The Hilborn home on Logie Road in Summerland was built by the Nelson brothers, who also built the buildings at the Summerland Research Station. (Contributed)

The Hilborn home on Logie Road in Summerland was built by the Nelson brothers, who also built the buildings at the Summerland Research Station. (Contributed)

Early Summerland researcher pioneered greenhouse use

Joseph Hilborn and his brother William advoacated greenhouse work in the early 1900s

Summerland’s Dominion Research Station was founded in 1914, but before that, there was an earlier federally funded research station in Summerland.

The facility was located on Logie Road and operated by famed horticulturist Joseph Hilborn.

The Hilborn brothers, William and Joseph, played prominent roles in the early days of Canadian agriculture. The idea about creating Agricultural Research Stations began with Prime Minister John A. MacDonald’s Bill 124 ‘An Act respecting Experimental Farm Stations’ (May 11, 1886.)

Canada’s first agricultural research station was the Central Research Station in Ottawa and William Hilborn was the station’s first horticulturist.

READ ALSO: Palmer worked with apple breeding program in Summerland

READ ALSO: Summerland researchers fighting to keep Canadian wine thriving

The Hilborn brothers grew up in Arkona, Ont. and since childhood, the brothers actively pursued agriculture. As teenagers, they experimented with new varieties of plants and shrubs.

One variety, created by the Hilborns, was the blackcap Hilborn raspberry.

William wrote articles for the Canadian Horticulturalist journal and was director of the Fruit Growers Association of Ontario. It was because of these early Hilborn brothers’ contributions to agriculture that attracted the attention of the federal government.

By 1891, William Hilborn became the director of the Southwestern Station, located near Leamington, in the County of Essex, Ontario. Joe Hilborn joined brother William and moved to Leamington. Joseph replaced William as the station’s director in 1907.

In 1909, the Joseph Hilborn family moved to Summerland to manage a federally funded experimental station. Hilborn named this new experimental farm, Kill Kare Fruit Farm.

In the fall of 1912, long time family friend, Alf McLachlan and his family moved to Summerland.

Since 1891, McLachlan had worked and lived at the Hilborn farms and greenhouses. The McLachlans purchased land directly adjacent to the Hilborns.

By 1914, Hilborn was receiving provincial funding from the British Columbia government. R.M. Winslow, British Columbia’s horticulturist, became director of the Hilborn’s operations. One of Joseph Hilborn’s assignments was to determine the potential for vegetable crops in the Okanagan’s dry climate. Hilborn produced scientific papers on growing cucumber, cantaloupe, eggplant, pepper, and tomato in B.C.’s Dry Belt.

The Hilborns were active in the community. In 1916, Hilborn was elected the president of the local Farmer’s Institute. As president, Hilborn made presentations to the provincial body expressing concerns about the Okanagan’s poor markets for fruits and vegetables.

Also in 1916, Joseph Hilborn was elected to the school board. His wife, Emma, was active in Summerland’s Women’s Institute and served as president for one term.

In 1920, the Hilborns decided to move to Victoria. Alf McLachlan acquired the Hilborn properties. This acquisition included two hectares of orchard land, four additional greenhouses and a larger home.

Today, Summerland’s first research station facility, Joseph Hilborn’s home, still exists on Logie Road, surrounded by greenhouses.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Agriculturehistory

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Joseph Lundy Hilborn and Emma Hilborn moved to Summerland in 1909, where he managed a federally funded agricultural research facility. (Contributed)

Joseph Lundy Hilborn and Emma Hilborn moved to Summerland in 1909, where he managed a federally funded agricultural research facility. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Vehicle rollover closes Vernon road

Vehicle flipped onto its side, closing road

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

Vernon firefighters douse a fire inside a cardboard bin behind the Shops at Polson off Highway 6 Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Dumpster fire behind Vernon shopping mall

Vernon Fire Rescue Services respond doused recycling bin fire backing onto Polson Park

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read