The past reborn: Observer’s 111 year old history preserved

R.J. Haney Heritage Village recreates the Salmon Arm Observer as it once was in 1907

It’s like stepping back in time to the year 1907.

S.H. (Sam) Lawrence had just opened his jewellery and fancy goods store in Salmon Arm and the first edition of the Observer rolled off the presses with George Armstrong as editor.

From Hudson to Shuswap Avenue, historic Salmon Arm has been recreated at the R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum.

RELATED: Haney auditions for summer roles

The park sits on 40 acres of farmland just off Highway 97B and after three years of hard work to create the Montebello Block, there are now over 30 exhibits in the village.

Susan Mackie, the general manager of the village, says they tell the stories of Salmon Arm from about 1907 to World War Two.

“The exhibits are either original or replica buildings or there are just exhibits telling stories,” she said. “We have the First Nations stories and stories about Peterson Orchards.”

The R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum held its grand opening last year to coincide with Canada’s 150-year celebrations; however, just recently a new addition has been placed in the village.

“Well, you couldn’t really have a town without a newspaper and the Salmon Arm Observer was the newspaper here in 1907,” explained Mackie.

The Observer operated out of Chinese Laundries and other stores in town, before constructing its own building, which is now reproduced in the heritage village.

RELATED: Withstanding the test of time

Mackie hopes to obtain an old-fashioned printing press for the building and then use it to print papers about what the village is doing each day.

The heritage village was built thanks to one of the largest fundraising initiatives in Salmon Arm’s history at $1.6 million, with a total project cost of $2 million.

Haney Heritage village opens for the season on Wednesday, May 16 and visitors can stop by from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

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