If you’re a Peachlander, whose street are you on? Most of our 129 or so streets are named after someone significant to our town’s history. There’s a small committee of people here who work with the District, and one by one, they’ve determined the history behind each name. Don Wigfield is the author of The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origin of Their Names. He very kindly lent me a copy of this book (while he works on a second edition!), and I’m happy to share his research here. I’ll add to this list every now and then! Don’t see a street you want to know about? Send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mack Road: It’s a family name that’s still around – and goes back to the early 1940s here in Peachland. Karl Mack (actually, the last name is Möck – the family is from Germany and the name was changed) married Marjorie Hawksley in 1944 and they had six children. According to Don Wigfield’s book, The Roads of Peachland, the family purchased a home and an orchard on Elliott Ave and when the land was subdivided, the new road was called Mack Road. Karl Mack was busy – he worked road construction and in the sawmill industry too. Marjorie attended Peachland’s 2009 Centennial celebrations, and a son and daughter – Dennis and Bernice, have made their homes here too.
Jackson Crescent: Ivor and Eva Jackson arrived a little later than most of those who have streets named in their honour – they came here in their retirement years, and became quite involved in the community. Ivor was a councillor from 1955 to 1957, before becoming Reeve (or Mayor) in 1958 and 1959. He was also a historian and compiled a history of municipal affairs from Peachland’s incorporation up to 1947. The document was retyped almost 30 years later and three’s a copy of it in the Peachland Museum. In 1977, Ivor passed away, then Eva four years later.
Eyre Road: It’s a short road just between Buchanan and the highway, and according to Don Wigfield’s book, not much is known about Mr. Eyre – even his first name. What is known is that he operated Peachland’s first feed store with a fellow named Arthur Cutbill. The building was on the lake side of Beach Ave, around 1st St, and was also the original site of the Edgewater Hotel, before it moved across the street to where it is today.
Sherburn Road: There’s a few streets like these here and there – Sherburn isn’t named after anyone historically significant to Peachland – it’s a road named by the developer. This road is behind Renfrew and ends in a pair of cul de sacs with newer homes.
Ferguson Place: Is a cul de sac road with more established homes, just off Sherburn and above Renfrew. The Ferguson family is one of the first to settle in Peachland. Alex Ferguson came from Winnipeg to help build some of Peachland’s first homes – his cousin, founder J.M. Robinson, thought that Alex, a carpenter, would be a good fit here. Alex’s wife and children made their way West too, and they bought one of the first available residential lots in Peachland. Alex also served as a councillor, and was owner of the Lakeview Hotel, which was built in 1898 in part, to help accommodate early settlers as they arrived. The Fergusons lived in Peachland until their deaths in 1940 (Alex) and his wife in 1949.
Elliott Avenue: There were actually two well-known Elliott families in Peachland, and both families were early settlers here. Thompson Elliott (described in Peachland Memories, a book by the local historical society, as a ‘big, round-faced Scotsman’), settled here in 1898. He and his wife were among the first purchasers of JM Robinson’s ten-acre lots he was selling to establish our town. Thompson Elliott was a blacksmith and a miner, and it’s believed he worked at Gladstone mine. According to Don Wigfield, author of The Roads of Peachland, he built a big family home above Lipsett Ave.
Jim, Charles and Alice Elliott were the other Elliotts – they were the grandchildren of James and Jane Elliott, who left Ireland and settled in Quebec, where the three siblings grew up. It was Jim who went West first: He worked on bridge-building crews with the Canadian Pacific Railway and as a deckhand on the Kootenay River before eventually making his way to Peachland. He met Charles Lambly (another early Peachlander) and he leased a ranch from him around when his brother (also named Charles) decided to join him. The two brothers then persuaded their mother Nancy and sister Alice to move here too. By 1900, all four family members lived in Peachland. Charles and Alice Elliott both worked as schoolteachers. Charles owned property at the top of Somerset Ave, and passed away in 1960. Alice, who walked two miles from Peachland to the Trepanier School every day, lived until the age of 98. She died in 1967.
Sutherland Road: It’s just off Trepanier Bench Road, and Sutherland is named after one of Peachland’s most established families. When William and Mary Sutherland moved here in 1936 (with four children in tow), they were hoping the warmer climate would improve Mary’s health. Sadly, she died that summer. William bought land on Vernon Ave, near the Peachland cemetery and with the help of his sons, established a farm and orchard. Four generations of the Sutherland family have remained in Peachland.
Victoria Street: This is a relatively easy one – Peachland was founded at the end of Queen Victoria’s long reign. Victoria connects with Gladstone Rd at one end, and extends to Turner / Minto at the other.
Gladstone Road: It’s a short, 200 m piece of roadway connecting the end of Victoria St to the top of Somerset Ave – but Gladstone Road has a long history in Peachland. Further up the mountain was where JM Robinson – Peachland’s founder – owned a mine. The Gladstone mine was likely named as such because some of the directors of the company that owned it, were likely from Gladstone, Manitoba. In fact, many of Peachland’s early residents were from Manitoba – so much so an unknown author wrote “with the general exodus from Gladstone and Brandon, of all the cousins and connections, friends and co-investors of JM Robinson to Peachland about 1898 – 1900, one begins to wonder if anyone was left in those Manitoba towns.”
Bradbury St: It’s no surprise that Bradbury St – named for the Bradbury family who came to Peachland in 1919 – is located near Law St. As mentioned earlier, Ivy Law grew up to marry into the Bradbury family. She was a major contributor to the preservation of Peachland’s early history. But before she was even in the picture, William Thomas Bradbury, his wife Eliza and five children (ranging in age from nine to 14), arrived here from England. It wasn’t a simple journey – William had actually arrived in Canada years before his wife and children. But when the First World War broke out, he found the only way to get back to England was to join the Canadian Army. He ended up serving in France until the end of the war, survived, and finally brought his family to Vancouver. They ended up in Peachland to find work in the orchards. That first summer, the entire family slept in a tent, but they eventually bought some land and worked towards a prosperous orchard and dairy business.
As the children grew, so did the branches of the Bradbury family tree – William and Eliza’s second son (also named William) married Birdie Mitchell in 1936. Their five children all grew up in Peachland, with the eldest marrying Jock MacKinnon (another road I’ll get to!)
According to Don Wigfield’s 2011 book, The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origins of their Names, it was William and Eliza’s youngest child, Edgar, who acquired the land where Bradbury St. is located today. Edgar married Ivy Law in 1933 and they had three children. He served in the Second World War, and when he came home, his health wasn’t the same. The land was purchased the year after the war, in 1946. As mentioned before, when Ivy (Law) Bradbury passed away in 1998, she was the longest-living Peachlander, having been here since her birth in 1907.
Meldrum Place: Where Victoria St. And Turner Ave come together, is a small street called Meldrum Place. It’s named after George Meldrum. He didn’t come to Peachland after he retired in 1963, but his family were among the Okanagan’s earliest pioneers. Born in Armstrong in 1903, George spent his career on the railway, spending time as an engineer on the Kettle Valley and Coquihalla routes. From 1968 to 1973 he was a Peachland councillor – he and his wife Mary were very involved in the community. He passed away in 1979.
Thompson Drive: Also up Princeton way is Thompson Drive, which is the first right-hand turn off Forest Hill Drive. There’s a sweet potato connection here, oddly enough – I’ll get to it. Henry Huggard Thompson was a Peachland town councillor in 1930. But before then, he was a young Irishman on his way to Canada by ship. On that ship, he met a young woman, who he later married and together, they moved to Alberta. In 1910 they arrived in Peachland and had three children. But their middle son, Buzzy died in a house fire at their Trepanier Bench home. The family moved elsewhere in Peachland, but Henry, an avid gardener, wanted to keep trying new varieties of vegetables, because he liked the soil conditions in the Trepanier area. According to another book on Peachland history, Peachland Memories, Henry Huggard Thompson was the first person in Canada to try growing sweet potatoes. It earned him a nickname here in town – Sweet Potato Thompson.
Law Street: Just past the Peachland Riding Club (which is up Princeton, across from the public works yard), you’ll find Law St. The Law family was among Peachland’s earliest settlers. According to The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origins of their Names, Roscoe E. Law came here in 1901 and acquired land in the Upper Trepanier area. He was from Qu’Appelle (Saskatchewan), and his wife Eva joined him in 1902. Sadly, Eva died in 1913 of pneumonia, leaving behind four children between the ages of three and 11. Of their four children, a daughter, Ivy was born in Peachland. She married a Bradbury (another street name I’ll get to), and when she passed away in 1998, she was the longest living Peachlander, at 91 years old.
As early settlers in the Trepanier area, the Law family, along with the Coldham family and the Morsh family build a dam at a lake above them to store water for irrigation purposes. Lacoma is the name of that lake, which still exists today.
Another sad fact about the Law family: Eva Law’s eldest sister Josie, and her family were the Needhams and they also lived in Peachland. Two of Josie’s sons went off to fight in the First World War, and they did not return home. Their names – Pte. Charles Needham and Pte. George Needham, are inscribed on our town’s cenotaph.
A couple interesting things I noticed about JM Robinson:
According to my copy of The Story of Peachland (available at the museum downtown), JM Robinson had a vision for a town that was based on fruit orchards, not gold mining. He organized land here into ten chunks, built it out and called it Peachland. This would have been in 1898. Just a few years later, in 1902, Robinson sold all his lots here and moved on to found two more towns – Summerland and Naramata. He built a home and lived there until his death in 1934. His wife, Eliza Catherine Lipsett, according to online records, passed away in Naramata in 1936.
Arthur Street: It’s a small side street off Lakeview Ave, which is the very first right-hand turn going up Princeton. This is another JM Robinson – named Peachland road: The Rev. Arthur T. Robinson was JM’s younger brother. He came to Peachland when it was first founded, conducting the first religious services here before leaving in 1900 for Regina and Nova Scotia. He married Ada Murcutt nine years later, and together they travelled the continent sharing their religious beliefs. Ada died in 1926 and afterwards he moved to Summerland, where he became an orchard owner. He passed away 15 years after his wife, and is buried in the Peach Orchard Cemetery. According to research done by local volunteers, Arthur Street actually linked up to Beach Ave at one time.
Turner Avenue: John Herbert Turner was BC’s tenth premier, serving from 1895 to 1898. He was a career politician – in the years before Peachland was officially founded, he served as an alderman and Mayor of Victoria, before moving up to provincial politics. He was Minister of Finance under three successive premiers, before becoming the Premier himself. He left provincial politics in 1901 and returned home to England, where he held another political position (Agent General for BC) before retiring in 1918.
So what does John Herbert Turner have to do with Peachland? His pro-business policies were likely admired by JM Robinson, Peachland’s founder (who was a keen businessman himself). Turner Ave is one of Robinson’s original street names that recognize prominent people of the time, in the ‘outside’ world.
Lipsett Avenue: Its the second left as you drive up Princeton and extends all the way to Bulyea Ave & Topham Pl (ahh more names!) Lipsett Avenue is another one of Peachland’s 14 original roads that appear on the 1902 survey map signed by John Moore Robinson, our town’s founder. Robert C. Lipsett was a surgeon, a veterinarian and an officer in JM Robinson’s Canadian and American Gold Mining Company. In fact, the two men were brothers in-law, as Robinson was married to Robert Lipsett’s sister, Eliza Catherine Lipsett. According to online records, she was born in Ontario in 1858 to a pioneer family who eventually made their way from the US to Manitoba. In Brandon, she and JM Robinson married before heading to the Okanagan in 1898. Robert Lipsett moved from Peachland to Summerland around 1906.
Bonnie Lane is a small street, just off Princeton right before Whinton Cres (near Turner Ave). The MacKinnon family – whose roots in Peachland go back to 1907 – owned an orchard , and when the property was subdivided, a road was created in 1968 and it was named in honour of Archie and Madeline MacKinnon’s only daughter, Bonnie Mae. She was a teenager at the time, and to date, the youngest Peachlander with a street named in their honour. Sadly, Bonnie Mae passed away ten years ago, at the young age of 56. She was an accomplished horsewoman and rancher, and her family name also lives on elsewhere in Peachland. MacKinnon Rd is located in the Trepanier area.
Minto Street is another of Peachland’s 14 original roads. It’s a windy one that starts at Somerset and ends up at Victoria St. The Earl of Minto served as Canada’s Governor General between 1898 and 1904, and would be one of the prominent people from the ‘outside’ world that J.M. Robinson chose for a street name. It’s interesting to note that on the original 1902 Peachland map, Minto Street is much shorter, linking Turner Ave with Ellison. The steeper part down to Somerset was built later.
Ellison Avenue: Up Princeton, the last right-hand turn before Turner Ave. Ellison is one of J.M. Robinson’s 14 original roads named on Peachland’s 1902 survey map. Price (not Prince) Ellison arrived in the Vernon area back in 1876, by way of Cheshire, England. He was a farmer, orchardist and rancher and represented the Okanagan as a member of the Legislative Assembly. He eventually served in a couple of cabinet positions, and his biggest accomplishment stemmed from his experience in agriculture – he was a huge supporter of subsidizing irrigation infrastructure for the Okanagan Valley, essential at the time because fruit orchards were springing up all over the valley, including in Peachland. Price Ellison lived until 1932 and passed away in Vernon.
Brandon Lane: Best known as the address of the Peachland Little Schoolhouse (seen on the cover of The Story of Peachland book), Brandon lane is tucked between 4st and 5st downtown. The name is a nod to the hometown of Peachland’s founder, James Moore Robinson. He was from Brandon Manitoba, where he served as editor of the Brandon Times. Many early settlers came to Peachland from Brandon. It’s interesting to note that although Brandon Lane must have existed very early in our town’s history (the schoolhouse was built in 1898), it appears the name Brandon wasn’t used until much later on.