The Hilborn home on Logie Road in Summerland was built by the Nelson brothers, who also built the buildings at the Summerland Research Station. (Contributed)

The Hilborn home on Logie Road in Summerland was built by the Nelson brothers, who also built the buildings at the Summerland Research Station. (Contributed)

Early Summerland researcher pioneered greenhouse use

Joseph Hilborn and his brother William advoacated greenhouse work in the early 1900s

Summerland’s Dominion Research Station was founded in 1914, but before that, there was an earlier federally funded research station in Summerland.

The facility was located on Logie Road and operated by famed horticulturist Joseph Hilborn.

The Hilborn brothers, William and Joseph, played prominent roles in the early days of Canadian agriculture. The idea about creating Agricultural Research Stations began with Prime Minister John A. MacDonald’s Bill 124 ‘An Act respecting Experimental Farm Stations’ (May 11, 1886.)

Canada’s first agricultural research station was the Central Research Station in Ottawa and William Hilborn was the station’s first horticulturist.

READ ALSO: Palmer worked with apple breeding program in Summerland

READ ALSO: Summerland researchers fighting to keep Canadian wine thriving

The Hilborn brothers grew up in Arkona, Ont. and since childhood, the brothers actively pursued agriculture. As teenagers, they experimented with new varieties of plants and shrubs.

One variety, created by the Hilborns, was the blackcap Hilborn raspberry.

William wrote articles for the Canadian Horticulturalist journal and was director of the Fruit Growers Association of Ontario. It was because of these early Hilborn brothers’ contributions to agriculture that attracted the attention of the federal government.

By 1891, William Hilborn became the director of the Southwestern Station, located near Leamington, in the County of Essex, Ontario. Joe Hilborn joined brother William and moved to Leamington. Joseph replaced William as the station’s director in 1907.

In 1909, the Joseph Hilborn family moved to Summerland to manage a federally funded experimental station. Hilborn named this new experimental farm, Kill Kare Fruit Farm.

In the fall of 1912, long time family friend, Alf McLachlan and his family moved to Summerland.

Since 1891, McLachlan had worked and lived at the Hilborn farms and greenhouses. The McLachlans purchased land directly adjacent to the Hilborns.

By 1914, Hilborn was receiving provincial funding from the British Columbia government. R.M. Winslow, British Columbia’s horticulturist, became director of the Hilborn’s operations. One of Joseph Hilborn’s assignments was to determine the potential for vegetable crops in the Okanagan’s dry climate. Hilborn produced scientific papers on growing cucumber, cantaloupe, eggplant, pepper, and tomato in B.C.’s Dry Belt.

The Hilborns were active in the community. In 1916, Hilborn was elected the president of the local Farmer’s Institute. As president, Hilborn made presentations to the provincial body expressing concerns about the Okanagan’s poor markets for fruits and vegetables.

Also in 1916, Joseph Hilborn was elected to the school board. His wife, Emma, was active in Summerland’s Women’s Institute and served as president for one term.

In 1920, the Hilborns decided to move to Victoria. Alf McLachlan acquired the Hilborn properties. This acquisition included two hectares of orchard land, four additional greenhouses and a larger home.

Today, Summerland’s first research station facility, Joseph Hilborn’s home, still exists on Logie Road, surrounded by greenhouses.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Agriculturehistory

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

 

Joseph Lundy Hilborn and Emma Hilborn moved to Summerland in 1909, where he managed a federally funded agricultural research facility. (Contributed)

Joseph Lundy Hilborn and Emma Hilborn moved to Summerland in 1909, where he managed a federally funded agricultural research facility. (Contributed)

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
EDITORIAL: Uneasy elements must be faced head-on

Electoral tensions in the United States could happen in Canada as well

(Pixabay)
‘Roadmap out of COVID-19’: Innovate BC’s program helping businesses recover

CEO Raghwa Gopal said the tech sector is here to help brick and mortar businesses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Most Read