Deena Lehoux set out to create what she calls “Vernon’s family photo album.”
Using the social networking site Facebook, Lehoux created a page called Vintage Vernon, B.C., encouraging Facebook users to post old photographs of Vernon.
Lehoux’s album hit a chord with users.
“The response was great right away,” said Lehoux, born and raised in Vernon and who works as a recreation co-ordinator’s assistant at the Vernon Restholm.
“I started the page in October and there’s now more than 2,500 likes. Every time a new, good picture gets uploaded, I can literally hit refresh and watch the number go up.”
Lehoux was inspired by a similar-type Facebook page called Old Kelowna that showed historic photos of Vernon’s southerly neighbours.
Because there was no such Vernon page, some users posted old pictures of Vernon, such as the tower at the end of the Kal Beach wharf, on the Old Kelowna page.
Lehoux began her page with a couple of family pictures of her dad at a flying school at the Vernon Regional Airport, and one of her and her brother in the K-Mart parking lot.
Yes, the K-Mart parking lot in the Village Green Mall.
“And you can see the old Safeway in the background,” smiled Lehoux, a reference to the grocery chain being one of the mall’s original tenants.
Since then, people have added photos of Hotel Corner (the National, the Allison and the Kalamalka), churches, houses, Silver Star, the original train station and other glorious old black-and-white and colour photos of Vernon in days gone by.
One person posted a photo of the old Skyway Drive-In Theatre, which was close to one of Lehoux’s childhood homes, invoking memories of how she would sneak into the drive-in through a hole in the fence, sit down beside the speaker on her blanket with a favourite stuffed animal, and catch a flick.
“The response has been incredible,” said Lehoux, a fan of the Greater Vernon Museum where she visits several times a year to stare at the old photos and artifacts.
“I didn’t think people would be as excited as I am.”
There’s also a personal reason for Lehoux’s album. She wants her eight-year-old son, James – who was born on the same floor of Vernon Jubilee Hospital as his mom – to know the history of his hometown.
Anybody who would like to contribute to the Facebook album can do so on the page, or send Lehoux a private Facebook message with pictures attached.