LETTER: Pump is rare and valuable

Historic pump contributed to Summerland’s growth and development

Dear Editor:

We appreciate the added exposure that the editorials on the gas pump have created.

It was never our intention to state that this Bowser C77 was the first gas pump to be used in Summerland. Like a lot of historical artifacts in the museum collection, perhaps most, we acknowledge not everything is known or documented on the pump.

Despite hundreds of hours spent researching this particular pump and the history of gas pumps in general, there are definitely holes in our knowledge.

This does not mean, however, that it is not important to the Summerland story.

What we do know is that it came from Lowertown and was found behind the cannery. Long time citizens have said it was in use at the cannery. We know it is rare and valuable in a monetary sense.

We know it was housed indoors for a number of years and is therefore considered to be in excellent condition.

It no doubt contributed to the growth and prosperity of the community and could be a valuable educational tool and of interest to the younger generation. That in our opinion is what museums should be attempting to do. We believe it is worth saving in a historic sense.

We also believe it will attract more attention to the museum and could be a huge draw if exhibited properly in an informative manner. It also has a personal side for those who cared for it in recent years.

A few people have indicated a preference that it not be restored but returned in its original ‘as found’ condition.

Its height and condition made it almost a majestic symbol of perseverance. These are the very same reasons given to take it out the museum collection. It is tall, heavy, and requires restoration, but we suspect personal preference paid a big role in its removal.

We would like to reach out to anyone, especially old-timers, who may have any other information on its use or history.

Perhaps someone will have memories of other locations where it was in use.

Maybe someone will even have photos that would help to further identify its history. No, we don’t know everything about the pump, but would like to learn as much as possible to complete its story in Summerland.

The editorial, entitled The Historic Value Of Gas Pump, expresses many of the same thoughts we have heard before from museum directors. What is puzzling is the attempt by some to minimize this artifact and its removal from and return to the museum.

The controversy around the pump if nothing else has increased awareness of the museum.

To show your support for the work they do, perhaps you could stop at the museum and purchase a $12 annual membership or attend the upcoming AGM.

If anyone has any information, we would love to hear from you. Please contact either of us or the museum.

Ken Dunsdon

Carmangay, Alta.

Liz Souder

Grand Forks, B.C.

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