The former Summerland Supply Store building

The former Summerland Supply Store building

Downtown building has long history

A prominent downtown building has been recognized for its historical value.

A prominent downtown building has been recognized for its historical value.

The Summerland Heritage Commission designated the Summerland Supply Store building at the corner of Main Street and Victoria Road as this year’s historically significant building.

The original general store is still a fine example of boomtown architecture, built to accommodate a retail store at the street level and living quarters on the second floor.

Constructed around 1907, the building is historically significant because of its architecture and its landmark status as the first building to be erected on the north side of Main Street, then called Granville Road.

First developed during the gold rush towns of the American West and in early B.C. towns from the 1860s to 1930s, boomtowns were a row of false-fronted, hastily-built commercial buildings.

They were erected during a transition phase of the downtown development which started with log buildings, followed by the frame structures of the village phase and finally the brick or stone buildings of the civic phase.

Summerland’s boom in 1906 was the development of Parkdale, later called West Summerland, orchestrated by James Ritchie of the Garnett Valley Land Company.

Almost all the businesses along the north side of Granville Road (now Main Street) were initially boomtown structures. Key elements which define the heritage character of the Summerland Supply Store include the raised front parapet (false front) over a gabled roof, the original shape of the storefront windows and the second storey front window.

The building has been continually used as a retail store, and later housed the Laidlaw and Co. General Store, followed by Laidlaw Men’s and Boys Wear, Haskins Men’s Wear, Marguerite’s Flowers, Art Knapp’s Flowers, Steele and Steele Photography, the Summerland Flower Shop and ReMax Realty. At present it is home to Rock Star District apparel and accessories.

The second storey of the Summerland Supply building had several uses over the years other than a residence.

In 1908, it was a classroom for high school students who were awaiting the construction of a new school building so they could move into Summerland’s first high school, the vacated elementary school.

The Heritage Tree for 2015 is the large maple in the front yard of the Wiersmas property at 14901 Dale Meadows Rd.

Its age is estimated at around 100 years.

The tree’s south side was subjected to the heat from a house fire on the former Hardwick property which also is home to the Rippin barn.

The commission also recognized the site of the former West Summerland train station for the Kettle Valley Railway as its heritage site for 2015.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first passenger train of the KVR passing through Summerland.

The train station, at Simpson Road and South Victoria Road, was not built until 1916.

South Victoria Road was formerly called Station Road.

In the early 1900s, the Canadian Pacific Railway decided to build a line to connect the mining towns of the Kootenays with the coast.

Andrew McCulloch was in charge of surveying the route.

The line ran from Midway, up the Kettle River to Hydraulic Summit and then down into Penticton, north to Winslow (the Experimental Farm,) across the bridge over Trout Creek, through Peach Valley and past the site of the West Summerland train station on to Princeton. In 1916, the line through the Coquihalla Pass was completed with a trip to Vancouver taking about 10 hours.

The railway offered daily train service east and west. Mr. Rutherford, Mr. Johnston, Mr. Nister, Mr. Mead, Mr. Riedel, and Mr. Thompson all served as station agents during the years of operation. Passenger service continued until Jan. 16, 1964.

The Summerland station served as home to the Summerland Museum from 1976 to 1985. It was then dismantled.

The Kettle Valley Steam Railway is planning two trips on May 31 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the KVR passing through Summerland.

The site of the former West Summerland train station, at the corner of Simpson Road and Victoria Road South, has been designated as Summerland’s heritage site for 2015. This year marks the 100th anniversary of rail service in Summerland.