The horizontal road is South Victoria Road and the road going into the distance is Prairie Valley Road. The James Darke home is in the foreground and across the street is the Thomas Dale (Dale Meadows) residence. (Photograph courtesy of the Summerland museum)

Pioneer families lived in Summerland’s Prairie Valley area

Darke and Dale families played roles in community’s early history

Two Summerland pioneers once lived in the area near what is now the intersection of Prairie Valley Road and Victoria Road South.

The James Darke home in the foreground was across the street from the home of Thomas Dale.

James Alexander Darke (1876-1949) and his brother Robert Silas Darke (1860-1941) came to Summerland from Manitoba in 1901.

They preempted lands in Meadow Valley surrounding Darke Lake.

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James Darke had his lands north of the lake and Robert Darke had lands south of the lake.

Robert Darke had fought in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.

Darke Lake and Darke Lake Provincial Park are named after the brothers.

James Darke was responsible for building many of the stores in Lowertown and in West Summerland.

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When Summerland began to develop after 1902, James Darke and his wife Mary moved to Station Road (Victoria Road South) and lived there until James died in 1949, just days after the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary.

When the large roundabout was built in 2012, the historic Darke home was taken down.

John and Tom Dale and Annie Dale came to Summerland from Manitoba and bought orchard land in the Prairie Valley Area.

Tom Dale’s daughter, Ruth Dale, taught school in Summerland for more than 42 years.

The Dales were active in the Summerland Baptist Church. Ruth Dale and her mother both served as organists at the church.

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