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Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm

1815 David Thompson explores down the Columbia River and makes note of a lake called ‘Shuswap’ to the west.
1840 Tom Snass sets up a trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Co. at Pierre’s Point
1864 Hudson’s Bay Company post set up at Ogdenvill (Seymour Arm), named after Charles Ogden, head of H.B.C. at the time.
1865 Tom Snass builds a two-story structure at Pierre’s Point and clears 15 acres of land. Also builds a wharf.
1866 The S.S. Marten, a H.B.C. steamer, is the first commercial boat to ply Shuswap Lake. She runs from Savona’s Ferry to Seymour Arm.
1871 Walter Moberly mentions the Shuswap in diary of exploration for the CPR.
1876 Native reserves in the area defined.
1878 The ‘Lady Dufferin’, built by W. Fortune, carries produce from Spallumcheen to Kamloops.
1884 The first surveyors travel through the Shuswap laying out a route for the CPR.
1885 Dutch Charlie’s, a brewery and gambling house started up during construction of railway, was situated near present day Credit Union. First house in Salmon Arm constructed by a German named Swordfighter. It was situated on present day Beatty Street near the recent pool hall.

First mention in records of outposts of the H.B.C. at Kualt (present day Tappen) and Chase.

Salmon River Valley is first surveyed for settlement. Note is made of the rich delta soil.

1888 The first white man to settle in the valley west of the CPR right of way was A.J. Hedgeman. His land was near the present day Mt. Ida Concrete.

The property where Dutch Charlie’s was situated before it was closed down by provincial police, was squatted upon by William Wallace who then sold it to Charles McGuire for $1500. This was the first city subdivision. A road was built from the valley near the present day Sheltered Workshop to the CPR station. The cost was $500 and wages for the workers were $2.00/day for a ten-hour day.

First fruit trees were ordered from Minnesota.

Methodist Church holds first regular church services.

The population of the district was estimated to be about 200 people.

First school was established at Hedgeman’s Corner. Miss F. Goodrich was the teacher.


Harbell Road (30th St. SW) was constructed from Hedgeman’s Corner on the Valley road to the foot of Mt. Ida.

The first apple tree was planted by C.B. Harris and J.D. McGuire on land owned by G.E. Ratcliffe (above Shuswap Bakery). Most of the other trees were planted in the valley. The varieties planted included Yellow Transparents, Wealthies, Golden Russets, Alexanders, Ben Davis, and Belle Flowers.


The Genelle Brothers established a sawmill at Tappen Siding. The mill provided ties for the railroad as well as lumber for local purposes. Many Finnish settlers in Tappen and White Lake worked as loggers in the winter to provide logs for this mill.

Bradstreet Report of the Dominion of Canada lists Salmon Arm with a population of 28 with two stores operated by A. McGuire and T. Shaw. The first Justice of the Peace, A.J. Palmer, is appointed.

1894 The first ordained minister, Rev. James Calvert of the Methodist Church, arrives in Salmon Arm.

The first hotel, Cameron House, later to called the ‘Coronation’, is built were present day School Board offices are.

First Catholic Mass offered in the sitting room of the above hotel by Father Peytavin.

The Methodist Church at Hegeman’s Corner was built by R.H. Peardon. The first school is built in Upper Salmon Arm (Dolan’s Corners) near the present Mt. Ida Hall.


The Gleneden Road is constructed to connect with the Valley Road at the Salmon River Bridge. The Old Enderby Road was built from the Haney property to Gardner Lake (near Ranchero) by a group of farmers. This was to get grain to Enderby to be ground into flour. J.D. McGuire recalled that he would start off at 4:30 am with a wagon and team to go to Enderby for flour and would arrive home late at night.

The Fruit Growers’ Association and the Salmon Arm Farmers’ Association were formed.

1897 The first horticultural exhibit was sponsored by the Fruit Growers’ Association. Fairs were held from 1897 – 1901, lapsed for three years and then were revived in 1905 to continue on to the present day.
1898 The Presbyterian Church was built on Beatty Street north of the tracks. The manse is still standing. The first minister was Rev. R.C. Pollock. The first school in town was a log structure built down near the tracks where Askew’s parking lot is now.
1900 A larger school is built on the site of what is now City Hall.

Salmon Arm East School was constructed on Shuswap Ave (near the present day Anglican Church).

First resident doctor, Dr. Reinhart, opens an office in town.


Salmon Arm is incorporated into a municipality. The first mayor, called ‘reeve’ then, was J. Harbell. Town councillors were r. Hobson, W. Baker, D. Sinclair, J. Johnson and H. Donnelly. The McGuire family offers a 12 acre lot as a surveyed town site and a lot for city hall. McGuire’s Grove was the unofficial city park and was situated across the tracks where the present day condominium development is.

McKay and Currie build a store on the western corner of Shuswap Ave. and Front Street.

This year was the start of what was considered Salmon Arm’s boom years, which peaked in 1912.

The Salmon Arm Farmer’s Exchange (S.A.F.E.) was founded. The farmers wanted to eliminate the middleman in their transactions, handling their own shipping and receiving and bulk purchases.


Salmon Arm’s first school board is elected.

Bank of Hamilton, the first bank in Salmon Arm, is established.


The first edition of the Salmon Arm Observer rolls off the presses on Oct 12 with George Armstrong as the first editor. The presses were housed temporarily in other stores in town until an Observer building was constructed.

The Anglican Church on Shuswap Ave. was built and the first minister was Rev. Ronald Hilton.

Carrol Block was built with a plumbing shop downstairs and a public hall upstairs. The hall became the Empress Theatre and downstairs eventually became the Tex Theatre, which showed movies on the day electricity came to Salmon Arm. The building is now Ready’s Drug Store.


The Montebello Hotel was built. The Hotel Alexandria is built up from the Vienna Restaurant on Hudson Street. It later becomes the Hudson Hotel and is now the Hudson Restaurant.

The Catholic Church was built on 2nd Ave. Father Michel from Kamloops gives services once a month.

First library in Salmon Arm. It was a traveling library from the provincial government.


The first Fire Brigade is formed.

The Methodist Church at Hedgeman’s Corners was closed and the congregation moved to town.

The Baptist Church was built with Pastor H.P. Thorpe answering the call.

The first Drug Store opened by A.L. Bedford.

Salmon Arm Cricket Club founded. First sports organization in community.

1910 First town band founded by Jack Leonard.

The first telephone system was installed in Salmon Arm.

The Mt. Ida Methodist Church was built to suit the spiritual needs of the Salmon Valley residents. It now sits in the R.J. Haney Heritage Park.

A private hospital operated in town in a house just south of the Cenotaph. A second one opened in a room in the Coronation Hotel. The R.K. Scales store was built where the McKay and Currie store was situated on the corner of Shuswap Ave. and Front Street.


Newnes Blacksmith Shop founded. Went on to become one of the North America’s largest sawmill equipment manufacturers.

The city of Salmon Arm was incorporated.

The first public hospital was opened in a house on Center Street.

The Bank of Commerce building was constructed on Alexander Ave. It now houses a variety of small shops and offices.


The present railway station was built on the south side of the tracks. The old station was on the north side and west by 100 yards. People complained about having to cross the tracks to get to town after getting off the train.

First fire department formed. First fire hall stood next to the courthouse on the west side.

Electricity comes to Salmon Arm. It was generated by a large diesel engine and generator and was only available between 5 pm and midnight.


Salmon Arm gets a municipal water system. The reservoir was on Mt. Ida above the cemetery.

Start of the Great War (WWI) and most of Salmon Arm’s men go off to fight.

1915 First creamery opens in town in a building across the tracks behind the present day SAAN store.
1920 First local library board founded with the books being housed in a room in city hall.
1927 First 12-bed hospital opened where the McGuire Lake Inn is situated. Previous “hospitals” were private ones run by nurses.
1928 Salmon Arm Golf Course first opened.
1929 Salmon Arm meat and produce founded by E.A. Palmer with Dick Askew as the manager. Went on to become Askew’s foods of today.
1930 Salmon Arm Courthouse was built.
1936 Salmon Arm Post office built. Later becomes the Salmon Arm Library and now is the Art Gallery.
1946 Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union was incorporated.
1949-50 Frost and temperatures of –35 degrees Fahrenheit kill many of the fruit trees in Salmon Arm. Orchard industry declines.
1950 Centenoka Ball Park built on site of present day Centenoka Park Mall.
1961 Salmon Arm Memorial Arena opens. Built by funds raised by the Salmon Arm Community Association (Salmar).
1962 Final segment of the Trans-Canada Highway (Rogers Pass) is opened. Salmon Arm’s tourism industry booms.
1967 Montebello Hotel burns down.
1967 Shuswap Park Mall with Askews Shop Easy is opened for business.
1968 Okanagan College begins classes at the old SASS.
1972 The last major flood. It comes up almost to Beatty St.
1973 The Fly Hills Fire.
1974 The new Post Office is completed.
1980 Centenoka Park Mall and Safeway is completed.
1981 The Golden Arches arrives… McDonalds.
1986 The new indoor pool opens. So does the new Wharf.
1987 North Broadview School, which was closed in 1986, is moved to Haney Heritage Park.
1997 The new SASS and Salmar Grande are opened.
1998 The Mount Ida Fire.
1999 The new RCMP Station is opened for business.

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