iN PHOTOS: Why so many old barns in Kamloops, Okanagan still stand - InfoNews

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iN PHOTOS: Why so many old barns in Kamloops, Okanagan still stand

Alysha van Boven's photo of this barn on Lodge Road in Lake Country got a few people marvelling at these remnants of our past.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Alysha van Boven
February 06, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The old barns that once represented the early ranching days in the Okanagan are slowly disappearing and the question is becoming what, if anything, do we do with them.

Is our strange and general fascination with old barns worth keeping them around?

Take the Haynes Barn just north of Osoyoos Lake as an example.

“It’s deteriorating,” Karen Collins, president of the Okanagan Historical Society - Penticton, told iNFOnews.ca. “I have a feeling the barn has been let go too far that it would be too much of an expense to restore it.”

The barn was built in 1908, after the original barn burned down. The ranch belonged to the Judge James Carmichael Haynes' family and the nearby buildings are still standing. But Haynes’ customs house, which was closer to Osoyoos, had to be demolished some years ago.

The Haynes Barn near Osoyoos
The Haynes Barn near Osoyoos
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Karen Collins

It represents the early days of settlement in the Okanagan that was based largely around ranching. As ranching gave way to orchards, many of the old barns disappeared. Now, Collins noted, orchards are being converted to vineyards so remnants of that era of valley life are now disappearing.

“I think barns are beautiful,” Collins said. “I think a lot of people do.”

For Lake Country’s Alysha van Boven, a barn on Lodge Road (in the photo at the top) is special to her for a different reason - her great-grandfather helped Harold Takenaka build it in the early 1930s and her family lived across the road from it for many years.

“I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with old barns and any kind of old infrastructure, particularly from that era where people lived in a different way than we did,” she said. “It’s a bit of looking into the past. It’s nice to see how it’s in such good shape, seemingly.”

This old structure is also in Lake Country.
This old structure is also in Lake Country.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Fritz Priwall

Barns are not just for looking at. Some are still being used by ranchers. Others have been restored and converted into commercial uses.

But, as Collins noted, full restoration may be too expensive. Even propping them up and preserving them in their current condition would retain some of their history.

“From what I’ve been told is that inside (the Haynes barn), carved into the walls and into the steps, are initials of different cowboys and whatnot that worked on the ranch,” Collins said. “There are all kinds of interesting history that goes with it.

That sentiment is strongly supported by van Boven.

“I believe, unless it poses some kind of immediate danger - be it to people or the environment - we should be preserving these things,” she said. “The way our society is moving and everything is digital, it’s a forgotten era. Especially in a small community like Lake country, it’s nice still seeing bits and pieces of what was here 100 years ago."

Tobacco barn, Benvoulin Road in Kelowna
Tobacco barn, Benvoulin Road in Kelowna

Another example of history preserved is the old tobacco barn on Benvoulin Road in Kelowna. It pays homage to that long forgotten but once very prominent history.

Which gets us wondering, what are your favourite old barns and how would you best preserve them?

Send us your photos and any details you have about the barns (location, history, etc) to news@infonews.ca.

This barn is on the Gellatly Nut Farm in West Kelowna.
This barn is on the Gellatly Nut Farm in West Kelowna.

This barn is across the road from the Gellatly Nut Farm in West Kelowna.
This barn is across the road from the Gellatly Nut Farm in West Kelowna.

— This story was corrected at 8:23 a.m. Feb. 9. A previous version incorrectly identified the Haynes barn.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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