Gold was once a part of the growth of the Okanagan valley before it came to be known as it is today. Although it was first discovered in 1869, it took almost 20 years before the first gold mining claims were registered in 1887 on both sides of the valley above what is now called Oliver. By the turn of the century, Fairview was one of BC’s largest towns with a population of 600 and was located on the west side of the valley.
Remains of Fairview townsite of early days
Fairview townsite overlooking Oliver, BC
Okanagan River ~ the 'Ditch' irrigation system
The returning world war veterans built the ‘Ditch’, which was a gravity run irrigation system engineered and built between 1919 and 1927. In all it stetched 40 km (25 mi) with combined construction of concrete-lined ditch and metal flumes on wooden trestles and much of it remains today.
Okanagan River in Oliver, BC
The engineers camp was built for the crews on the sight of today’s
, just across from the RV park shown here and where the townsight named after Premier Oliver was eventually built. The Oliver Community Park looks more like a canal in many parts of the Okanagan. Okanagan River
The Haynes Ranch buildings
The Haynes Ranch buildings date back to 1860 when the house was built for Judge John Carmichael Haynes. It addition was added in 1875 and was lived in until 1963. The bunkhouse to the side of the main house was built for the son in 1911 then used for work crews.
The Haynes Family Barn
The barn, also part of the Haynes Building Preservation Project, was built in 1906 but burned down in 1914 then later rebuilt in 1916. The attic is now home to long-eared bats but the fenced area around the barn is still being used for cattle as descendants of the Haynes family still herd cattle.
Ranchland in the Okanagan Valley
Cattle barons once raised large herds of cattle that grazed the bunchgrass-rich landscape, but there is now little sign of that in the Oliver area of the southern Okanagan. These horses enjoy the pastures today with the beautiful mountains beyond the valley as their background.