Power on: Photographer Rex Lingford’s“Cleaning up Day Salmon Arm

Power on: Photographer Rex Lingford’s“Cleaning up Day Salmon Arm

Energy in BC

Powerful past, sustainable future: Electricity the theme at Haney Heritage Village

Celebrating the Heritage Society of B.C.’s theme used to be hard. Topics didn’t always fit with the history collected at the museum at Haney Heritage Village. This month, the provincial theme is the history of electricity. The topic has voltage, but isn’t lively. Besides, there are few images in the museum’s archives. No one at city hall or the Salmon Arm Observer thought to photograph the first switch being turned on at the community owned electric plant in 1913. Luckily, the Observer sent a reporter to cover the event.

Something as simple and taken for granted as electricity speaks volumes of how our community has changed. It connects to a time, pre First World War. One project undertaken by a relatively new city council was the electric light plant.

Council had the mandate to install power to participating households within city boundaries. Lobbying started in 1912. They offered a carrot to subscribers. A free gooseneck lamp for each porch.

The job of tracking historical events like this one used to be difficult. On days off from work, museum staff would sit and read the microfilmed newspaper at the public library.

Then the Salmon Arm branch of the Okanagan Historical Society donated cash to buy the museum its own film reader and copy of the Observer. The gift was huge, $15,000 raised by selling Denis Marshall’s history books one at a time. All of a sudden museum staff could look up the coverage at work, on staff time.  Life was better.

In those days Denis Marshall regularly came out to the museum. He was the former owner and publisher of the Observer and keen about community history.

He’d comment, “you need to index the paper,” correcting himself, “someone has to.”

So Denis began a project that he hadn’t intended to. He worked for two years, logging the daily happenings beginning in October 1907. His aim was to complete the years to 1950. Unfortunately, Denis fell ill to cancer and was only able to finish 1948.

Thanks to Denis, we know that the city first purchased lots on Front Street (Lakeshore) for a plant.  Mrs. McGuire had two lots on the other side of Palmer Street. near the city school.

The two properties were compared. Test holes proved Mrs. McGuire’s lots were superior. Taking the advice from consulting engineers Dutcher, Maxwell and Company of Vancouver, the City of Salmon Arm purchased Mrs. McGuire’s lots where the downtown fire hall sits today. With that purchase, the project was set in motion and a lovely brick plant built.

Telephone poles had been installed earlier in 1911. The company operating the telephone exchange, Okanagan Telephone, didn’t have a relationship with the City of Salmon Arm like it did in Enderby where the two sets of lines were strung on the same poles.

In Salmon Arm separate poles were installed. Telephone poles were painted white with a black base. Power poles were unpainted.  The two sets help isolate and date photographs by early photographers Rex Lingford and Frank Duncan.

Thanks to the Salmon Arm Observer and Denis Marshall, we’re able to research this and other topics. Salmon Arm has light and we’ve come a long way since the first switch was thrown. Diesel-powered electricity is a thing of the past and we’ve become used to calling it hydro. Of course Denis Marshall would correct us.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

A concept drawing released by the District of Sicamous shows plans for the replacement of the recently demolished Beach Park washroom facilities. (District of Sicamous image)
Province gets behind new washroom, concession for Sicamous Beach Park

New facility will be sloped, covered with grass, for public seating

A 2018 geotechnical review identified portions of Lakeshore Road between 10th and 20th Avenue at medium to high risk of catastrophic failure. (File photo)
Engineering work awarded in ongoing effort to stabilize busy Salmon Arm road

City of Salmon Arm awards preliminary design engineering for section of Lakeshore Road

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

A webinar on dealing with dementia will be held Wednesday, March 10, 2021 (Submitted)
Webinar on dementia scheduled for March 10

Okanagan residents invited to event on legal issues surrounding dementia

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

Migrant farm workers transplant jalapeno sprouts from trucks into the tilted soil at a farm. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)
‘They’re afraid’: Coalition sounds alarm over COVID vaccines for B.C.’s migrant workers

Though health ministry says anyone can get vaccinated, critics say barriers are keeping migrants from their dose

Most Read