Peachland historian hits the road for his new book

You can cruise down Minto Street, cycle up Columbia Avenue or walk the dog on Logan Drive.

You can cruise down Minto Street, cycle up Columbia Avenue or walk the dog on Logan Drive.

They’re the names of the roads that Peachlanders use on a daily basis, but they’re also clues to the history of a storied community.

At least that’s the way Don Wigfield sees it.

Wigfield is a Peachland historian and member of the Peachland Historical Society’s board of directors.

He will be at the Peachland Museum on Monday Sept. 5, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to launch his newest book: The Roads of Peachland.

The book provides detailed descriptions of Peachland’s roads, including how they got their names and the intriguing stories behind many of the community’s most colourful pioneers.

“Peachland has an amazing history of having named its streets after people that have lived and done things to Peachland to make it a better place,” said Wigfield.

“It really is remarkable how Peachland has, consistently over the years, done that and sort of kept its history alive.”

The book, which is nearly 100 pages long, breaks down the story of each road.

“There are 139 streets in Peachland; the book indicates where the name of all but three of them came from,” said Wigfield.

Initially, Wigfield was unaware of the origin of a number of street names.

“We’ve got a street called Princess Street. Who was the princess? That one we got to the bottom of. There was another street called Lilly Street. Who was Lilly? Again, we got to the bottom of that.”

The three roads that are still mysteries are: York Lane, Turner Avenue and Arthur Street.

Wigfield’s composition also adds some background information chronicling a time before Peachland had any roads.

“It has an introduction, which has the history of Peachland prior to it being founded in 1898 when, at that point, there were no roads whatsoever because there was nothing there,” said Wigfield.

“Then it leads on to the situation where J.M. Robinson founded the town.”

Delving years back into Peachland’s early days is, to be understated, challenging; however, Wigfield thoroughly enjoyed the process.

“Going around to see various people and getting that kind of information was the sort of thing that I find a lot of fun.”

The former scientist got some help from Peachland Memories: A two-volume set of books that was produced in 1985.

“A group of Peachlanders got together and interviewed all the old timers that were around at the time. They put down a lot of information about what Peachland had been all about.

“It’s not a particularly organized sort of a book, but there’s a lot of information in it.”

According to Wigfield, the second volume of the book is all about the various families that lived in Peachland. Using this information he was able to find a correspondence between some families mentioned in the book and current road names in Peachland.

Wigfield also used the knowledge of Don Wilson, curator of the Peachland Museum, and other residents of Peachland who have been around the community for the majority of their lives.

This was essential for Wigfield because, surprisingly, he’s only lived in Peachland for five years.

Wigfield will be signing copies of The Roads of Peachland from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Labour Day at the Peachland Museum.

The book, which was published by Wigfield and the Peachland Historical Society, is available for purchase at the museum. It costs $20 and all proceeds go to the Peachland Historical Society.

 

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