By J.D. Jeffery
It’s 1958 and the newly formed Historical Society decided to mark its independence from the Board of Trade by burying a time capsule that was registered with the provincial archives and scheduled to be opened in 2058.
It contained articles of local and historical interest to valley residents and was sealed in the entrance step of the Centennial Building, later known as the Lion’s Club.
In February 2005 the building was moved and the vault, containing the time capsule, accidentally opened when the steps were separated from the building. It was discovered that the capsule lid came off and the contents were strewn inside. You can view the contents, as they were found, in a display found in the school house on the museum grounds.
Over the next few years, the museum collection grew and with no place to call home the items were placed in boxes and travelled from meeting to meeting. The Society ran this way for many years until 1964 when the first building came to the museum.
Crooks Cabin was built in 1942 by Charles and Ray Crook in Kootenay National Park on the Crook homestead, that is now Crook’s Meadows. It was built to be part of their auto camp that housed tourists passing through the park.
After the Crook’s sold their property to Kootenay National Park, the parks rented out the cabin, like Charles, to tourists wanting to experience the area. In 1954, Parks Canada moved the cabin a quarter mile down the road near Kootenay Crossing for use as accommodations for the warden looking after the Kootenay River fire look-out. The log cabin was then moved to be part of Kay’s Cabin, five miles east of Radium Pools, to add to the warden’s station.
In 1964 the Windermere District Historical Society purchased the cabin from Kootenay National Park and moved the 14 x 23-foot cabin to the south end of Pot Hole Park where it was officially opened in May of 1965 by MLA James Chabot and Village Chairman A.E. Erickson.
The Historical Society now owned its first building and was able to “house” their travelling collection of artifacts and have an on-site place for their books and documents. It opened as “The Littlest Museum in Canada” and remained there until 1976 when it was moved to its current location at the museum complex.
Learn more about what’s happening at the museum by visiting www.windermerevalleymuseum.ca.