HERITAGE HOUSE The Monro house, constructed in 1909, has seen minimal changes over the years. The house is this year’s heritage building in Summerland. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum) Robert Monro

Summerland’s Monro house has had minimal changes in 110 years

Home, Zimmerman’s Gulch, Sweetheart cherry tree recognized during Heritage Week

By David Gregory

For the past 33 years, Summerland has chosen a heritage home, heritage site and heritage tree.

This year, the recognized heritage home is the Monro home at 5007 Monro Rd.

Robert Monro (1869-1938) and his wife Jessie (nee Pringle, 1871-1965) acquired the property in Peach Valley in 1909.

Their home was manufactured in Vancouver and shipped by train to Vernon.

Then sections of the home were placed on a barge to Summerland and assembled in the fall of 1909.

The three-storey, five bedroom home was placed on a prepared basement.

The Monro home was the first in the area to have indoor plumbing and did not have a refrigerator until electricity came to the area in 1939.

Prior to this time, the house was heated with coal and wood and food cooled with irrigation water.

The main floor the house had a kitchen, pantry, parlour, living room and dining room.

Stairs on the north side of the house led up to the back verandah and into the kitchen where a large wood-burning stove stood on the east side wall.

Home canning was stored in the cool basement and the upper two floors contained bedrooms for the family of 10.

The east side of the house also had a large screened-in verandah that was used for sleeping on warm summer nights.

In Summerland’s early years, a velvet curtain between the parlour and dining room was pulled back to create a small ballroom which hosted the many neighbourhood parties.

They had a player piano with local musicians performing at dances, and singing and poetical readings performed by local neighbours.

Dances were always a grand event including quadrilles, polkas and waltzes.

This home is unique because of the size of the home and because of the minimal changes since 1909.

This year’s heritage site is Zimmerman’s Gulch.

This prominent gulch is located at the northern edge of Trout Creek beside Highway 97.

The origin of the name came from Otto Zimmerman (1882-1941) and his wife Vida (nee Cartwright, 1891-1981.)

The Zimmerman home was located at 5313 Giants Head Rd., the end of the southern branch of the gulch.

The gulch was used as a secondary road into Summerland.

Otto ‘Zim’ Zimmerman was active in our community.

He volunteered as a coach at our Okanagan College on Giant’s Head Mountain, was active in Boy Scouts and was on the school board.

He was the manager of the Dominion Bank. In 1921, there were five Dominion Banks in British Columbia. One bank was in Victoria, two in Vancouver and two were in Summerland.

This year’s heritage tree is the Sweetheart cherry tree at the Summerland Research and Development Centre.

This variety of cherry was developed in 1975 by David Lane and Richard MacDonald. It is a cross between the Van and Newstar cherries.

In 1995, the variety was released for sales. Since then, the Sweetheart variety has received numerous awards including the Outstanding Fruit Cultivar Award in 2012.

From this original Sweetheart cherry several new varieties have been produced including Staccato, Sentennial and Sovereign varieties.

These new cherries have had a major impact on the cherry industry, world-wide.

The original Sweetheart cherry tree is still producing fruit at the research station.

Summerland Historical Society will host Heritage Homes of Summerland on Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m. at the Summerland Seniors Village.

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Robert Monro Jessie Monro

ZIMMERMAN’S GULCH Zimmerman’s Gulch is a prominent feature in the Trout Creek area. It has been named Summerland’s heritage site this year. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

Otto ‘Zim’ Zimmerman

Vida Zimmerman

CHERRY TRADITION The Sweetheart cherry tree at the Summerland Research and Development Centre is this year’s heritage tree in Summerland. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

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