We do not usually think of mining as being an important part of our Okanagan history. An article in the May 9, 1935 (page 7) edition of The Kelowna Courier and Okanagan Orchardist shows that the pursuit of valuable minerals and ores does, indeed, have a part in our history books:

“On Sunday last a group of those attending the classes in geology and mining, accompanied by Mr. Cleaver Hughes, instructor, motored up to the placer mines at Fir Valley, above Winfield, on a tour of inspection. Several indulged in a little panning which in every case gave a showing of colours.

Considerable interest was taken in a deposit of basalt rock above the mine tunnels, as this formation is not general. A similar formation occurs on the west side of Okanagan Lake at a similar elevation.

Part of the group also went over to Okanagan Lake to view the work near Siwash Bay, where some interesting rock formation was seen including a dyke or sill, with a break in the formation which was a practical illustration of part of [the] lecture live in the course.

Mr. Hughes said he had asked the Department to donate to the district a cabinet of specimens which will, if received, be kept in the School or under the supervision of the School Trustees.”

Submitted by Robert Hayes, Director, Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society