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This smaller photo journal, part 2 of the 2-part Vernon set, features some of the wonderful historic buildings in the city. Now that I'm home & did my background research, I realize we missed many historic buildings as well as many impressive historic homes, which means a return trip someday ;o)
Heres a brief annotated history of Vernon. If you want more detail, go to the provided links below.
Vernon is the oldest incorporated city in the Okanagan Valley.
Fur traders started to arrive in the area in 1811
Prior to the arrival of the white men, this part of the Okanagan Valley was occupied by the Interior Salish people, a branch of the west coast Salish people. .
By the 1850's, fur traders had given way to miners throughout BC including the Okanagan Valley where gold was discovered.
The gold miners' camps drew cattlemen & wagon roads soon replaced the original pack trails. One of those road sections served as Vernon's first main street.
The 1st Oblate missionaries came about 1863.
The fledgling settlement of Priest's Valley, which later became Vernon, soon boasted a post office, hotel, general store, and a schoolhouse.
The townsite was laid out in 1885
The Hudson's Bay Company recognized the potential of the community & opened a rough wooden store in 1887, the same year the town was renamed Vernon. The city was named after Forbes George Vernon, a former MLA of British Columbia who helped found the famed Coldstream Ranch.
Transportation links to the outside world became a reality when the CPR main line was completed in 1890.
In addition to cattle ranching, wheat growing became an important industry in the surrounding district. Fruit farming was also introduced which attracted many British families to the area.
Population expanded, construction boomed and new businesses were established. The town center began to shift from Coldstream Road to the recently constructed Barnard Avenue (30th Avenue).
The City of Vernon was incorporated on December 31st., 1892.
By 1904, Vernon was the largest town in the valley and the first in the Okanagan to have a bank.
By the early 1900's the large ranch owners in the area began selling land to developers for subdivision.
By 1908, a reported 1,000 fruit trees had been planted in the Okanagan Valley & land prices had risen from $1 to $150 an acre.
Vernon was soon recognized as the economic hub of the Okanagan.
The growth and development slump in 1913-1923 was mitigated by the establishment of a military camp in Vernon in 1913, and by the growing importance of the vegetable growing and dehydrating industry.
Vernon was an important training ground for Canadian troops during both World Wars.
The military camp was mothballed after WWII. It was reopened in 1949 and became an Army Cadet Training Center which continues to this day. The center trains approximately 1400 cadets annually.
At the end of WW II a new tide of immigration resulted in a housing shortage, solved in part by the construction of the "100 homes" on East Hill.
The real estate boom of the 1950's saw historic structures being lost in the name of modernization.
The 1970's saw the decentralization of business as new shopping malls appeared on the edge of the city.
City boundaries continued to expand.
Downtown Vernon contains the greatest concentration of early commercial buildings. The older residential neighbourhood of East Hill contains the greatest density of heritage homes in the Vernon area.
Vernon is the largest city in the North Okanagan Regional District which excludes Kelowna. Current population of Vernon about 38,000.
Excellent web site including interesting history of Vernon. http://www.vernon.ca/lifestyles/history/index.html
Wonderful inclusive heritage building register: http://www.vernon.ca/services/pde/documents/heritage_register.pdf
article published 8/20/2012