For an area so rich in history, it’s strange that the lower Slocan Valley hasn’t had a group devoted to preserving its past — until now.
The Slocan Valley Historical Society was incorporated in November, two years after the idea began to germinate.
“There are people out there that have treasures — snippets of Slocan Valley history tucked away in their homes,” says Joyce Johnson, the group’s newly elected chair.
“I don’t know if they are ready yet to part with those treasures, but when they are I want to have a local, safe and secure option for them to consider. I want to see the Slocan Valley’s history stay in the Slocan Valley.”
To that end, Slocan village council has granted the group the humidity-controlled upstairs of its recently renovated office for a publicly accessible archives.
There are also plans for a digital photo archive.
“Lots of people have pictures they don’t want to part with but don’t mind sharing,” Johnson says. “It would be great to preserve them in a digital archive so everybody could look at them.”
Registering as a society lets them apply for grants to do the work, she adds.
The society’s area of interest stretches from South Slocan to Slocan City, including the communities, people, and geography therein.
There is not much overlap with other groups: Touchstones Nelson concerns itself only as far west as South Slocan, while the Silvery Slocan, Silverton, and Sandon historical societies deal primarily with the areas north of Slocan City.
Innes Cooper has amassed an astonishing collection as the one-man Slocan City Historical Group, but he lives in Armstrong.
“This is really an area where nobody has been able to bring together a group to say ‘We’re going to do something about making sure this history is preserved,’“ Johnson says.
She has lived in Slocan for about seven years and was drawn to local history through her interest in genealogy. But she soon discovered the difficulty in looking things up without a central repository.
“I’ve heard so many people tell stories, but it’s hard to access materials,” she says. “That was probably the beginning of my idea that we need something in one spot.”
The group recently named an executive and has about a dozen members, but hopes to add more.
Meetings are the last Thursday of each month at the W.E. Graham school library in Slocan from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The next one is February 23.
Memberships are $10 per person for the calendar year. Contact Johnson at 250-355-2740 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have project ideas or want to join.