There’s a new sheriff in town at the 108 Heritage site.
He can found in the big Watson barn, guarding a prisoner behind the original bars of the old 100 Mile jail. It’s the newest exhibit at the Heritage site, which had to close all of its other buildings, including the museum and gift shop as well as church and schoolhouse, due to COVID-19. Weddings are also not allowed this year at the popular site.
“I love it, it’s so original,” said Ulli Vogler, president of the 100 Mile & District Historical Society, which runs the 108 Heritage Site. “It was always talked about that we should use the (bars) and do something, build a jail, but it’s a volunteer organization so you know how it is.”
The bars had been stored in the old barn for nearly 20 years before volunteer Mal Wood decided to run with the idea of the sheriff’s office – something that had been on the late Garry Babcock’s wanted list for some time. Using two stalls, he turned one of them into a cell – complete with a bunk and a chamber pot – and the other into the sheriff’s office, with a stove, a desk and rifle rack. Wanted posters line the walls.
The sheriff and the prisoner were created out of Share Shed mannequin relics and donated clothes, Wood said, with heads delivered from Amazon. The prisoner holds a sign asking for donations to get out on bail.
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“The idea, we were thinking, is we could arrest people and they have to pay $5 to get out. I don’t know for what – loitering, or not wearing a hat on a hot day,” said Wood, who joined the society last year. “I wouldn’t just arrest anybody. I was thinking maybe people like Donna Barnett or Al Richmond.”
Rob Babcock said his dad would be pleased with the exhibit because he wanted it to raise money for the society. He added Wood “amazed me. I don’t know how he moved half that stuff.”
The jail, which has been in place for about seven weeks, has already raised over $160 in donations – something that helps in these tight financial times. The closure of the museum and gift shop has put a significant crimp in the site’s finances, Vogler said. The group had hoped to hold a 50-person auction and dinner at the community hall, with dancing and food, but that will have to be postponed until spring under the COVID-restrictions prohibiting the use of community and banquet halls following a rise in COVID infections.
The group is now focusing on its outdoor Christmas market, slated for 11 am to 5 pm on Nov. 21. Although this market had previously been partly held in the old barn, it will be entirely outside this year because of the pandemic. Some 17 vendors have already signed up for the annual event, with theme ‘Heritage at Christmas’. Prizes will be awarded for the best-decorated booth and best-dressed vendor.
Meanwhile, the Heritage Market continues for another two weeks. More vendors signed up last weekend, selling everything from soaps, signs and woodwork to fresh vegetables, baked goods and jam. The market is free to vendors but they must register by calling the 108 Heritage site at 250-791-5288.
Vogler said she was also planning to arrange a few contests, including last weekend’s gem as to who has the biggest zucchini in their gardens.
“We will have fun,” she said.