The South Peace Historical Society and archives celebrated 70 years with an open house this past weekend.

Since 1952, the society has documented the history and heritage of the Peace River Block and surrounding areas. Society president Lynn Washington says she’s proud of the work accomplished by the archives, and the many volunteers who’ve put in countless hours helping the organization and the community, week after week, and year after year.

“We’re excited and want people to know that we’re here, and want them to know about our program and what it’s capable of,” she said, referring to the online portal that contains hundreds of photos documenting the South Peace in addition to stories.

“We’re hoping for lots of new members, that’s our big thing, let’s get some people who are interested in it and want to volunteer.”

While the society and archives has put a great number of books out, documenting and preserving local history through works such as ‘Lure of the South Peace’, its next aim moving forward to is collect more stories from the outlying areas such as Groundbirch, Bessborough, Progress, and Doe River.

“What we need to be doing now is more outreach for more stories, and I would like to get more documentation from the outlying areas,” said Washington.

Day Roberts, former society president and now vice president, says he’s proud of the work accomplished by the group, most notably the establishment of the Walter Wright Pioneer Village, which has been a gem of the town since it was moved in 1981 to its current location.

“It’s a great organization,” he said. “It takes a lot of doing to put all this together, we’re looking for volunteers all the time.”

A retired newsman and journalist himself, Roberts was the sportswriter for the Peace River Block News for 22 years, among many other roles in town – most notably as a photographer, and dropped off a fresh set of albums dating back over 30 years at a recent open house.

Roberts captured many highlights and milestones in Dawson Creek, including a visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1971, a visit by actor Leslie Nielsen in 1992, the establishment of the NAR Station Museum, and much more.

Roberts celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year and says he’s looking forward to his 91st, quite possibly with a pint at the Legion, another community organization where he’s served as a long-time member.  

Another open house is being planned for later this month at the NAR museum, and one more is to be hosted when the pioneer village opens for the summer.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News

Tom Summer is a Peace Region journalist and has been covering the courts and more in the pages of the Alaska Highway News and Dawson Creek Mirror since 2016. Born and raised in Hudson's Hope, he's also one of the first reporters to take part in the Local Journalism Initiative, delivering news to communities in Northeast BC. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire journalists or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for The content produced...