Did you know there was once a motel at Antler’s Beach? The present parking lot is where nine small cabins once stood. There was a Shell gas pump right around where the Peachland sign is now – and it’s all home to some fond memories, says subscriber (and longtime Peachlander) Dave Lowry.
It all started on a stormy night during the summer of 1956 when Dave – almost a teenager, was stuck in the family car. He recounts the story best in a blog post he gave me permission to share:
“After driving all day, being rained out at Pavilion Lake (in the Caribou), we were all getting pretty cranky. It was still raining like the dickens and dark when we spotted the sign at the Antler’s motel. As we drove up the Motel Vacancy sign turned off.”
“Dad was at the end of his rope, whiney kids, miserable night. Trying to find a campsite and thinking about how miserable it would be for setting up our tent. He jumped out of the car, ran in, and begged the lady to open up and let us stay the night. She being a sweetheart, agreed.”
The next morning was gloriously sunny, and there was no way Dave and his family were getting back in that car – and so began many years of happy summer vacation memories at the Antler Inn, including the eventual decision to buy land here.
Dave recalls hiking up behind the motel, following the old water flume for a bit, and fishing in the pool below Hardy Falls. He pumped gas out of that old Shell pump, too.
Local historian Richard Smith believes the old motel was built in the late 1930s, and in addition to the cabins, there was room for tents, too.
He adds that in the hills above Antler’s beach, there was a clay pigeon launcher with a heavy spring-loaded arm, and the Peachland Trap Shooting Club used to compete and practice there.
“It was in a wooden bunker to fire these targets to the north,” Richard says.
“Today, it is covered in homes!”
So, what happened to the Antler Inn? According to an RDCO document that outlines the history of their parks, the Antler Inn was the preferred hangout for young people from Westbank to Summerland – and on Friday and Saturday nights, the Inn’s small dance floor, jukebox and eating area were hopping. It’s believed the place burned down though, and was never replaced. Both Antlers Beach and Hardy Falls were donated to the Regional District of Central Okanagan in 1991.