Hullcar and Deep Creek
Community Hall Society

II. Taming the Land

This resulting influx of immigrants from across the British Empire was helped by feverishly optimistic advertisements about the possibilities of orchard growing in the Okanagan. Most of them had no experience in the business of farming. It soon turned out that the North Okanagan climate, marked by hot, arid summers and frigid winters, was a challenging environment to survive in. When Stanley Parkinson arrived in Hullcar in 1879 he found himself living in a tent for the first year, painstakingly felling trees to clear land to farm while enduring winter storms that regularly dumped over 6 feet of snow. He recounted how this was not the promised land of milk and honey as so many adverts had claimed. Relying on his new neighbours to teach him farming and survival skills, he forged close bonds of friendship with Hullcar's other first residents out of necessity. Stories similar to Parkinson's were repeated by almost every new family that moved into Hullcar in these early years. These ties between the original families--the Sharpes, Lynnes, Cranes, Plattens, Smiths and Skeltons, to name a few--helped create a sense of shared hardship and community that was borne out of the pioneering spirit that led them to Hullcar in the first place.

Whereas the fruit orchards these families came to plant mostly thrived in the South Okanagan, the North Okanagan's harsher winters meant a single cold snap could kill off an entire year's harvest. After learning this the hard way, most of Hullcar's new farmers stuck to mixed farming--dairy, cereal crops, celery and lettuce--instead of risking their livelihoods on temperamental fruit trees. To be fair a few apple orchards located on higher slopes were able to survive, the Maws being a particular success story(See the photographs of the Hall used as an apple packing factory. Circa. 1916). Unfortunately the heady encouragement of B.C.'s Ministry of Agriculture meant many more attempts at planting fruit orchards in this inhospitable environment and many more winters that left Hullcar farmers in financial ruin. Another important source of income for the pioneers was logging: Given the pines that needed clearing from all over the area, it was only natural that sawmills be established. In addition to these sawmills, many logs were taken to the Enderby sawmill to be processed which at one point carried the disction of largest sawmill in the province.


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