Summerland once had college campus

Summerland once had college campus

From 1906 to 1915, Summerland’s Okanagan College operated in the community

In 1906, Summerland’s Okanagan College and Vancouver’s College (McGill) were the first post-secondary institutions in B.C.

In December, 1910, Okanagan College opened the College Gymnasium at the base of College Hill (Giant’s Head Road.) When the college closed in 1915, this building was used as a fruit packing house, a furniture factory and finally the popular youth centre.

The new Harold Simpson Memorial Youth Centre opened in 1994 and this building was demolished. All that remains of Summerland’s Okanagan College is the concrete pad of the Giant’s Head Skating Rink.

READ ALSO: Historic hall was located at Peach Orchard Campground in Summerland

READ ALSO: A century ago, Summerland had numerous small schools

Okanagan Baptist College had its start in the fall of 1906 when a committee began organizing classes. The first classes were taught by Rev. G. Campbell in the Empire Hall building and two students were enrolled.

In spring of 1907, construction began on Ritchie Hall. This building was completed by fall. A second building, Morton Hall, was constructed in 1910.

The college closed its doors in June, 1915 because of financial difficulties which had come about because of poor economic conditions in B.C.

Ritchie Hall was later used to house high school students and was afterward taken over by a religious group for use as a home for the friendless. The building burned down in 1941.

Morton Hall, known as the House on the Hill, was used for high school classes from 1920 to 1922. It later became a hotel, the Somerset Inn.

On July 6, 1988, the building was moved to Penticton. During the move, power was off for 91/2 hours and the building got stuck en route. It was set up on Skaha Lake Road in Penticton.

It too burned down on Feb. 11, 1991.

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