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Posted: December 1, 2022

Forgotten Cranbrook remembered in new book

By Erin Knutson

Wildhorse Creek Press publisher and board member at the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History (CBIRH) Keith Powell suggested a book project to be co-authored by CBIRH Executive Director Erin Knutson, founder Derryll White and himself. So naturally, the CBIRH jumped at the chance to collaborate on an undertaking that would bring some of the Institute’s rarest images to life in ‘Forgotten Cranbrook.’

“This is a book I’m proud to co-author,” said Powell of bringing CBIRH’s extensive collection of work to the public.

Powell saw the incredible potential in the CBIRH’s archives which houses hundreds of thousands of historical images from the Basin, collected over two decades of work by White, dedicated staff members, and a board that continues to see the value in the preservation of history whether that’s images, architecture, or stories.

“They have an incredible photo collection, and I saw a way to tell a story about a town that grew from nothing into what it is today while showcasing this impressive body of work,” said Powell.

Choosing a chronology from 1880 – 1960, Powell stated that, in some ways, the book wrote itself, with Knutson, White, and himself taking a third each of the content in a careful collaboration.

“It went well – we had a common vision, and we ran with it,” he said.

For White, co-authoring the book was one of the greatest writing experiences of his career.

“We did an incredible job collaborating, and I would do it again and love to work this intensely on another project with the same team,” he said.

With the CBIRH’s board’s approval, the editorial team and graphic designer Barbara Smok went to work compiling ‘Forgotten Cranbrook,’ with 90% of the images from the CBIRH’s collection and the rest from their partners the Cranbrook History Centre and Kimberley Heritage Museum.

Profits from the book will be shared – the CBIRH structured a revenue-sharing model to support the Institute (a non-profit) and the publisher, which sponsors received warmly.

According to Powell, the book ran out of space for sponsors, a reflection of Cranbrook’s generosity and community spirit and one it is known for amongst local businesses.

“It warmed my heart to see the businesses on board with this prototype, a heritage book, with commercial support, and 14 sponsors who appreciated the concept and saw the value in these treasured images,” he said.

This local project includes 120 pages of historical photos of early Cranbrook and District accompanied by carefully researched text. It will feature many photos never or seldom seen before.

“Enjoy a copy of ‘Forgotten Cranbrook,’ the beginning of a legacy that will jog people’s memories as they enjoy the nostalgia of the good old days,” said Powell.

The new coffee table-style publication was an amiable fit with the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History and Wild Horse Creek Press. A portion of the proceeds will flow back to the non-profit Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History to support the preservation of regional history and help them to modernize with a Digital and Website Transformation.

Forgotten Cranbrook books will be available in early December and can be reserved at Huckleberry Books 250-426-3415 or the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History 250-489-9150.

Lead image: Derryll White and Keith Powell with a copy of Forgotten Cranbrook. Erin Knutson photo


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