The 101st Anniversary of the Rock Creek Farmers’ Institute was celebrated on Father’s Day with a tour of three of the area’s oldest barns. Each well over 100 years old—these barns were built to last, have been very well maintained and are in excellent working condition.
Ed Hatton built the Hatton barn, located on Canyon Road, just after the turn of the century, purportedly as shelter for workhorses used in Camp McKinney, a town that grew out of gold mining at the base of Mount Baldy in the late nineteenth century.
It is a towering, open structure that likely housed teams of horses used to transport ore from McKinney to Midway, where it was then shipped off to Nelson for processing.
Former resident Pat Henley, whose father Bill lived on the property until 1968, shared fond memories of growing up there, in a happy, though certainly challenging life. She recalled winter temperatures of -40 C, and the challenges of horticulture at such high elevations.
The Shaver barn, built by Samuel Shaver in 1906 and now owned by Wayne Klein, along with that built by Angus McLennan in 1898 on what is now the Fossen Ranch, are both working barns and testaments to the construction methods of the era. In addition to the barns, two of the ranches include original homes, built with massive timbers and featuring basement walls constructed with a mix of fieldstone and cement.
The builders of these structures made sure they would last a very long time indeed, and that they have.
Tour organizers Ed and Louise Fossen and Pat Campbell were pleased by the attendance of over 75 guests, and are already planning next year’s event.
The Rock Creek Farmers’ Institute continues to work within the community helping various organizations. “The money from sales of property and businesses over the years has allowed us to help financially each year in the area,” said Ed Fossen. “Examples of organizations we have helped are Parkview Manor in Midway, the Rock Creek Fall Fair and the Kettle Valley Bursary and Scholarship Society. As it did when it was formed in 1914, the institute continues to support the community and agriculture as well as striving to make new settlers welcome, and we look forward to another hundred years!”