West Kelowna woods were once home to a hippie commune | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy
-0.8°C

Kelowna News

West Kelowna woods were once home to a hippie commune

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
June 13, 2020 - 7:30 AM

When historian Bob Hayes went looking for an old grave in remote West Kelowna, he had no idea what to expect.

Thirty years ago, Hayes drove the many narrow logging roads up into the woods to find the gravesite of Belgian immigrant Reverend Phillip Stocks. 

"The family lived out in Stocks Meadows, named after the family," he said. "When he died, he was buried on the property."

Stocks, originally from England, came with his wife and daughter by boat from Belgium in 1914 to live with their sons on the remote property, located about 30 kms from Kelowna. 

"(Stocks) had to actually be carried off the boat, that’s how frail his health was," Hayes said.

The Stocks likely fled Europe due to the war, and came to the Okanagan in search of a place where the Reverend's health could be restored, he said. 

Unfortunately, Stocks only lived in the meadow for two years, dying in 1916 at the age of 61. 

His family continued to live on the property in the cabins they built, but eventually dispersed through the valley.

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

The property was abandoned, until a group of locals saw it as an opportunity to live a better life. 

When Hayes found the grave, he came across a small hippie commune built in Stocks Meadow.

He recalls seeing half a dozen children of varying ages running around, and a myriad of dogs among the wooden cabins.

"This one gentleman came out, was a very nice younger fellow," he said. "Introduced himself, invited me into his little house."

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2014.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2014.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Forgotten British Columbia

Although he only stayed at the meadow for half an hour or so, the experience at the commune left an impression on Hayes.

"It had a nice feel to it, I have to say," he said. "I didn’t get the feeling when I was there that people were looking out the windows with guns ready to shoot me. I wasn’t uncomfortable at all."

The commune was populated from the late seventies until the early nineties. Hayes said he saw about half a dozen cabins, but wasn't able to look around further. 

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Not only were the people friendly, but they seemed to respect the land they had built their new life on.

"The people who were there, the commune, did respect it," Hayes said. "It wasn’t strewn with trash, they respected the grave, they were very welcoming."

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Long after the hippie community abandoned the area, Kelowna resident Olaf Dijkstra says heard about the old commune through a friend and decided to check it out. 

"I was kind of surprised to find this kind of hidden gem," he said.

He moved to Kelowna from the Netherlands nine years ago, and had never heard of the place.

Neither Dijkstra or Hayes know who currently owns the property, but Dijkstra noticed a small house nearby he believes is occupied and belongs to a caretaker.

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Dijkstra made sure not to specify the exact location of Stocks Meadow, and he is concerned vandals will find it, as they have in the past.

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

This is a dilemma facing many historians — deciding whether or not to make the public aware of an important piece of history, which could lead to its destruction.

In Hayes' view, it's not worth the risk.

Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Stocks Meadow, taken in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

"I think because it’s so remote, someone could go in and vandalize it and you might not know for months or years," he said.

"You might only get a few people a year going out there, but are they the ones that should be going out there?"

For now, the exact location of the abandoned commune will remain a mystery in order to preserve a fascinating piece of Okanagan history. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020
iNFOnews

  • Popular kamloops News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile