine added, “It isn’t in one piece, so it isn’t really solid, and it can’t travel to other cat owners’ houses."
Wrapping up I asked if the project was a valuable experience. Who valued it? Most importantly, was the installation part of a larger organization’s activity and, if so, did it reflect the society’s mandate and vision? I strongly suspected that this museum exhibit was a private venture, pleasing only to its design team.
It was apparent that the girls didn’t have the language skills to consult Cleo and Rolly during the design process. My curators paid attention to their pets’ physical needs—like a BC Building Code for handicapped felines. Other details emerged. There was no admission charged. Unfortunately, there was no survey. Cleo and Rolly were not asked to take part in a critical review of visitor experience.
“We don’t know if the cats like it,” said Morgan honestly, but she was obviously unconcerned.
“We made pretend cat history,” added Jasmine, thinking that her statement substituted for an endorsement of an authentic experience.
Indeed, to seven year olds, making up the story was just fine.
Link to Video
Thanks to Heather McDonald and her energetic grade split six/seven class at Shuswap Middle School new museum program called Haney Stewards was launched.
Twenty-five students walked from Shuswap Middle School on a drizzling Thursday morning to learn a new skill. Teacher Heather McDonald said she was "stoked" about the partnership and day planned. Her class was going to make a significant environmental contribution to their community.
Rys Middleton, Justin Allbury, and Dan Deglan
The idea for the new program was hatched while attending a stewardship workshop in March. Dave Ramsay was the key note speaker and talked about an environmental class that he had designed at the Senior High. I approached Dave for some help from his students. We needed to repair a riparian zone at the Village. Dave had to decline. His class was a one semester offering and only ran from September to January.
Department of Oceans and Fisheries Community Advisory, Fred Lockwood, gave me some other leads. Heather McDonald at the Middle School was quick to agree to help. She said the timing was perfect. It was Environment Week at the school. Heather's class knew all about healthy streams, had an incubating fish tank in the class, and were raising fry for the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre. Students would soon be travelling to the Centre to release their fish, having participated in its egg take at the Centre in October, and had just dissected a fish the week before.
Supplies and volunteers were organized by Museum Treasurer Gary Cruikshank. Ole and Heather Oldenkamp donated the tree planting shovels while Skimikin Nurseries President James Kusisto donated 385 eighteen-month-old seedlings.
After their walk to the site the class was introduced to the initial project: planting regional species of vegetation in a riparian zone. Gary explained that the aim of the project was to replace 360 square metres of plants within 15 metres of Canoe Creek
The zone was damaged. Why? In 2011 a "bridge" was installed across Canoe Creek. It was made of wire and rock – usually used as a retainer in forestry road building. It blended into the landscape and gave the volunteers, staff, and visitors access to the lower pasture at the Village without going out to the highway. Since fish spawn in Canoe Creek, Biologists at the Department of Oceans and Fisheries had to be involved. They issued instructions to ensure that Canoe Creek stayed healthy. Plantings had to be replaced.
Initially willow, alder and maple trees were planted in 2012 and 2013. Gary suggested we plant a few conifers this year. The students received a short lesson on tree planting from Haney Village’s Gardener Norm, a seasoned tree planter, and seedlings were planted along the creek.
Gary knew that there were more areas to plant above the Village and took advantage of the eager workers. He had the class move uphill to the deer fence bordering the Salmon Arm Campground's neighbouring property. A recent development at the Campground had changed the look and feel of the nature trail near the Village's Amphitheatre. Gary wanted to plant trees near the fence to create a buffer between the subdivision's future houses and the theatre’s green space.
The rain was light that day, which was ideal for planting the young trees. Sheltered by the existing 80 to 100 year-old trees, the students worked hard to plant as much Larch as possible. The choice of tree for the upper trail made sense. Larch trees were a dominant species a century ago and the Haney property is located at "Larch Hill Corner.” Within a short time the students planted 250 trees. Those that were still frozen from their winter storage at the nursery were planted two days later by another crew of volunteers.
Next year Heather promises to bring back a whole new set of volunteers to help with the buffering project and this year's students have promised to come back and watch their trees grow. Thank you Haney Stewards!
Will any of these kids use the skills acquired at Haney Heritage Village and become high rollers in the tree planting world? Some of the students were considered the possibility while planting their trees. Of course this point no one knows for certain, but in the meantime over two hundred seedlings were planted.
Hip Hip Hooray to R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum's volunteers and staff:
Salmon Arm Museum Treasurer Gary Cruikshank, volunteer Ted Mackay, and R.J. Haney Heritage Village Gardener Norm Klassen.
May was an eventful month at R.J. Haney Heritage Village. Construction staff worked on the exhibit Fish on the Run while other staff cleaned and set up displays in buildings for opening day May 14th. The gardener started working his magic, Ted and Mary McTaggart cut the grass several times, a new cook was hired, and we unlocked the gate. All the activities were regular, cyclical patterns of behaviour.
What was exceptional was a new artefact earmarked for the A.D. Meek Filling Station. A generous donor stepped forward to help the Museum Association purchase a 1919 Model T touring automobile. From this curator’s perspective, the auto can’t be described in clinical cataloguing language. The new-to-us Ford convertible is cute as a button and her non-lacquered finish is just the way it should be.
Luckily the decision and negotiations weren’t left to the curatorial staff at Haney. Spearheaded by Brian Keith, Ron Mitchell, Gary Taylor, and Jerry Foskett assisted with the transaction. The committee of special members of the Shuswap Chapter of the Vintage Car Club took care of the mechanical inspection, purchase, and delivery of the vehicle. The group was essential. The car arrived polished and ready for photo opportunities. She’s a perfect addition to the street and visitors are welcome to have their pictures taken behind the wheel.
About a week later, several members of the Car Club delivered a restored gas pump to complete the Lester and Thomson Garage facade. Thanks to NBR, a bright and shiny new paint job advertises the Shell Station. Jerry Foskett told me that the pump was valued at $12,000 because of its rare glass cylinder. The Car Club kindly purchased a globe for the pump valued at $500. It weighed in at 800 pounds and was too heavy to lift, so the City of Salmon provided the use of its crane truck and operator Bruce Reynolds donated his time to deliver the pump. According to Car Club and Museum Board member Rosemary Wilson, “the pump is a great asset to the Village.”
The next major event was the Salmon Arm Museum’s Annual General Meeting. Doug Adams retired after over twenty years in the presidential chair. We spared no expense and threw him a party he won’t easily forget. Willie Nelson and his band made a special appearance. Willie’s sister, Bobbie, treated the gathering to her vocals, blending her harmonies to “All the things Doug did before.” Doug said that, with the right marketing, the rendition was sure to be a hit.
We welcomed a new board headed by familiar face Norma Harisch, granddaughter of homesteading pioneer Ed Peterson. Norma only agreed to take on the position if Doug promised to remain in the background as Past President offering his financial experience and training as needed.
Special guest Louis Thomas closed the meeting with a piece written on the contact history of the Secwepmec people. I’ve been convinced that Louis has as yet unrealized potential as a speaker, for oral history, and for cultural advice. His piece was a gift: informative, moving and much appreciated by the museum membership. I see great things ahead as Louis continues the work his mother, Mary, began, bridging the gap between our peoples. Louis promised to stay involved with the curatorial staff for a long, long time.
High Tea was the next event and kicked off the official season. Professional musician Peter Clark performed, the Shuswap School of Ballet entertained, and author Gord Allan's reading had all of us in suspense. Educator and actress Christine Pilgrim did a wonderful job of involving and entertaining her audience with the Lancashire poem Albert and the Lion. The food was a tribute to the skills of our new cook, staff and volunteers.
How will we top next month? A building is scheduled to move, we’ll host a Father’s Day event and a Quilt Show, an exhibit will open, and, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education and the teachers of region, the Pioneer School program will bring R.J. Haney Heritage Village to life. We have much to be grateful for.
Model T and gas pump images courtesy Jerry Foskett
AGM photos courtesy of the talented Leah Blain, Lakeshore News.
An historic cultural event took place in Salmon Arm last month coinciding with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The timing was the nationally acclaimed Aboriginal Day. The event was the raising of the Secwepemc territorial flag at Salmon Arm's City Hall. It was marked by singing, drumming, and speeches. Representatives from the four area Secwepemc bands, Neskonlith, Little Shuswap, Adams Lake, and Splatsin were all in attendance to celebrate along with the representatives from the Metis Association, the Mayor and Council and us, the people who wanted to mark the occasion.
According to Mayor Nancy Cooper, the only other First Nations flag to fly on city hall grounds in Canada is in Regina. A little research indicates the First Nations flag outside Regina City Hall is the Treaty 4 flag, representing the First Nations of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Salmon Arm's flag raising is different. It represents the Secwepemc Nation which is, to date, without treaty.
Although rain threatened earlier, the sun broke as organizer Gina Johnny, a councillor at the Adams Lake Band, spoke. She introduced the elder who began the event with a prayer. The crowd stilled.
Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band spoke eloquently about the meaning of the flag. She told us that it represented all the Secwepemc bands, living and extinct. Seventeen feathers represented the bands we know today, vibrant with people, government, and a pride in culture. The thirteen ghost bands were also acknowledged in parts of the feathers that were silhouettes.
Wilson said the event was more than recognition of Secwepemc language and culture. "The biggest aspect is recognizing our people have a history here, our own government systems, laws and protocols and they have remained intact."
The event was personal for many. When it was her turn to speak, Mayor Nancy Cooper beamed, telling a personal story. Cooper's great-grandmother was from Quebec and First Nations. She told of a time in her family history when the newlywed was neither acknowledged nor treated well by her in-laws. "This one is for you great-grandmother," Cooper said.
Ronnie Jules, Joseph Johnny and Shane Camille sang a prayer as the flag was raised. The wind picked up. The Secwepemc flag along with the Canadian, B.C., and municipal flags began to flap in the breeze. All were flying in the same direction. All government representatives were told it was symbolic of working together.
I turned to a lady from Telegraph Creek who didn't know a soul in the crowd. As we got to talking about the significance of the ceremony we agreed. This was an occasion to remember.
When Sarah Burrell met instant death May 23rd, 1949, it made the front page of the Salmon Arm Observer. She was on a brief grocery shopping trip to the south side of the tracks when she was tragically struck by a locomotive. She had been a resident of Salmon Arm since 1905.
Sarah Burrell was a woman to be reckoned with according to an article by descendant Ada Grier published in the Vancouver Sun. Sarah was a determined woman. Born Sarah Grier to parents Matthew and Sarah, she spent most of her early years in Ontario learning how to run a household. When the Railway Belt was opened for settlement, Matthew Grier moved his family to Manitoba. Sarah wanted more education than her father thought appropriate. According to family lore, when she expressed her dream of becoming a teacher, Matthew went out and bought bolts of cloth. Bringing the fabric home, he told Sarah, “The family needs clothing, NOW you have something to do!”
Teaching wasn’t in the cards. Sarah met and married Charles Burrell in 1898. The couple settled at Langside, Manitoba. When land was being advertised in British Columbia, Charles, a pregnant Sarah, and their four children boarded the train for Salmon Arm. They took a homestead in South Canoe and Charles built a house. Disaster struck and the house burned to the ground when Charles was burning slash nearby. A second, smaller house was built soon after. Then Charles and his brother brushed trail for three quarters of a mile so the now five children could get to school. Sarah was the only woman around for miles.
Sarah and the children met the conditions of the homestead while Charles worked away as a bookkeeper at a sawmill. He only came home on weekends. Sarah was clever; she couldn’t clear the land on her own so she hired and supervised a group of Eurasians to clear the brush. When the conditions were met for the grant, the deed was made out to Charles Burrell. A wise man, Charles turned half of the property over to Sarah, who “traded [it] for a house in the town of Salmon Arm and that was the end of homesteading. Sarah maintained, ‘I don’t like living so close to the edge!’”
To make life easy for the children, the family moved into a house on Third Avenue (now Third St. SE) described as in the “toffee part of town” and very close to Salmon Arm Central School. Summers were spent camping on Shuswap Lake. Winters were spent at house parties, dance competitions, sleighing parties, and voice lessons. Sarah became involved with the Women’s Institute, serving as president and “… remained opinionated and sharp to the end,” writes Ada Grier.
At some point Sarah and Charles moved again to Railway Avenue (likely Beatty Ave. NW). She was 83 when she was hit by a westbound C.P.R. freight train while walking across the tracks near the Salmon Arm Farmers’ Exchange plant. She was hard of hearing and carrying a number of parcels.
“[S]he evidently failed to hear or see the approaching train.” Ted Gorse, Louis Rolin, and A. J. Reading saw the accident. Reading shouted to warn Sarah, but she didn’t hear him or the approaching train. The train’s fireman, Daniel E. Johnson, shouted at the engineer to “PLUG IT!” The emergency brakes were applied immediately and the train stopped but Robert Law, the engineer, was not fast enough.
“Provincial police were notified and Constable H.O. Jamieson and Nelson Hindle responded. Mrs. Burrell was dead when the officer arrived, the Salmon Arm Observer reported. [Thomas] Bowers Funeral Service was entrusted with the care of the remains.
Today the tracks around the yard are protected from jay walkers. After the death of another hard of hearing resident, Carl Shoemaker, in 2010, chain link fencing was installed to protect the public. Carl, like Sarah, was also remembered for his indomitable spirit.
The Canadian Pacific Railroad has two railroad crossings in downtown Salmon Arm. One is located at Narcisse St. NW and the second at Marine Park Drive NW or Wharf Rd. I wonder if Sarah Burrell and Carl Shoemaker would have had an opinion on the safety measures implemented by C.P.R.?
An Immigrant Journey: the Grier Family from a series on Celebrating our Diversity
The Vancouver Sun, Thursday, March 27, 2008.
Photo: The Burrell family circa 1907. Denis Marshall collection, Salmon Arm Museum
Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association frequently interacts with two other local groups which share a strong interest in the history of our region. These are the Heritage Committee of the Salmon Arm City Council, and the Salmon Arm Branch of the Okanagan Historical Society. These three groups have worked to support one another on fund-raising and special events such as research projects, rolling shelving for the Archives Room, the erection of signs displaying heritage street names, the establishment of a register of historically significant local buildings and features, recording interviews with local residents, and putting on the popular “Tea and Tours” of heritage buildings.
The OHS has seven semi-autonomous branches in communities from Osoyoos to Salmon Arm, and is overseen by the “parent body” at the direction of its Executive Council, where representatives of all the individual branches make decisions which apply to all.
The objectives of the society are :
Since September 10, 1926 (except for the war years) the OHS has published an annual Report, a book-length collection of stories and histories of the region's personalities, institutions, and events. Every report contains articles from each branch, and the 78th Report will be available in October of 2014. It will include a history of the Art Gallery/Arts council building (formerly the Post Office, then the Salmon Arm branch of the Okanagan Regional Library); articles about the late Edith Wright, Phil Cave, Ronnie Turner, Don Rogers, and Yvonne Arnouse, and obituary notices of several other notable citizens. A photo of Ronnie Turner will be featured on the cover. When the new Report comes out each fall, the S.A. Branch holds book sales in the mall where we sell it, and other recent Reports or books of local history. In addition, the new and recent Reports are available for sale in local bookstores or at meetings or special events of the local branch.
This year the Salmon Arm Branch is celebrating its 25th anniversary. My continuing role in the local branch is as Branch Editor. My responsibilities involve obtaining, editing and submitting locally relevant articles for the Report. The Branch Editors' Committee meets two or three times a year with the (chief) Editor to discuss issues and exchange information relevant to the publication of the Report.
Collecting and/or soliciting submissions includes interacting with authors to write the pieces, collecting pictures relating to the submissions, obtaining signed permissions from the writers and subjects to use their information or photos, obtaining short biographies of authors, and ensuring that all are correctly credited. The Archives and staff at the Museum have been invaluable in striving for accuracy and informative details in our articles.
Once all the materials are received, I will edit them as needed for accuracy, length, grammar, spelling or usage, making sure to keep the author's “voice” authentic in each piece. I am also responsible to return all hard copies of photos or information to their owners. Once I have made sure that they conform to the required format chosen by the O.H.S. Editor, I must submit articles and pictures on disc or by e-mail to the Editor by the deadline established. It is the O.H.S. Editor's decision which of the submitted materials will be accepted for publication, and where in the Report each will appear.
Another role I fulfill for the O.H.S. is to coordinate their annual Student Essay Contest. This is open to any post-secondary student and awards a prize of $1000.00 to the winner. In addition, the winning essay is published in the next edition of the O.H.S. Report. Further details about the Essay Contest can be found on the website at www.okanaganhistoricalsociety.org.
I welcome suggestions for articles of local geographical, archaeological, or historical interest to submit for publication. I can be contacted at 250-832-8547 or at email@example.com.
The Salmon Arm Branch is always open to anyone interested in local history – you need not be a longtime resident or specially educated to take part. We meet monthly from September to June. Our meetings and special events are publicized in the local papers, or you can contact Rosemary Wilson at 250 835-4359 for more information.
Colour image of Ronnie Turner: Askew's Foods
Black and white image of Phil Cave: Salmon Arm Observer collection, Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association
The Salmon Arm Museum has had some great news this month. A few months ago Museum staff members took part in the Shuswap Community Foundation’s Vital Signs project, a checkup conducted by community foundations across Canada. The results are in.
The project attempted to measure the vitality of our Shuswap communities in key areas, providing critical information that can help set priorities and identify opportunities for action.
Participating, the project felt like a fact finding mission, it set out to gauge the health of our region by pulling together statistics, questionnaires, and data that are used to grade eight areas:
Good news for arts and culture. Those who took the time to fill out a survey graded arts and culture with an A. In other words: “Awesome! Our community is doing great!” The other identified areas didn’t do as well.
Belonging and Leadership, Health and Wellness, Learning, and Safety earned B. Environment earned a C+. Housing and Work a C, and Gap between rich and poor and Getting Around earned a C-
Survey responses 69 % female, 51% between 30-59 years old, 44% were 60 or older, and 69% had no dependent children. They came from the Shuswap: 186 lived in Salmon Arm, 10 were from Sicamous, and 92 lived in Areas C, D, E, and F in the CSRD. It sounds like a relatively small sample and the report shows there’s much work to be done.
The challenge will be for community groups like the Shuswap Community Foundation to look at areas that need work and the Foundation’s granting resources. I know there’ll be a raised awareness at the granting table. Charities that have projects that raise quality of community life will be getting more attention. It seems likely that funding will be weighted for the good of the community. This is all positive when it comes to raising standards.
Click here to find the whole report on the Shuswap Community Foundation’s website.
The RJ Haney Heritage Village has closed for the season. Haney House is winterized. The last main event of the season is over. 1,200 spooks have gone home and we're waiting for winter. Old timers say there'll be snow in town just six weeks after the dusting of snow on Fly Hills. Early December, if they are right.
But things are far from quiet at the village. The Museum is still open and Rosemary, Lise, Gloria, Janice, Anne, Pat, Carol, and Doreen faithfully come to work on museum and archival projects, collectively donating 1,393.5 hours a year.
Gloria is indexing the 1951 Observer. She says, "It is interesting but I think I read too much." In the process she's learning lots about post war Salmon Arm.
Rosemary does whatever is asked of her, but has a pet project, the tax records for the District of Salmon Arm. She is also the official tracker of Museum Board motions and Revenue Canada Receipts. She likes working in Excel, but is flexible enough to tackle other programs. Rosemary is also the go to person for the history of Tappen. When I ask her why she 'works' up to three days a week, she says, "I'd rather do this than other things." Rosemary is committed.
Doreen has been working on the professional photographs, slides, and negatives of Don Grabowecki. Don was trained at the Emily Carr School of Art and Design in Vancouver when it was known as the Vancouver School of Art, and Don's records of Salmon Arm events and landscape dates back to the 1960s. In a few years we hope to have a show of Don's work.
Lise works away on other photographs, applying key terms to the previously catalogued images, making them more accessible to the public. A retired teacher librarian, Lise is perfect for the job. She also works 3 days a week when her vacations don't conflict. Lise's other passion is travelling.
So far Lise has worked on 8,800 images, but the collection, by definition, continues to grow. She laughs when more work is piled on her desk, promising to work at the task for another six years. Maybe then we'll be caught up, but then the digital collections will start to take over…
Janice is working away on the headstones in the Mt. Ida Cemetery. Her resource is used by researchers who email questions about who is 'planted' in the old section of the cemetery. Janice's project is closely related to Mark's, a SASS student who has volunteered to create a database complete with photos of headstones. Mark is new to the team and works at home remotely. Eventually death certificates for the interred will by hyperlinked to the BC Archives and Records Services genealogy website.
Anne and Pat shouldn't be left out. They are our material culture girls. Anne faithfully catalogues all the artefacts, assigning them object names and classification terms. Anne's love of old things makes her a perfect fit to collections management tasks. She's also fussy.
"Why do you want this?" She asks when an incoming collection has something odd in it.
Her questions raise the bar and mean we have a careful and sustainable growth to the artefact collection. Nothing broken, incomplete, or duplicated gets catalogued.
Pat is a relative newcomer. She's completely flexible, works on collections, correspondence, exhibits, and archives. Recently she helped sort artefacts for storage in our new container. Over the winter she'll sew new garment bags for the clothing collection. She's very versatile but prefers working physically. Closing up Haney House for the winter was just Pat's English 'cup of tea.'
Carol is a specialist and new this year. She's a keen operator and has learned how to preserve images digitally using a PC rather than her preferred MAC computer. With apparent ease, Carol has been working on the black and white negatives from the 1980s that have never been viewable.
The ladies work year round, taking only a couple of weeks off over the Christmas holiday. If you ask anyone what part of the day they like the best, there's only one answer. "Lunch," they say in unison, a time to catch up on things that have happened in their lives that week. All are looking forward to the Christmas Archives 'Staff' party. They say they don't get enough time to socialize at work. I couldn't be a luckier curator!
The Di-Versity Heritage Quilt Group has a long standing relationship with R.J.Haney Heritage Village. The Group was established 10 years ago and has hosted two quilt shows at the Village. The shows are called Pieces of History Re-stitched and are a beautiful use of the spaces we have at the Village. The quilts and other needlework look like they belong.
Quilt shows are a particular passion of mine. It is a family affair. My husband also looks forward to them and insists we attend together. He is always in awe of the needlework and artistry displayed and I know others are too. I've seen local surgeons among the visitors confirming my opinion. They obviously appreciate fine needlework.
When hosting a quilt show, the Di-Versity Heritage Quilt Group does a fund raiser. This year the group raffled a quilt. The quilt was a club affair. Pat Olmstead purchased the materials and pieced the quilt top. Vicki Reierson did the custom machine quilting. Each member sold at least two books of tickets. Blanche Hartnett organized the sale of tickets and sat many, many times at the local malls and at functions at the Village.
The winning ticket was drawn at the Village June 21st. Of course I bought a few tickets, but unfortunately wasn't a winner. Lucky Emily Valintini took home the prize. When all is said and done though, the Curatorial Department was the real winner. The Di-Verstiy Heritage Quilt Group earmarked its $1,200 in proceeds for museum textile storage.
Almost coincidentally, the staff and volunteers that work with collections began working on textiles in the basement of the Salmon Arm Museum in 2014. An inventory was done to reconcile the museum's database with the collection. Like items were sorted into boxes. Volunteer Pat Turner repaired some of the doilies and textiles that needed a quick stitch or two adhering to the principle of not doing any repair work that couldn't be undone. Rosemary Wilson typed Pat's compiled lists and they were put on boxes.
Unfortunately there wasn't money in the 2014 budget to purchase museum quality boxes for the collection. We scrounged where we could and had to resort to reusing cardboard boxes from the liquor store and Salmon Arm Stationery. When the heritage group donated the funds, staff and volunteers were asked to think about where best to use the gift this year.
This month we will order the needed storage boxes from archival and museum supplier Carr McLean. By ordering in quantity we get a better deal. Over the winter we'll transfer the inventoried textiles into proper museum storage containers.
Thank you Di-Versity Heritage Quilt Group! Your gift is helping to preserve a collection for future generations.
The turning of the calendar is an opportunity to reflect on a year, assess the accomplishments in the department shared by the collections management team, and create a plan for the things to do in the coming year. Many of the volunteers in the department dream of more space. I tell them it is okay to dream but we are lucky to have the space we have. The Salmon Arm Museum was fortunate to receive funding for an expansion in 2010. The archives room is climate controlled, well and appropriately lit, and a cheerful place to work.
The volunteers are quick to answer in unison, “BUT the collection is growing!”
We’ve worked hard this year to process one third of Denis Marshall’s collection of wonderful documents and photographs. With many tasks presented to her, our summer student, Janelle, also worked hard on Marshall’s subject files, doubling the museum’s existing collection of information files.
We mounted a new exhibit in the museum, created a new exhibit on the territory of the Secwepemc, the First Nations in our area, took exhibits to the Fall Fair and City Hall, and created a new exhibit on the Peterson family, the most recent recipients of the Century Farm Award.
So what do my volunteers think should be the resolutions for our operation in 2013?
I agree, their resolutions worth striving for.
Rosemary Blair sat on the Salmon Arm Museum's Board of Directors for many years and was a very active volunteer. She came from pioneer stock and was keenly interested in preserving the local history. She was connected to the community, was raised on the WX Ranch, and had stories of growing up here. She was very valuable to me, like gold.
Rosemary would come to museum board meetings when they didn't interfere with her passion, which was bridge. At some point I started reading the bridge column in the Salmon Arm Observer and noticed her consistent wins. I used to congratulate her on her skill and tease her that she wasn't likely going to develop Alzheimer's because she had such an active internal life. She never did.
Some time ago I asked Rosemary if she'd consider volunteering in the archives room. She said she didn't think she was much of a typist, but I told her speed wasn't a requirement. She just needed to be accurate.
She started transcribing the diaries of Alec Dennys, a young 18 year old boy who chronicled his trip to Salmon Arm over the Atlantic in the wake of the Titanic. I think Dennys' diaries hooked Rosemary.
She'd show up on Thursdays, always in the morning, before lunch. She settled in and took on the job. She had a computer at home and quickly, with a little instruction, figured out how to do the data entry. Then we broke for lunch, which she bought if the tea room was open. If lunch wasn't available at the Village, she'd stop at Tim's on her way to "work" and bring a bag lunch from there. I think she was avoiding packing a lunch from home. She'd likely done that all her working career as a nurse. The break was something that all the volunteers liked best about the day. There was, and still is, conversation and laughter.
Back at work and after a couple of hours, Rosemary would head home again. She was stiff when she got up. She was bothered by sitting for too long, but she never complained.
It didn't take Rosemary long to become part of the crew in the archives room. I sat at my desk at one end of the long archives room and noticed they'd chat amongst themselves during the work day, helping each other out with archival problems, and sharing bits of information from their personal lives, about their kids and grand kids, and talking about their trips. They all felt entitled to vacations from me, Rosemary included. We soon figured that Rosemary especially liked to travel and we all knew when an adventure was being planned.
Then I needed some interviews transcribed. They were done in the 1980s and I needed to be able to call up information found in those conversations with old timers. When that was completed, Rosemary moved on to another project.
In the last three years, Rosemary transcribed several years of Denis Marshall's index of the Salmon Arm Observer. She indexed all the business ads for the paper and started on to the local news, one year at a time. When she was entering the data, she'd find a Wilcox relative mentioned or comment on an occasion that was reported in the paper. She found connections in the work she was doing and added depth to the stories behind the news.
One of her stories I use on my cemetery tour is about when her grandfather was killed on the tracks, rushing to help a neighbour whose house was on fire. WJ Wilcox's widow was asked to identify the body. There was only one mark on it. That detail wasn't reported in the paper.
Another story she told me was about when immigrant labourers were brought from India to help with the farm work. The hired hands had their photograph taken by Rex Lingford in front of the Enderby bridge in three piece business suits and wearing turbans. I used to wonder what the devil they were doing in Enderby. It turned out Rex, a relative of Rosemary's, had a second studio there.
Rosemary told me that the WX Ranch had a building for the hired men to live in. I learned the workers were from different castes. They couldn't eat together, but they ordered food cooperatively. They loved Limburger cheese and it had to be divided evenly on the scales at the farm. When the migrant workers left that year, the house was turned into a chicken coop. The chickens refused to use their new digs until the interior was painted. They were sensitive to the overpowering smell of the cheese! With her story, Rosemary made the history human.
I'm not sure who found her birth announcement in the Observer, because we have three women working on this project, but all of a sudden everyone knew how old she was and that caused tongues to wag in the archives room!
All the while giving her time, Rosemary was also generous with her retirement funds, donating money to projects at the museum and archives where she saw a need. Last year she gave us $1,000 towards acid free boxes to store the Salmon Arm Observer photographs and negatives. Rosemary's only comment was full of grace. She said that her husband, Bruce, told her before he died, that she could afford to do this sort of thing.
Thank you Romey for your gifts. We will all miss you.
Photo credit: Denis Marshall, Sawdust Caesars
My friend Phillip Cave departed this March 4th with his family at his side. He probably left with a quiet style, as was his habit. He was at peace.
Phil was born, grew up and educated in Salmon Arm. He ran his own mill on Martin Road. He married Eileen Thielman of Grandview Bench and they had four girls. Phil was quiet about his family life, though admitted all of his offspring were, in his words, "pretty bright." You could tell he was proud of them.
Phil was the longest running alderman in Salmon Arm's history, serving from 1966 to 1990. As was custom, Mayors of the day assigned Aldermen to attend cultural, environmental, and sports groups' meetings. Phil was the Alderman assigned to the Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association. He was with the Association when it moved operations from downtown's "Centennial" Museum building just across from the Cenotaph to R.J. Haney Heritage Village. He was an active part of the vision.
Rarely missing a Museum meeting, Phil agreed to be the Treasurer of the Association when Norma Harisch relinquished the chair and Treasurer Doug Adams stepped up to fill that vacancy. Phil didn't mind. He was close to Haney Heritage Village. In his capacity as Treasurer Phil did the most important job for the organization. He was always available to sign paycheques.
I think Phil kind of liked the place. It was almost in his backyard and he was reliable. He had been with the organization since its inception. For years, every monthly Association meeting followed with chatter about some past event involving Salmon Arm's residents. Phil and John Pottie would get into reminiscing over the after- meeting-coffee-and-cookies. Like about the time they put Johnnie Pottie in a tire and rolled him down the hill into the girls' outhouse at the Larch Hill School yard. John laughs now, but that roll ended with a bang. He was much younger than Phil's crowd of friends and the older boys likely didn't want him around.
Needless to say there were smiles between the two museum board members that night. John Pottie must have gotten over the tire ride. The two "adult" boys made me laugh and I asked them to work on a "history" presentation for the next monthly meeting. Both men declined, preferring to adlib as the spirit moved. They said they were shy.
And although he said he was shy, Phil was extremely social. He made regular appearances at the Village, checking in on all activities when it was cheque signing time. He'd pop into the archives and say, "nothing for you this week." I knew that. It wasn't always my payday. Then Phil would ask about my house and son and his family in Japan. He'd check on operations, the cook in the kitchen, and go up to Ted and Mary's private residence for a visit. It was a quiet routine.
Once in a while I'd be doing some research for an environmental company about businesses in Salmon Arm. As a former councilman, Phil was valuable. He had the public knowledge of an insider. Phil was on council when the Industrial Park was created. He was also on council when they took the "Newnes" farm land on Piccadilly and Rotten Row out of the A.L.R. and permitted the development of what is now the Mall at Piccadilly. "We took heck for that," he told me.
Phil also had strong opinions, quietly expressed. In the 1990s, when my children were in baseball , he would ask about the club, wondering how the club and ultimately the parents were going to be able to pay any increased fees to use the ball diamonds. He'd shake his head at the council of the day. "Don't they realize that these organizations make a community?"
So that sums up Phil. All about friendship, community, support, and making this place better. The Board, staff, members and volunteers at Haney Heritage Village are sad to see him go. We've lost a good friend.
According to Robin Hickman, his mother Margaret sold the Mall property (also known to old timers as the "Newnes" property) to Mainline Co-op Mall in 1973. It was preloaded for a year before construction.
April is a busy month at the Village. Volunteers and staff are cleaning and readying the Village for opening in mid-May. We’re busy in the curatorial department too. The Salmon Arm Observer’s James Murray and I are installing a new exhibit on the Silver Creek Fire of 1998. Ken Tebo, Barry Tarr, Peter Kilby, Jake Jacobson, Cliff Doherty, Cathy Semchuk, Brad Shirley, Ron Essex, Keith Cox, Ron at EZ Rock Radio, Neil Sutcliffe, Jeanette Clement, and others are helping to build this exhibit.
Thanks to the generosity of the Salmon Arm Observer, Publisher Rick Proznick, and Editor Tracy Hughes, we’re reprinting over sixty photographs that covered the fire. To be expected, the Observer’s photo album has been well handled over the last fifteen years and, thanks to James’ dedication, dust, fingerprints, and other flaws are being meticulously removed.
We’re supplementing the photographs with artifacts: the uniforms and equipment of those who fought the fire. The Rapattack crew fought the blaze after the initial assault from the air by water bombers. For a while it was thought the fire was under control. When structures were threatened at Silver Creek, the volunteer fire department stepped in. Not long after, the Salmon Arm Fire Department’s volunteers also suited up.
As I gather information, I learn more about firefighting. Over and over again I hear that the helicopters and water bombers are used initially and aggressively to attack wild fires, followed by human power. The safety of crews is considered first. Unfortunately, the fire grew out of control in 1998 and a state of emergency was called. Just back from Bosnia, one hundred soldiers from the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry were sent to help
Everyone has a story. The fire affected the entire community. People come forward with their stories. I ask them simple questions. Where were you when the strike hit? What was your role in the fire? What are your memories?
The responses are full of impact. Fire Warden Jake Jacobson told me that on a hot, windy, summer’s night, he can’t sleep. He’s remembering the wind that fanned the fire in August 1998.
My adopted son Guido Reichlin was only 19 when the strike hit. His was a volunteer fireman at the Glen Eden Fire Hall. He told me he can’t eat tuna fish sandwiches to this day.
Alan Harrison, City Counselor, and his brother defended his parents’ place on Foothills. Alan said the gravel pit saved the Harrison home. It felt like a Holocaust.
Eugene Hydamacka was a volunteer fireman with the Silver Creek Fire Department. He stopped by to say goodbye to his house in the middle of the disaster. When he returned later, he was surprised that it was still standing. His animals had been evacuated by a good Samaritan when Eugene was too busy to take care of them. He was trying his best to save his neighbours’ homes. A rancher in Enderby boarded Eugene’s animals for free.
Gary Hucul was a fireman with the Silver Creek Fire Department too. His words are simply put, but full of impact. “It felt like the end of the world.”
Do you have stories you want to share? We’re collecting them for the archives, hoping to build a resource that will survive for future reference. Call 250-832-5289 and we’ll set up a time to interview you.
Photo credits: Salmon Arm Observer
What does a curator like to do for Mother's Day? Take a leisurely drive to a quilt show fundraiser to see the interior of a special museum.
The Chase and District Museum and Archives Society has recovered nicely from the two attempts at arson that destroyed much of the collection and severely damaged the building's interior in 2011. The community was outraged. Its museum mattered! Exhausted from assault, the Museum Board and staff stood together and decided to rebuild what was destroyed. They, the membership and other volunteers worked hard.
The structure has been refurbished, damage removed, and rebuilt from the inside out. The Society consulted Heritage expert Cuyler Page and took steps to create a well heated, cooled, and lit centre that would be able to host new exhibits for decades.
When reconstructing the facility, tough decisions had to be made when repurposing the former church. A deliberate choice was not to restore the twice-moved structure. They reinvented it. The damaged wood siding was removed and the exterior was sided with an oxblood red Hardie Board- a mixture of fiber and cement that requires low maintenance, never needs painting, and is a sensible answer to the devastation of the two fires. The colour choice was the original church's colour, a nod to the structure's early days. Gone also are the church windows that were problematic when creating interior exhibit layouts
The inside was taken back to the studs. A company dealing in hazardous materials was called in to remove Zonolite, a product containing asbestos. The Board chose not to restore the unique tongue and groove barrel ceiling. The former ceiling was a special architectural detail. Although a little sad, the decision to drop the ceiling was practical. It would have been too expensive to restore it. Insurance and other dollars would only stretch so far. Instead high ceilings and fans were installed and welcome air conditioning circulates through the building and a security camera monitors activities.
The layout of the new space has been reversed, the gift shop enlarged, and the walls and ceiling have been painted an off white. The exhibit lighting is now plentiful and flexible. A high quality flooring looks super and, best of all, is now all one level. The space is truly wheel chair accessible.
Past President Roger Behn took me on a tour and he is right to be proud. He mentioned that the Village of Chase now owns the structure. In taking responsibility of the asset, the Village has made sure that culture and tourism will continue to thrive in the community. It also places the Museum Society on a strong footing, letting the organization get back to the work it needs to do engaging its community.
The exhibit I saw was engaging. The displayed quilts were stunning. One of my favourite quilts was by Patsy Cuthbertson. Her quilt was an old fashioned Double Wedding Ring pattern, her comments were attached to the quilt. She'd done the pattern twice, the first time quilting by machine. When she did pattern a second time she quilted it by hand and found both the hand work easier and more satisfying. Some things are meant to be done the old fashioned way!
While in the museum I met Salmon Arm quilters Blanche Hartnett and Dana Fenwick also taking in the show, getting ideas, thinking about their own show in 2014. They, like me, were doing what they liked to do best on a Mother's Day weekend. They were looking at the work of others and hoping for inspiration. Well done members of the museum and quilters associations!
For Summer hours of the Chase and District Museum and Archives consult their website:
I've had the pleasure of coordinating the Thompson/Okanagan regional meeting of the Archives Association of British Columbia for six years. The tradition was established in 1993, twenty years ago, by the past-president of the Association, Linda Wills. She offered her institution, the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, as the first meeting place. At that time she had people from other cultural institutions consulting her, and they would ask endless questions. How do you do this? Where can we apply for funding? What do we collect? What are the best practices? How do we do better with what we have?
Enderby and District Museum Society Archivist Joani Cowan was the next coordinator and she had a brilliant idea. She arranged for meetings to change locales ... we went to different institutions. We learned by example. Seeing the workplaces of others helped all of us figure out what we should aim for and what should be avoided.
Both Linda and Joani believed the meeting was important. They secured a guest speaker on an important topic. The best part of any meeting was the visit behind the public spaces and the round table at the end of the day where we talked about our projects. We continued to learn from each other. Contact information was exchanged and connections were made.
This year Sicamous and District Museum and Historical Society opened its doors to us. Last year Museum moved into a new facility at the newly constructed Village Hall. The building was purpose-built. Heritage Consultant Cuyler Page helped with the layout and helped the museum board focus on the stories it wanted to tell. The result - spectacular.
The speaker for our meeting was Curator Cathy English of Revelstoke Museum and Archives on "Making your Archives Work for You". Cathy has completed two Community Memories projects and is working on a Virtual Museum Exhibit. She's authored two books: Reflections - Four Decades of Photographs by Earle and Estelle Dickey, and First Tracks, the History of Skiing in Revelstoke, and completed a project commemorating the 1910 Rogers Pass snow slide. She talked about her next book, to be released in July 2014 called Brown Bag History, Volume 1.
The day didn't end there. Over lunch we were treated to a tour of the Sicamous harbour thanks to Twin Anchors Houseboat Rentals Ltd. The view from the water helped participants visualize just how the first European visitors saw the area. Eagle Pass Landing, as Sicamous was called, was the route that early travellers followed to Farwell (now known as Revelstoke).
Always entertaining, Gordon Mackie, former Mayor and Past President of the Sicamous Museum Association, spoke on his favourite topic, Shuswap Lake history. Mackie was the owner of Shuswap Lake Transportation Company for many years and knows the topic well.
It was a wonderful day! How can we top this meeting next year? It will be hard.
Thank you to Denise Klinge, Neil Finlayson, and Gordon Mackie for making the local arrangements. The gathering was a treat!
The backbone of wild fire fighting in the province are the men and women carrying pulaskis, shovels, and "piss cans" or more correctly back pack pumps. The work is seasonal and many who serve are career-long fire fighters.
Fire Warden Jake Jacobson has been hiring locals since his career began in 1986. Most of his crews are First Nations. Jake doesn’t have a noble reverse discrimination hiring policy. His crews have to be qualified and to work hard.
When Jake started hiring, he weeded out the poor workers by not rehiring them again the following year. By selectively rehiring only the best workers he began almost exclusively hiring men and women from local bands. As Jake's crews gained experience, many became crew supervisors.
Adams Lake Band members Linda Gaze, Bobby Kenoras, and Brian Johnny described the Silver Creek Fire and others in an interview June 12, 2013. They spoke of the fire on both sides of the Salmon Valley - Fly Hills and Mt. Ida. They all agreed that it felt like being under an jet airplane that was flying too close to the ground. There was no air as the fire sucked away the oxygen.
Brian Johnny complimented the Army crews brought in, saying they were pretty good workers, fast, and in excellent shape. The soldiers learned quickly. The local crews worked alongside the military digging fire guard.
Digging guard is always hard work. Bobby Kenoras interjected that the guard has to be dug down past the duff to the mineral soil below and past anything that was burnable. When the three walked out of the bush at the end of the day, they were always covered in grey ash.
The crews worked long hours on the Silver Creek Fire. Brian clocked 100 hours in six days. At first they packed their own lunches and went home at night to sleep. Later, when a camp was set up, they were fed breakfast and lunch at the base.
Brian says, you if you can't laugh at a fire, you're taking it too seriously. He's lost many a boot to walking on a hotspot he thought was cold. Duct tape is his answer. The sole is taped on to the boot.
When asked, why they go back every year when the pay is low, the work is hard and ugly, the three are quick to reply:
Brian says he likes the thrill, the good memories of fire fighting and that he gets to be in charge of the fire crew and make decisions.
Linda likes the change and being away from her regular routine.
Bobby likes the challenge of different fires and using different techniques.
They all like doing a job well, taking pride in the accomplishment, and have a sense of independence. They have control over their work environment, but can call for back up help if needed.
When asked, "What jobs do you like the least?"
Brian said, "Digging [fire] guard, that's why I worked my way up to be a boss, leading instead of digging."
Linda said, "Dangerous trees on any fire. I walk around them. A hazardous tree can be really scary."
Bobby said with humour, "Putting it out, the end [of the fire]."
But the Silver Creek fire's end in October didn't mean an end in opportunity for the three. For the next two years mushroom picking employed many of their crews. Morels grew in the burnt area and fetched $17/lb. The prized Pine mushrooms sold for $70/lb.
Since the Silver Creek Fire in 1998, more than fifty Secwepemc First Nations women and men have fought Wildland fires in our region. Their contribution is part of a long and proud history of service and protection. Years ago, firefighters would hike into a fire, build a camp, and stay there for several weeks while fighting the fire. Often one of the group would hunt wild game to feed the crew-members. The Secwepemc are not unique. There is a strong presence of FN firefighters throughout Canada.
To qualify as a Wildland firefighter, candidates must take and pass a two-day course and take an annual safety refresher course.
The past two months staff, board members, volunteers and contractors have been hard at work in the Lester and Thomson Garage. The first task was to empty the building. Board members Doug Adams and Gary Cruikshank assisted staff in sorting out artefacts from salvaged building materials and items stored “temporarily” and then cleared out the garage. Storage for farm implements was secured off site, thanks to a museum supporter, Alf Peterson.
The building's interior was painted. The floor was sealed. After the paint dried, a road trip to the Peterson Brothers Ltd. building scored several truckloads of salvageable work stations. Then the stations were refabricated and installed by Dave and Erin Myers of Manta Enterprises. Dave and Erin also built parts department exhibit-style cases for additional display space.
With the garage furnishings in place, three retired mechanics, Richard Maki, Jerry Foskett, and Allan Wilson made sure staff outfitted the work stations properly. Taking Jerry's advice, the tire repair station was moved closer to the entrance, making room for engine repairs in the back.
Then we worked on the interpretation of the exhibit.
With days to spare and expecting resistance, we tackled the last “guy” space in the Garage, the Vintage Car Club’s library of manuals was cleaned and organized. The mouse nest was removed by yours truly and the building put on a maintenance schedule for pest control. Jerry Foskett, unofficial librarian for the Club, was grateful. Organizing the library was on his to do list for a while and would have taken him a lot longer than the two days we took to do the job. In Jerry’s words, “I would have stopped to read the books!”
Is the Garage exhibit finished? In the words of Construction and Maintenance Manager Ted McTaggart, “This is a work in progress; it will be tweaked for years.”
I had hoped not. I wanted to change gears and directions, get the grease from under my nails, and go on to the next major project, an application to the BC Council for operating funds.
At the moment I’m still looking for an appropriate ashtray and spittoon for the customer waiting and radio sales area. I also need more tools…especially wrenches. With or without these items, the Garage is open for viewing. Come see what we’ve been up to this summer.
Opening of the Lester and Thomson Garage pictured above: left to right
Curator Deborah Chapman, Bryan Kassa (Shuswap Community Foundation), Barry Swenson (President, Shuswap Chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada), Doug Adams (President, Salmon Arm Museum), Allan Wilson (consulting mechanic), and Richard Maki (consulting mechanic).
This exhibit was made possible by grants from the Shuswap Community Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, and Hamber Foundation and the interest earned on the Peterson Family, Jack and Edith Stead Endowment and Salmon Arm Museum Endowment Funds. Thank you!
For press coverage of the opening click here.
This month is all about an annual application to the BC Arts Council. The work is intense but also a pleasure. In it President Doug Adams, Treasurer Gary Cruikshank, General Manager Susan Mackie and I describe activities, programs, and exhibits at the Museum and Village, count our numbers, ask visitors and users for quotes, and try to figure out just how well we, the board, staff and volunteers, at the museum and archives measure up. We write about capacity and sustainability, making our museum matter, and, last but not least, evaluate our "product".
This year has been an exciting one in the Curatorial Department. We opened the Lester and Thomson Garage and the Flight from the Flames exhibits. We launched the Community Memories online exhibit of the Story of Ruth in French. We interviewed people. Then we wrote pieces for newspapers, newsletters, blogs, and the Okanagan Historical Society Report.
Throughout the year, four exhibits were installed in our case at City Hall, taking our message to another demographic, visitors to the municipal hall. One exhibit was installed at The Mall at Piccadilly for Heritage Week on the heritage buildings in our community - another outreach program. Likely the most popular exhibit was the Jack Thornton exhibit on mining on Mt. Ida. Installed at Memory Lane during the Fall Fair, free "Haney Gold" was salted in the museum's sluice box and 270 claim jumpers panned to their hearts' content.
Throughout the year, the work of museum continued. We accessioned artifacts, entered the catalogue sheets in a database, processed two large archival collections, added to our newspaper index, transcribed interviews, and edited tax records.
Staff and volunteers worked hard. During the year we served 167 researchers, sold digitized prints, completed land use studies for engineering firms, and wrote storylines.
Of note is the archival support provided people involved in the Dinner Theatre production Firewatch. Although a relatively small archival and curatorial contribution, we're proud that 2,383 people were entertained by a story connected to our site. At the end of the season attendance numbers were up, the music was exceptional, and Peter Blacklock, actors, Hannah, Reid, Caleb and Maria, support staff in Operations, and the Board were justifiably proud. The production was the best in 20 years!
All in all it has been a good year. I, for one, am thankful to the BC Arts Council for the task of reviewing activities that connect us to our community, celebrate our history, and summarize the patrons that we serve. One result is a new survey form for visitors. Check out the form developed exclusively for the curatorial department.
We want your opinion of the Billie Louie, Last of the Shuswap Riverboat Captains and the Flight from the Flames exhibits.
Salmon Arm Museum Exhibit Vistor Use Survey
Click here for the interview and scroll down on CBC's website for an interview with Leah Shaw at Salmon Arm's Mt. Ida Cemetery
Salmon Arm's Deborah Chapman is a history buff and the local heritage museum's curator and archivist.
So, it's not too surprising to see her poking around in a cemetery.
What is surprising is how popular her cemetery tours have become. Deborah has been offering these walks for more than 10 years with the next one planned for Sunday, October 6th.
The CBC's Leah Shaw got a private viewing of Deborah Chapman's favourite tombstones and the stories that lie beneath.
A Salmon Arm woman offers walking tours of the area's cemeteries. (Photo by Leah Shaw)
This fall we cleared out the Salmon Valley Homestead Cabin located beside the parking lot at R.J. Haney Heritage Village. Driving force Gary Cruikshank did an admirable job of organizing volunteers, staff, and me to sort artefacts and building materials and empty the log cabin. It had to be cleared out, according to Albert at Blackwell Building Movers, before the structure was moved to its permanent home northwest of Mt. Ida Church.
Albert was right. There was too much stuff squirreled away in the building. Three truck loads of reclaimed doors and one load of salvaged windows had to find another home. Artefacts came next. Small ones went to the museum, but there's still a pallet full more to be cleaned and sorted elsewhere.
The exercise is part of a long term vision. We're creating a homestead site as part of the development plan by heritage consultant Cuyler Page. A spot for the cabin was chosen. The stakes went in the ground. The Peterson barn from Broadview Rd. lies nearby waiting to be assembled. We will plant half a dozen fruit trees, a garden, and landscape the farm site. We'll finally have a permanent exhibit that tells the story of the early settlers of the Salmon Valley.
Names in the piece written by Rev. J.D. Hobden identified our little house. Others confirmed that the Reid property was purchased by the Pacey family, who sold it to Harold Minion in 1942. After the War, Harold married Joyce Critchley. In 1962 the couple put in a 1600 foot, Transport Canada approved airstrip at their own expense. Joyce saw a need. The community didn't have an airport. She wanted a place for emergency planes to land in Salmon Arm. The next owners were the Harringtons.
In 1985 the cabin came from “Minion Field”, part of the property owned by David and Mary Harrington. A couple of years ago Mary and I explored all the available written records. There was one line in Ernie Doe's book. A search of the United Church Archives at Vancouver School of Theology showed Calvert was in Salmon Arm between 1894 and 1897. He was responsible for building the Methodist Church on property recently purchased by the Smart Centres Inc.
When there's no paper record, Curators like to look for three confirming sources before accepting the oral record. When accepting an artefact with a story we also look at the big picture: the square, hand-hewn logs are fine examples of an early style of construction. The building is well over a hundred years old. It was built by a craftsman. There’s no doubt that this Salmon Valley home belongs on the Haney property, not in the village, but off to the side a little distant from the town we're creating.
A more recent story goes that the cabin was relocated to its present site in 1985 from Harbell Road, the route to the Salmon Valley. It was put together by Richard Tanaka and Don Byers. Stairs and a front porch were added.
Under General Manager Dave Harper's direction, a display of tools was installed inside. The public was invited in. Eventually, because the porch wasn't protected, its boards rotted. The public wasn't safe and the porch was removed. Suddenly, the front door was the perfect loading height for a standard pickup truck. In went doors, windows, and other treasures. Broken windows were boarded up. The space was dark.
Talk about moving the building began when Albert Blackwell offered to donate his equipment and services. He was familiar with the site. He'd moved the little house built for Polly and Ivan Pidhirney house from Fraser Ave NW to the Village in 2008. Albert bought into the vision.
Earlier this year we did a building inspection. Three logs on the west wall were in tough shape. Thanks to Duncan Morris and his crew at Traditional Log Homes Ltd. those logs have been replaced. Care was taken to make them look hand-hewn.
Once the move is done a new roof will go on. Thanks to a recent grant from the Shuswap Community Foundation, the Browne Johnson Legacy Fund and the Lloyd and Dorothy Family Endowment Fund, our Salmon Valley homestead will be protected from the elements. The building will be good for years.
Next year we'll set up that display. Who knows, maybe there'll even be chickens!
Without fanfare the Salmon Arm C.P.R. Station turned one hundred this November. What’s even more remarkable is that it opened the same way without mention. The public just walked in and began using the station. The building’s centenary is something to celebrate.
Like most of the communities that dot the C.P.R. mainline, Salmon Arm began as a railway centred town and the C.P.R. the reason behind the community’s establishment. The relationship between the Railway and town was symbiotic. In the early days, Salmon Arm farmers sold strawberries and tomatoes to the Railway’s dining car. Later on the relationship changed and local farmers became customers. The C.P.R. gave residents access to world markets by shipping their lumber and apples.
Looking at Henderson’s Gazetteer and Directory, the first railway station opened sometime around 1890. It served the community well enough until 1912, when the local Board of Trade requested the Board of Railway Commissioners erect a new station. According to a study of the station by Leslie S. Kozma in 1991, the original location of the first station, north of the tracks, was clumsy. It didn’t allow for town development on the same side of the tracks, near the station.
The plans for Salmon Arm’s station were customized for the community. The second floor apartment of the “standard plan” was removed from the drawings to create a single storey structure. Kozma’s study housed in the C.P.R. Archives describes the new station as reflecting “the size and importance of the city and the agricultural importance of the district.”
The contractor, Davies and Saunders of Vancouver, began working on the new station in late July 1913 relying on Salmon Arm’s Brayden and Johnson Sawmill to supply the lumber. Workers found 200 dead soldiers when they excavated the new foundation. Salmon Arm definitely wasn’t dry! The station was completed in October and opened a month later.
The new station was erected on the south side of the tracks. The property was landscaped and a park developed. According to Kozma, this fit with how C.P.R. viewed its presence in the community. “Parks were an integral aspect of C.P.R. stations throughout Canada and important to the marketing of its lands, since gardens were ‘living proof’ of the fertility of the lands available for colonization.”
In 1925 a polygonal frame bandstand was constructed on C.P.R. land thanks to a local initiative. The project was spearheaded by Postmaster J.L. Jackson and designed by cabinet maker and carpenter Jack Moir. Community fund raising made construction possible and the town gathered to hear its band. Sometime after 1952 the band stand was removed to create a paved parking lot.
The station sustained the community’s access to world markets as the railway remained the most practical way of shipping quantities of lumber and produce until the opening of the TransCanada Highway in 1961.
CPR Archives, RSR-127
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Railway Station Report
Source: Leslie S. Kozma, Pro-Man Consulting, Edmonton, AB