Town Established in 1886
Okanagan Falls has a very intriguing history behind the pioneers who settled in
this territory. The area was once a major meeting and trading centre for the
local indigenous people.
The Okanagan Falls Heritage & Museum Society was registered as a non-profit Society in British Columbia, in the year 1983. The society was established to preserve the history and artifacts of pioneer life in Okanagan Falls. It has further evolved into an educational experience.
The property was gifted to the Society by the Women’s Institute of OK Falls. Our property features
We maintain a Heritage House where one can experience the feel of what it was like to live in the pioneer days of Okanagan Falls. Houses were small in those days because of the issue of heating during the winter months.
The Bassett House is a prefabricated, or “kit” house, manufactured on the West Coast in 1909 for the whopping sum of four hundred and forty dollars. Using an inflation calculator, the purchase price of the house in 1909 would be the equivalent of $14,559.00 in today’s (2022) currency. Wouldn’t it be nice to purchase a house today for less than fifteen thousand dollars?
There is no plumbing or bathroom in the house, mind you. Electricity wasn’t added to the home until the 1940’s. Still, it’s a bargain at that price. Obviously, a vegetable garden and an outhouse would not have been too far from the house.
The Museum and Bassett House are open to
the public from the May long weekend to the
end of September.
Guided tours only are offered for a small entrance fee which, helps
the Society maintain the upkeep of our attractions. A family of
four can get a full tour for $10.00.
As we do not receive any regular funding, sponsorships or operational grants. Individuals and businesses have become “Friends of Heritage Place” by either contributing a sizeable financial donation, or by supplying products and/or services that give us a consistent discount on the things we require to keep functioning. We’re all about community mindedness and people working together. And it’s a whole lot of fun!
All donations and membership fees can be e-transferred to [email protected].
Tax-deductible receipts can be issued for any donation over $50.00 upon request. Memberships are not tax-deductible.
Kenny McLean Trophy Room
The OK Falls Heritage and Museum Society opened a thrift store in 1990 because it was felt that too much usable clothing was being discarded at the landfill. Donated items of clothing, shoes, books and the like are sold to raise money to maintain the Society. Most items in the store are only three dollars each, or two for five dollars. Such a deal you won’t find anywhere else.
source of income
The Thrift Shoppe is our main source of income to the Society. Other than that, we must apply for grants to maintain the upkeep and expenses of operating such an attraction.
last thirty-three years
In the last thirty-three years our Thrift Shoppe has become extremely popular with the locals, not to mention the vacationers who stay in OK Falls. We have developed a reputation for offering clean, gently used items at bargain basement prices. Items are donated regularly which allows us to maintain a good selection of inventory.
We are also known as the friendliest Thrift Shoppe in the South Okanagan. Our staff of volunteers are the best that one could ask for. Their dedication and commitment to the Shoppe is commendable. Come on in and see what we have to offer. There are many bargains to be had.
It was 1876 when Okanagan Falls became a settlement originally called “Dogtown” at the south end of Dog Lake, which is now called Skaha Lake, south of Penticton, BC. The area was once a major meeting and trading center for the local aboriginal people. It was one of the best canoe routes to the Columbia River, and the Pacific Ocean. Okanagan Falls was established because of its strategic location for shipping and freight both along water and the Kettle Valley railway. Later it was recognized as a prime location for ranching and fruit growing.
In 1893, William J. Snodgrass, of Portland, Oregon, USA, presented himself at the Osoyoos border crossing declaring himself to be a settler. Snodgrass envisioned Okanagan Falls as a place where four railroads would eventually intersect. He set about planning the area to become a thriving metropolis, including railway repair and marshalling yards, a hospital, and even a college and a shopping centre. But his visions were to remain dreams; the railroads didn’t take the bait. Undaunted, he began to create the town of his dreams by himself. He became a sawmill operator, a hotelier, and he ran a general store and freighting business.
Sadly, in time, Snodgrass realized that he could not compete with new towns like Penticton and Summerland. Very few people took him up on his offer of $100 lots. Finally he gave up the fight to create his queen city and returned to Portland a broken and bitter man.
In the early 1950’s the falls were blasted to accommodate a flood control system throughout the length of the valley. The falls, as we knew them, were gone forever. But, their memory remains in our name.