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Ranching Days


Osoyoos was thus first recorded as a stopping-place on the fur-trade route and then became a crossroads of travel. Its next activity was cattle ranching. Haynes and a partner, W. H. Lowe, gradually acquired 21,000 acres of land and 3,000 head of cattle. The mining camps of the surrounding districts provided a ready market for all the meat that could be produced. After Haynes' death this land was bought by Thomas Ellis, a cattle king based in Penticton, who at one time owned most of the valley from Naramata to the Canadian border.

With the valley floor and bench land thus occupied, early settlement really began on the mountain plateaus. Some families took up land on Anarchist Mountain as early as the Rock Creek gold rush days to grow needed produce, and feed for horses. Others drifted, in the 1890s, into grain growing in the Kruger Mountain and Richter Mountain areas. Climatic conditions were then favourable for dry farming. Later the weather changed, the summers became drier, and all the land has now reverted to range. The little farm houses are long deserted. A typical one can be seen at Kilpoola Lake on Kruger Mountain. This was the home of the Lacey family for some years.

Richter Mountain and Richter Pass are named for F. X. Richter, a Cawston settler of 1860. He bought land in Osoyoos but did not develop it. Part of this is now the Osoyoos town site. Mr. Richter did however build a very handsome ranch house in Richter Pass in the 1880's, and this has the original fretwork carving on the verandas to this day. Because of a deep road cut, this is not now visible from the highway.