An exterior view of the former Dilkusha House. (File photo)

Memory of Salmon Arm’s former Dilkusha House preserved

Okanagan Historical Society releases 83rd annual report

This year’s Okanagan Historical Society report celebrates a piece of Salmon Arm’s history inside and out.

The report’s cover, with the tulip orchard in the foreground and Shuswap Lake in the background, takes the reader back to 1928, the glory days of Dilkusha.

The Dilkusha house was built in the early 1900s near the present-day recreation centre. The house, with its British India inspired style, was built by Lt. Col. Bernard Scott.

“Col. Scott made a pre-retirement trip to Salmon Arm and they came to live here in 1912 after he completed his military service in India,” said Maureen Shaffer. “He started experimenting with tulips as a side-line crop in 1919. He started with 40 dozen tulip bulbs and by 1928 he was sending them all over Canada.”

Maureen’s history of the Dilkusha house, which spans the years 1912 to 2017, is one of three stories of the Salmon Arm area and one of 35 in this year’s report.

“This is our 83rd issue,” said Diane Ambil. “It’s the longest continually published society report in B.C. We publish it in book form; not all societies do.”

Diane is the Salmon Arm branch editor of the Okanagan Historical Society (OHS). Other branches include Armstrong-Enderby, Kelowna, Oliver-Osoyoos, Penticton, Summerland and Vernon.

Maureen is the secretary of the Dilkusha Heritage Society. When she heard the building was slated for demolition she got involved because the fifth owners of the house, Ian and Shirley Williams, were close friends. Although Shirley passed away several years ago, Maureen felt Shirley would have fought hard to preserve it.

Read more: City asked to help preserve memory of Orchard House

Read more: LETTER: The mystery of Dilkusha

“Shirley was one of my best friends and her girls were friends with my girls. It was a friendship we all treasured. There were many happy memories there.”

The society wasn’t successful in their efforts to save the house from demolition, but they preserve its memory in presentations and stories.

“We believe that Salmon Arm, as a community, has a responsibility to pay tribute to Dilkusha and the Scott family to recognize, in perpetuity, their many contributions to the community, to agriculture, and to history,” said Maureen.

The OHS report cover comes from Salmon Arm artist Linda Franklin’s rendition of the Dilkusha tulip field. (The picture is part of a triptych by Lazuline artists Franklin, Lisa Figueroa, and Tracey Kutschker; it is owned by the Salmon Arm Credit Union).

The OHS 83rd report is available at Bookingham Palace and Hidden Gems. The cost of $27 includes membership in the Okanagan Historical Society.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Maureen Shaffer and Diane Ambil with the Okanagan Historical Society’s 83rd report. The report is available at local bookstores. (Leah Blain photo)

Just Posted

Salmon Arm to hold two peaceful protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

June 4 and 6 protests to fight for justice for victims of police brutality, against systemic racism

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

Sicamous RCMP catch driver going twice the speed limit

The car was impounded for seven days and the driver received a hefty fine

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Province looks to seize Kelowna home owned by alleged drug trafficker

Michelle Collins and Nigel Byrne were also recently investigated by Kelowna RCMP for drug trafficking

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Highway 1 closed after body found near Hope

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Most Read