SOOKE HISTORY: From farmhouse to townhouse

Wadams Way farm land dates back 100 years

Olive Wadams photographed on the steps of her home in 1942. The house was built around 1919 by Austrian Antony Kohout. (Sooke Region Museum)

Elida Peers | Contributed

For some time, there’s been discussions and plans underway on the future use of the Wadams property on Church Road, and whenever the development is finished, it will create a high-density housing area in contrast to the simple farmhouse there for 100 years.

In 1942, Olive Wadams was photographed on the steps of her home, which the family called Forshaw for their earlier home in England.

The house was built around 1919 by Austrian Antony Kohout.

Employed as a shipyard worker in Victoria, it was rumoured he lost his job during the First World War due to his pro-German sympathies.

While he built this simple house, he was clearly a man of entrepreneurial spirit as he soon sold this place and set up a new venture at Whiffin Spit, where he constructed several cabins as an auto court, and then a tea house.

This property was the forerunner of Sooke Harbour House, built in 1930, and the beginning of the reputation for hospitality which became so celebrated during the tenure of several owners over succeeding years.

Peter and Olive Wadams were farmers at heart and the Church Road gardens thrived under Peter’s tender care; he became recognized as a perennial winner at the annual Sooke Fall Fair.

Olive, too, was known for farming and home-making skills, and shone in needlework, recognized with many awards at fairs, including the Pacific National Exhibition.

The farm property, which will soon house many residents, provided pasture for a couple of cows, which were raised for beef and milk, and provided the fertile base that produced a plethora of old-fashioned flowers of just about all kinds.

This striking harvest of colour and scents didn’t remain behind the fence; everyone knew to call Olive when flowers were needed for a celebration. Regularly Olive picked her precious blossoms and walked about downtown, delivering them to all – her way of sharing the farm’s bounty.

In 2014, the municipality created a new street: Wadams Way. We’ve heard that in the last couple of years, Roosevelt elk have been seen within the woods adjoining the Wadams farm.

While Peter passed away decades earlier, and Olive in 2004, we expect they each would have been thrilled at a glimpse of elk, foraging among the trees.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

It’s lunchtime

A hungry sea lion grabs a quick salmon lunch on the Sooke… Continue reading

Saanich police seek public’s help in locating missing twins

Jackie Wilson and Valerie Nolin, 54, were last seen Friday afternoon at Tuscany Village

Traffic delayed near Saanich, West Shore border after driver collides with telephone pole

Police remind drivers roads to slow down on slippery, winding roads

Three VicPD officers honoured with award of valour from Lieutenant Governor

The officers were among 114 BC law enforcement member recognized for bravery and dedication

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

Mosaic Forest Management announces forestry shutdown

Thousands of forestry workers in Coastal B.C. will be affected by ‘curtailment’

Appeal dismissed for B.C. man who assaulted woman in ‘thoroughly modern’ fight over phone

‘Both were seeking evidence of cheating by the other,’ says B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

University of Victoria threatens any athletes who speak about rowing coach probe

Barney Williams has been accused of harassment and abuse

B.C.’s largest catholic archdiocese names 9 clergymen in sex abuse report; probes ongoing

Vancouver Archdioces presides over 443,000 parishoners in B.C.

Wolverines eye big prize as basketball season nears

‘We know what we’re capable of doing this year’

Eagles congregate around Salish Sea for one last feast before period of famine

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society preparing to receive birds in need of care

Smudging in B.C. classroom did not affect Christian family’s faith, says school district lawyer

Lawyers make closing arguments in a Port Alberni case about the Indigenous cultural practice

Most Read