The village might be 60 this year, but Alice Wilson has been a Montrose homesteader longer than that.
Alice was a teenaged bride back in 1950, living on the mountainside of West Trail with her husband Albert.
That’s when the newlyweds packed up their belongings and moved east and up another steep range, this time to the unincorporated rural expanse of Montrose.
“My husband had a couple of friends that wanted to go into the business of building houses in Montrose and mentioned that to him” she explains. “There were a few houses when we moved out here, maybe 20 or 30, a general store and a gas station.”
But that was it.
The young couple first settled on a plot located at what is now 6th Avenue and 11th Street, and there began the Wilson’s rich family history that has so far, spanned 66-years in Montrose.
“We had an outside toilet, and just a water line that came in from the street and froze every winter,” Alice fondly recalled. “We had a coal and wood stove, and we actually lived in our garage when we first moved out here.”
She remembers the first fire hall down the way from the family’s second home on Third Street, the first post office, and the many dances, parties and bingo nights in the Montrose hall, a communal gathering place built by volunteer hands.
And Alice wouldn’t change a thing. After selling the family home to one of her six children, she can still see her grandson’s home from her village duplex, and Alice’s two daughters and granddaughter live just blocks away.
They still get together every Sunday for a family dinner and the beloved matriarch, now 85, says she’s blessed to watch her great grandchildren grow.
“We moved here because I wanted to live in a small place, not a city,” said Alice, originally from the Kelowna area. “Montrose has been such a good community, that’s why I don’t ever want to leave.”
The Village of Montrose is ready to celebrate its 60th anniversary on Saturday with a full roster of events set for Family Fun Day.
The 10th Annual Antenna Trail Hike kicks off the day from 8-10 a.m. with a free pancake breakfast for all participants, sponsored by Area A Director Ali Grieve.
The parade begins at 11 a.m., running down 9th Avenue between Third and Seventh Street.
Montrose Park concession opens at 11:30 a.m., beer gardens from noon until 8 p.m., and family -friendly activities as well as Little League baseball are slated to run the afternoon.
A special 60th anniversary activity called the EuroBungy has been brought into the park for children ages six and older. Weather permitting, kids can be safely tethered into a harness while they jump, flip or fly up to 25 feet in the air.
Volunteers are baking up a storm for the 3 p.m. cake walk in the community hall, followed by a steak and hamburger dinner from 5-7 p.m.
Long time volunteer Barb Leavitt reminds the community that they don’t have to be from Montrose to attend – everyone is welcome for a full day of food and fun.
The festivities culminate with a fireworks show at dusk courtesy of the village’s volunteer department.