Vernon’s history mapped out

Vernon residents can learn more about the community’s history.

The Vernon and District Family History Society, in partnership with the Greater Vernon Museum, has prepared a map showing the location of homes and businesses at the time that the city was incorporated in 1892.

“The two members of the society who volunteered to work on the map project, Yvette Miller and Valerie Hooper, used as a base, a plan of the town of Vernon surveyed by J.P. Burnyeat and deposited with the Province of B.C. Jan. 24, 1891 by the Okanagan Land and Development Co.,” said Larry Gilchrist, with the society.

In 1892, the city limits went from 25th Ave (the old railway tracks) to 35th Avenue and from 35th Street (behind Safeway) to 25th Street. Much of the area north of 34th Avenue was bush and the area east of 28th Street and north of 30th Ave was mainly forested.

“The lots in this area were accessible by logging roads only. It’s hard to image Vernon as a forest,” said Gilchrist.

The original street names reflected the names of the important people who lived in Vernon. In 1947, the current street and avenue system came into being, replacing the names with numbers. But the map recognizes both versions of the street names in 1892 and 1947.

“Photos of some of the men involved in arranging the incorporation of the city, as well as newspaper ads for businesses that existed at the time have been added to the outside margins of the map,” said Hooper.

Hooper and Miller made good use of the information available at the museum, including maps, tax assessment rolls and the Vernon News. Society member Sheila Copley plowed through the town (later city) minutes leading up to incorporation and for a year afterwards and made notes.

The map will be on display at the society’s open house at Peace Lutheran Church Nov. 4 or drop by the Greater Vernon Museum where you also can see the map, and peruse some of the resources used.

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