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

Heather Smart poses with her certificate as the first women in a decade to earn this credential in the Kootenays. (Contributed)
Local shift boss blazing the way for women

Heather Smart is the first women in the Kootenays in ten years to receive this certification

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

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

A CP grain car has derailed near Field, causing a power outage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Train derailment knocks out power in Field

Power is not expected to be restored until tomorrow

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C, Tuesday (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

A 29-year-old Abbotsford woman twice crashed her car near Princeton on Saturday,… Continue reading

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Kamloops RCMP covered the animal with a blanket and dragged it out of the home on a carpet. (Kamloops This Week)
Oh ‘deer’: Bambi breaks into Kamloops home

A deer got trapped into a Kamloops home and had to be escorted out by RCMP

Lesley Lutes, UBCO professor of psychology and director of the Centre for Obesity and Well-being Research Excellence. (Submitted)
UBCO psychologist part of Bell Let’s Talk virtual panel tonight at 6 p.m.

Panel will talk about coping under the stress of this pandemic

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through Okanagan Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

A Cougar was caught on camera at a Coldstream Estates residence early Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (Brad Thomas photo)
VIDEO: Cougar caught on camera in Coldstream

A Coldstream Estates resident captured early-morning footage Wednesday

Superstore
Three employees test positive for COVID-19 at Okanagan Superstore

Penticton 7 Eleven has reopened after closing for a week for COVID

Most Read