Girouard Cabin and Park - Vernon, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 50° 15.839 W 119° 16.801
11U E 337502 N 5570469
Quick Description: This little cabin was built by Luc Girouard, a transplanted Quebecer, in 1867.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 8/2/2020 10:00:50 AM
Waymark Code: WM12XMF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
The cabin was the first home and the first post office to be built in the City of Vernon, then known as Priest's Valley. Luc lived in it until 1893, at which time he built a larger house nearby.

Actually, it's quite remarkable that this cabin still exists. After standing neglected and derelict for close to 30 years, it was adopted by the Lawn Bowlers of the city, who moved it then subjected it to no less than three quarters of a century of use and abuse as their clubhouse. As well as suffering a fire, the cabin has been moved a second time and finally restored by the Vernon and District Heritage Society. It has been a Municipal Heritage Site since 1981.
Description of Historic Place
The Girouard Cabin and Park is a small park at the west end of downtown, northwest of 30th Ave. It includes the restored log cabin of Luc Girouard, built ca. 1867.

Heritage Value
The Girouard Cabin and Park is valued for its association with the process of human settlement in Vernon. In the pre-European era a First Nations trail crossed the creek just south of the rock. It was known as Nintle-Moos-Chin, the anglicized version of the original Interior Salish name, which meant 'Jumping Over Place'. In 1860, the Oblate missionaries established a priest’s house on Swan Lake Creek, a temporary residence used when the priest visited from the mission at Okanagan Mission. In 1871, the trail was upgraded to form a wagon road, connecting Kamloops and the head of the Okanagan Lake to White Valley and Cherry Creek. With the laying out of Centreville as the first Vernon town site in 1885, the wagon road became Coldstream Avenue, a distinctive road that cut across the formal grid of the town plan.

The site is further valued for its association with Luc Girouard, a Quebecer who came from the California gold fields around 1861 to prospect for gold on Cherry Creek. In 1867, he pre-empted 160 acres west of Swan Lake Creek. He was Vernon’s first permanent resident, building a log cabin at the northeast corner of his pre-emption, just below the rock. He cleared the land and planted Vernon’s first commercial orchard. His ditch to the creek was Vernon’s first irrigation system. In 1884, a post office was established for Priests Valley, and Girouard was appointed the first Postmaster. The post office was in his log cabin from 1884 until 1891, when he resigned. In later years, Girouard built a wood frame cottage and the cabin became a chicken coop. Girouard donated land in 1884 for Vernon’s first cemetery. He was buried there in 1895.

The Girouard Cabin is further valued for its association with civic efforts to recognize and preserve it. In 1921, a group of citizens moved the derelict building to Polson Park, where it was repaired and turned into a clubhouse for the Vernon Lawn Bowling Club. For 75 years, the cabin served this function and was the social centre for an active and successful club. The cabin was designated as a municipal heritage site in 1981. By 1997, the club needed a larger building and the City became concerned about the condition of the building, which had suffered a fire in 1982. In 1997, the Vernon and District Heritage Society, with the help of students from Vernon Secondary School, moved the building to a new location in Girouard Park, about 70 meters from its original site. They undertook the restoration of the building at this time. Although much restored, the cabin retains its original form and scale, as well as many of its original dovetailed logs.

The park is also associated with other pioneer families. Girouard sold this part of his property to Gideon Milligan, co-lessee of the Okanagan Hotel, and later owner of the Victoria Hotel. He built a brick cottage, which was purchased in 1891 by F. B. Jacques, an early jeweller in Vernon. The house and large garden became a renowned beauty spot in Vernon. Girouard's original orchard was on the property, as were mulberry trees he had brought from France. It remained in the Jacques family until 1975, when the City bought the property to extend the roadway. Another piece of the park was occupied by a store owned by W. F. Cameron, Vernon's first mayor. In 1939, the Vernon and District Horticultural Society plowed and seeded a portion of the property, then known variously as Cameron or Pioneers Park and placed a large memorial stone there.
From the City of Vernon Heritage Register, Page 49
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

3001 35th Street
Vernon, BC

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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