Brent's Grist Mill - The Building of a Mill and a Community

Creator(s): Central Okanagan Heritage Society

The First Mill in Kelowna, British Columbia

Frederick Brent was one of the earliest settlers in the Kelowna region of British Columbia, and when he built a grist mill there in 1871, it was the first industrial enterprise in the Okanagan Valley. It was an amazing accomplishment. Brent went to San Francisco to find what he needed, then imported a portable mill, a hopper and other necessary supplies. It took a ship, freight wagon, river steamer, a borrowed home-made wagon, row boat, and horse-drawn sledge to get the mill to its new home on Brent's land. It was a testimony to pioneer determination.

Through photographs, images and text, this Community Memories exhibit explores and brings to life the story of Brent and the mill's arduous journey. It is more than just the tale of a man and a mill; it shows the relationship of the mill to a growing community within an agricultural economy and underscores its importance as an example of the legacy of the early pioneers. The exhibit ultimately discovers that the grist mill is an apt metaphor for a province searching for roots beyond the fur trade economy upon which it was established.

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