The Okanagan Falls Heritage & Museum Society

1145 Main Street PO Box 323
Okanagan Falls, British Columbia V0H 1R0 Canada
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About

It was 1876 when Okanagan Falls became a settlement originally called “Dogtown” at the south end of Dog Lake, which is now called Skaha Lake, south of Penticton, BC. The area was once a major meeting and trading center for the local aboriginal people. It was one of the best canoe routes to the Columbia River, and the Pacific Ocean. Okanagan Falls was established because of its strategic location for shipping and freight both along water and the Kettle Valley railway. Later it was recognized as a prime location for ranching and fruit growing.

In 1893, William J. Snodgrass, of Portland, Oregon, USA, presented himself at the Osoyoos border crossing declaring himself to be a settler. Snodgrass envisioned Okanagan Falls as a place where four railroads would eventually intersect. He set about planning the area to become a thriving metropolis, including railway repair and marshalling yards, a hospital, and even a college and a shopping centre. But his visions were to remain dreams; the railroads didn’t take the bait. Undaunted, he began to create the town of his dreams by himself. He became a sawmill operator, a hotelier, and he ran a general store and freighting business.

Sadly, in time, Snodgrass realized that he could not compete with new towns like Penticton and Summerland. Very few people took him up on his offer of $100 lots. Finally he gave up the fight to create his queen city and returned to Portland a broken and bitter man.

In the early 1950’s the falls were blasted to accommodate a flood control system throughout the length of the valley. The falls, as we knew them, were gone forever. But, their memory remains in our name.

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Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Thu 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Fri 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Sat 12:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Sun Closed

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