Centennial Newsletter

The Peachland Centennial Heritage Days Newsletter

On Friday, May 8, 2009, every Peachland household received inserted in the View a copy of the Peachland Centennial Heritage Days newsletter.

Published by the Peachland Historical Society the newsletter simulated the local news and advertisements as they might have appeared around 1909, the early years of the last century. Articles, some imaginary some not so, were compiled in collaboration by Richard Smith, local historian, and Christopher Byrd, editor.

Contents included the arrival of electricity in Peachland, the historical war canoe races, a community news column, and an historical account of the pioneering days of Peachland.

The newsletter also provided a breakdown of events for the Old Timers’ Reunion and the four day Victoria Day holiday weekend ending with the Pioneer Heritage Day parade on the Monday reviewed by Lientenant Governor, The Honourable Steven Point.

By clicking on the link below you’ll be able to view the newsletter in its entirety.

Heritage Centennial Newsletter

Exceprt from the newspaper...

The Birth of Peachland
Extracted from a Diary Account (author unknown) and Published in a Jubilee Issue in 1968
Published by: The Peachland Historical Society
Major contributor: Richard Smith
Additional Material, Editing and Layout: Christopher Byrd
Printed by: Rylan Hernberg

On February 8th, 1898, J. P. Parrot came down Okanagan Lake on the old S. S. Aberdeen, arriving ashore at Bob Lambly's ranch, adjoining what is now Peachland . Standing by his lone little tent set up on the beach into which the Aberdeen crew stored mining and ranch supplies, Mr. Parrot watched the boat leave. He must have been the loneliest man in the Okanagan. Parrot’s mission was to take mining supplies on pack horses to Camp Glen Robinson about fourteen miles away in the back country. This involved fourteen miles of walking behind a pack train with four feet of snow in some areas along the way. He reached Glen Robinson the following morning.

At Glen Robinson, Jim Silver and others built their cabins. Dick and Bert Smith felled the trees; At first they didn't have any stove but toward spring, a McClary stove was packed in. When spring came, the men left the mines and came down to Peachland where they built houses, cleared land and planted fruit trees. To get wood for fuel they cut down dry trees which were cut up and sold at $4.25 a cord.

In addition the men drew in limestone and trees to fire the lime kiln built by Fyfe Moore, a company shareholder. They bored holes in the centre of each log and inserted one-eighth of a stick of dynamite with cap and short fuse. In this way they split the large logs into four or more pieces. The lime was sacked and drawn on a stone boat down the mountain side.

A wagon road along the lake was started in the rock cut where Peachland is entered from the south. Billy Miller, San Seaton and some miners blasted it out. Bill Lewis, John Bailey, and J. P. Parrot did the team work, grading the wagon road south to Deep Creek. The company had a surveyor named Little who staked out the roads, the fruit lots and irrigation ditches. Next, they logged off the fruit lots. This included J. P. Parrot's homestead of 160 acres which lay parallel to Deep Creek, about half a mile from the lake. He later sold it to Jim Elliott who built a fine house there.

The Marshall boys of Westbank cut logs at sixty cents a thousand feet which Mr. Parrot drew in at $3 a thousand. The Company bought a portable sawmill and cut the lumber at $4.50 a thousand feet selling it at $13 a thousand. Jim Silver was the Company's foreman in charge of cabin building, roadwork and irrigation construction. Another company shareholder was John Gummow whose son, Ben, later became Reeve of Peachland. On his death, Ben was succeeded by his wife, the former Stella Dynes. The postmistress was Mrs. McDougald; the blacksmith, Ben Richards; the carpenters, Leon McCall, Baxter Robinson and Alex Miller. J. P. Parrot did lathing and shingling. Indeed, early Peachlanders were a resourceful people with multiple talents. There was no doctor nearer than Kelowna. To see Dr. J. W. Knox they had to cross the lake in a tiny flat--bottomed boat where the ferry used to cross from Westside.

Peachland was not all work and no play. They had to have some fun in the evenings. A band was organized. Dick Rochester played the fiddle and Fyfe Moore the mandolin. Jim Silver put a leather strap through a bell, nailed it on a board, and kept time by beating the bell with two knives. A large dishpan was used for a snare drum. They had a good laugh while they danced the 'hornpipe' and the 'Highland fling'. Such was life in early Peachland.