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With thanks to Edwd. Affleck, Roger Burrows, Martin Ross, Gary Montgomery, Constance and Chris Graf, Val Moker, Glayda Wilkinson and Marjorie Fitzpatrick, John Betenia, Ray Johnson, Eldon Wales, Charles Bohi and L.S. Kozma, Art Damstrom, Olga Bakken, the Sand Creek Historical Book Committee, the Fernie & District Historical Society, Naomi Miller and the East Kootenay Historical Society.
Southern Settlements and their Logging Shows
Hanbury and Manistee
Midway and Minerals
Galloway and Caithness
Smuggling on Highway 95
Tobacco Plains and the Ktunaxa
East on the Crowsnest Highway from the Wardner Bridge, nearing the top of the grade that since the realignments of 1971 have lifted the Highway out of the Kootenays valley for the last time, Rosicky Road branches off to the right. For a traveller who doesnt mind a bit of grit, Rosicky is an excellent little detour. While the Highway hustles pretty directly through the sickly woods of skinny Lodgepole pine and glossy-green-leafed poplar, Rosicky takes its time, dropping back down into the Kootenays valley to rejoin what must have been the last miles of the old Wardner-Fort Steele Road until the latest re-alignments. A few kilometres downstream Rosicky affords a pretty good look at the old Railway bridge piers as it welcomes the old Highway as the latter emerges from the waters of Lake Koocanusa. CP replaced McGilvary and Leesons original 1898 bridge after the flood-swollen River damaged the piers during the springs of 1908 and 1909, and in 1917 returned to the site, substituting four steel through-truss spans for the old wooden structures.
The old Warder-Fort Steele Road is part of the ancient route along the more easily-travelled left bank of the Kootenay River. It doubtless started as a game trail; bears and canids following the trail of game animalselk, deer, moose and probably bisonas they poked along the Rivers edge, looking for something tasty to chew or an easy place to come down to the water for a drink or to cross. Native Americans, hunting the same game as the carnivores, patrolled the trail at least as far back as 6800 Before Present, evidenced by the shoreline artefacts found beneath the Mt. Mazama ash layer. David Thompson of the North West Company took advantage of the route when he arrived in the region in 1807. With the establishment of Fort Steele in 1887, and the opening up of the mines in the Mark Creek area on the western side of the Rocky Mountain Trenchthe Kootenays valleyin the 1890s, the route was industrialized into a waggon and sleigh road to facilitate the movement of goods up from Kalispell, Montana Territory, established when the Great Northern Railway built its mainline through during the winter of 1891/ 92. Use of what soon became the Kalispell - Fort Steele Road hit its high-water mark with the construction of the BC Southern in 1897-98 when some 40 to 50 waggons per day plodded up from Kalispell, according the Flashback Committees report in Forests, Farms and Families: A History of the Jaffray, Galloway and Sand Creek Communities (The Sand Creek Historical Book Committee, 1995), History of the Village of Big Sand Creek. Each waggon would have been pulled by a minimum of four horses or mules, or maybe a brace of oxen, and all those animals, and the teamsters such as James Edison Dilts1 who drove them, required rest stations where they could get a feed and, in the case of the animals, be relieved of duty by replacements. Big Sand Creek, perhaps 15 or 18 rough kilometres down the River from the old Wardner bridge, was such a place. Its history is a bit obscure, but in fact surveyor T.T. McVittie laid out a pair of lots at the mouth of Big Sand Creek in September of 1887. On his survey plat registered that November, McVittie noted the lots as timbered all with Black Pine, Yellow Pine, Fir & Tamarac. Apparently the Kootenay Land Company acquired the properties in 1889. Sometime in the early 90s, William Stephan Santo and W.E. Johnson reportedly bought a lot of 179 acres at the mouth of the Creek and raised barns, bunk houses, a blacksmithy, a trading post, and, to draw the riverboats which were beginning to beat up and down the River, a landing. In 1895, Robert Henry Bohart, perhaps tiring of driving teams up and down the Road, settled on the Creek, bought a property and built a hotel in 1897, the year that the Spokane and Fort Steele Telegraph Company completed its line up the Kootenay between Fort Steele and Kalispell. Designating the settlement a landing in its 1898 edition, the Hendersons Gazetteer and Directory noted that Santo and Johnson were operating a general store and hotel.
The completion of the BC Southern through southern British Columbia in 1898 killed the utility of the Kalispell Road, except that J.J. Hills Crows Nest Southern Railway, building into the Crowsnest Pass from Jennings, Montana, followed it closely nearly to Sand Creek. The old Road was well on its way to reverting to a game trail by 1907.
Despite being snubbed by the CNS, Sand Creek settlement hung on, sending men into the woods in the employ of the several lumbering companies which set up mills along the railroads on the Kikomun doab.2 There were ten school-aged children in the area by 1923, enough that the Department of Education financially helped their parents to raise a rustic log-walled school for them. This was replaced in 1930 by a lumber-built structure which was expanded two years later and designated the Sand Creek Superior School. In 1934 the School cancelled senior classes for want of pupils who were, in the depth of the Depression, needed to work in their familys enterprises. The pupil boom was truly over by 1940, however, and from then on the younger children made their way seven miles up the Creek to Jaffray to attend classes, while the older students went to near-by Waldo. There are now no children at Sand Creek, the little community having been drowned by the rising waters of Lake Koocanusa.
Rosicky Road, having collected the ghost traffic from the old Highway, turns its back on Lake Koocanusa and, passing Colvalli Road teeing off southward, climbs the sun-soaked slopes of the Kootenays valley and slips into a forest of spindly evergreens and thin, quaking poplar-like trees to return to the Highway, heading for Jaffray.
In what must be the most bizarre episode in this regions history, the Doabs lands here-abouts were subject to what Ed Affleck calls in his collection of reminiscences entitled Kootenay Pathfinders: Settlement in the Kootenay District 1885 - 1920, a fruit rush. By the mid-19-aughts word of the salubrious climate in the Okanagan valley had permeated moneyed British society. Like mining a decade earlier, it became chic to own a piece of orchard property in B.C., especially after Sir Albert Henry George Grey, the 4th Earl Grey and Canadas governor-general from 1904 to 1911, bought a few acres for just that purpose on Kootenay Lake in September of 1906. Unscrupulous promoters packed newspapers with adverts breathlessly describing the fortunes begging to be cultivated from the B.C. properties they had for sale. On the Doab around the confluence of the Elk and the Kootenay, BC Fruit Farms marketed five-acre plots from 1912 on: $25 down and $12.50 per month interest free until the entire amount, $250, was cleared. Naturally, few could afford to investigate first hand such a remote corner of the globe, but that didnt keep families from plunking down their speculative cash. Sales were brisk for a couple of years until accurate assessments of the Doabs terrain, climate and soils combined with the financial, psychological and physical horrors of the Great War to extinguish the rush. Some of those families that had settled, mention Glayda Wilkinson and Marjorie Fitzpatrick in their A Century of Life in Elko1899-1999 (Elko Parks and Recreation, 1999), hung on in the South Fork District, nurturing their struggling orchards, logging, working on local projects such as the Elk Falls dam, until the wildfire of August, 1931, burned them out.
After not many kilometres of slipping through the woods, Rosicky Road rejoins the Crowsnest Highway. Just a few metres from that intersection, however, Shellborn Road invites the adventurous and time-rich tourist to take another chance. Branching off right, Shellborn winds its miles past shaded ranch yards and livestock pastures and small, still, cool ponds. When the embers of the 1931 fires had cooled, nutritious grasses began to sprout though the ashes. Property owners soon discovered that Hereford cattle, hardy enough to survive the marrow-numbing temperatures that Nature sometimes visits upon this region on winter nights, flourished on the herbage. By 1939 there were surplus animals enough that some 30 ranchers formed the Waldo Stockbreeders Livestock Association on the 23rd of September that year, electing Ellis Sweet as president. The Associations primary concerns were the plethora of wild horses in the valley that were eating much of the forage on the crown lands upon which the ranchers relied, and the equitable assignment of said lands to the ranchers. Those issues resolved, the Association sought to improve the members herds and expand the market for their animals by building auction and loading facilities in Elko in 1942. On October 17th of that year the first sale saw 1,000 head of cattle and sheep change hands. Thereafter the Association held annual auctions initially with gratifying success as buyers came from all over western Canada to bid. By the 1950s, however, the action had dropped off and the last sale took place in 1953.
Though most of it is as smooth as pavement, Shellborn was never part of the Crowsnest Highway and is essentially a dirt road with enough gravel and sand mashed into its surface to make it somewhat resilient. The grit notwithstanding, it is not a wet-weather cycling road. Which ever route one chooses, Shellborn or The Highway, after a few kilometres undulating over piny hursts, one comes to Jaffray (824m).
Jaffray appears to be a community snubbed. When the Highway was realigned in 1964 it by-passed the settlements main drag by about a kilometre so that today residential Jaffray finds itself relaxing in the embrace of the Jaffray Village Loop, a two mile long, crippled U-shaped service road whose paved arms connect to the Highway about a mile apart. A large portion of the residences are of the manufactured housing type. Along the bottom of the Loop, parallel to the BC Southern rails, was the towns business district, now represented only by the new community hall and an old-timey store. Its a ramshackle structure, made up of several buildings, its plank floors pungent with oil, covered with scuffed linoleum, and sagging under the weight of ancient cases displaying almost anything anyone might want to buy. Shoe-horned into one corner is the regional post office. Across the road, very little trace remains of the station, water tank and other infrastructure which guarded the Railways tracks, nor of the North Star Lumber Company operation that writer R.G. Burrows (accreditation later) mentions as occupying a site nearby. Within the Loop, upon properties including the 200 acres that the original settler, Robert S. Elmsley, bought for a dollar and acre in 1900, the main of the modern community is gathered around Jaffray Elementary Junior Secondary, a large comprehensive school which during the summer is pretty quiet except for vacation arts and crafts programs and basketball clinics for the kids. Raised in 1957 and enlarged in the 80s, the school has helped keep the town alive. Most of Jaffrays progressive businesses have moved out of the old townsite and strung themselves along the Highway between the ends of the Loop. There are a couple of convenience stores, the First Perk Café, a sporting goods store and the Jaffray Inn pub.
The summer of 1898 saw CPs rail gangs lay the steel of the BC Southern across the high land between the Elk and the Kootenay Rivers, defining what this author arrogantly calls the Kikomun Doab, that wedge of land bounded by the Railway and the Rivers. The crews were amazed at the density of the forest of predominantly Western Red Cedar and Douglas fir through which they had to chop their alignment. Amazed, too, was Charles Duncan McNab who, according to the authors of Forests, Farms and Families: …, settled in this area soon after the Railway built through, joining, or joined by, the families of Robert S. Elmsley, Frank Desrosiers from Frenchtown, Montana, Andrew Rosen, and Chas. Beck. On October 10th, 1901 the Post Office granted him a licence to operate a local bureau called Jaffray, likely out of his home. Who, exactly, chose the name remains a mystery. In the Long, Long Ago, Robert Jaffray was the president of the Toronto Globe newspaper, a vice president of the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company, and, from 1906 until his death in 1914, a federal Liberal senator. He never had anything to do with his civic namesake, and it was presumably the CPR, probably currying political favour at a time when Lauriers Liberals had just come to power in Ottawa, that christened the community.
C.D. McNab was an experienced sawmill operator, having built and sold a little mill at Cokato just south of Fernie. Recognizing that he could make a few dollars supplying his neighbours with building lumber, by 1902, mentions John Betenia in one of his contribution to Forests, Farms and Families: …, East Kootenay Lumber Company, McNab had set up a little sawmill probably on his property adjacent the Railway just to the west of the present townsite. In the mills office he opened a postal bureau for the convenience of his workers and neighbours. The operationor perhaps more accurately, McNabs timber berthcaught the eye of Archibald Kenneth Leitch, an entrepreneur from the Québec side of the Ottawa valley who had set up Cranbrooks first sawmill in 1897. In 1903, the year that one of his four brothers, Alexander, perished with most of his family in the Turtle Mountain disaster at Frank, N-WT, Leitch and another of his brothers, Malcolm, went into partnership with McNab, merging McNab Lumber with Cranbrook Lumber and Park Mitchell Lumber to form the East Kootenay Lumber Company (EKL). C.D., active in many other lumbering enterprises in the East Kootenays, probably managed the Jaffray operation until selling out his interest in EKL in 1906.
East Kootenay Lumber grew into a sizeable outfit, and was for years economic engine of Jaffray. Remembers Olga E. Bakken in Forests, Farms and Families: …, the mill site, served by a spur on the southern side of the BC Southern about half-a-mile west from todays Jaffray, was, between 1909 and 1923, a town unto itself, with a company store, a postal bureau in the company offices, a community hall, about 15 family homes and as many bachelor cabins, a 16-man bunkhouse, and a cook house. A second spur 0.9 miles west of the first, notes R.G. Burrows in Railway Mileposts: British ColumbiaVol. II: The Southern Routes: From the Crowsnest to the Coquihalla (Railway Milepost Books, North Vancouver, 1984), reached down onto the property, possibly completing a loop. Though Leitch lived with his family in Cranbrook, he was a hands on kind of boss, frequently visiting the operation, perhaps maintaining a bungalow on the site for his exclusive use. A school situated on the south side of the tracks between East Kootenay Town and present-day Jaffray was opened in 1903, classes taught that first year by Miss Johnson. Across the tracks from the school, nearer McNabs mill, was the Desrossiers ranchstead and the Hotel the family built there on Koppes Hill, Jaffrays first stopping house.
After using it for a few years to supply rough lumber to its other mills, EKL scrapped out McNabs original mill, salvaging what little it wanted, which wasnt much, for EKL began establishing a state of the art mill at Jaffray. A slough was created by channelling water from tiny Langley Creek through a four-inch diameter, wooden-stave pipe. Into the slough logs were dumped for storage until, rinsed of the grit and gravel they picked up while being dragged out of the forest, they could be guided onto a jack ladder which hauled them up out of the water and into the mill. The head rig in the mill wasnt the usual huge circular saw still common in most mills, but rather a double band saw which cut two slabs off the log with each pass of the table. Writes Mr. Betenia in Big Sawmills in Forests, Farms and Families: …, it was an expensive machine both to buy and maintain. The advantage was that it saved wood for the kerfthe cut a blade makes in the woodwas very narrow, the bands being thin. It was also fast. From the saw mill the slabs were run into the planer mill that turned out finished lumber of all types which was then carefully stacked in the yard to cure before being loaded into box cars standing on the company spur. All was powered by the steam of three sawdust-fired boilers ensconced in their own bunker.
Because the slough iced over and frozen logs are very hard on milling equipment, EKL shut down its mill over the winter. Frozen ground, however, was the best time to transport felled timber, so all able-bodies and willing hands were issued falling tools and sent out into the woods to cut down trees. EKL formed a subsidiary, the East Kootenay Logging Railway Company and, writes John Betenia in Logging, snaked about ten miles of standard-gauged railroad out to its cutting operation, using a little three-cylinderd, two-truckd Lima Locomotive Works Shay to shift the timber bunks to and fro. A pair of horse-drawn Michigan wheels dragged logs from the fall site to a dump along the rail line where they were swung onto the bunks by a crude crane. When the snow got too deep to use the Wheels, the logs were simply skidded to the dump.
On July 20, 1916, fire destroyed much of EKLs mill and consumed stacks of curing lumber. Despite the $30,000 loss, the company rebuilt, a new single-banded headrig replacing the former double cut. Come the end of WWI the company acquired some four wheel drive war surplus trucks to work in the woods. Their solid rubber tires, however, could not come to grips with the crude haul roads and the experiment was unsuccessful.
Come 1922 EKL had run out of easy timber and shut down its saw mill, the planer continuing to whine for another few months until the rough-cut lumber was all finished. Both mills were salvaged and the saw and planer sent to an outfit on BCs lower mainland near Vancouver. The little Shay went up the Kootenay valley to an outfit at Canal Flats and the log pond was drained. Besides the re-filled pond, on a sunny September morning in 2006 there is little to indicate that East Kootenay Town ever existed: a scattering of rotting lumber and broken brick, some pits and trenches in the sod, and a few footings of massive concrete trying to hide in the encroaching bush.
On September 11th, 1923, the postal bureau was moved out of EKLs general store and into Rosens General Store in nearby Jaffray. By that time, Jaffray was a sizeable community. Unsubstantiated rumour has it that around 1908 the CPR replaced its original little office-cum-waiting-room at Jaffray with a large, two-storey station, situated on the north-east corner of the intersection of the tracks and what is now the west arm of the Jaffray Village Loop.3 A watering tank and a section house, both to the east of the station, and likely a siding or two, completed the Railways infrastructure in Jaffray.
Andrew Rosen is reported to have been at one time a CPR man. He supposedly ran a general store at Cranston a few miles eastward on the BC Southern before buying a half-section4 near Jaffray in 1900. His interests included agriculture, and in 1908 he cleared a sizeable farm on the Colony Road up the Kootenay River from Fort Steele. Apparently he decided farm life wasnt for him and his family, and in 1909, writes O.E. Bakken in Jaffray General Store, one of her contributions to Forests, Farms and Families: …, he built the Jaffray General Store within what is now The Loop, approximately across the road behind CPs section house. That year, too, a new school was built near the present composite school. The community counted 90 families within its economic reach in its 1910 census, and by then, local historians suggest, Henry F. Pearson was operating the tiny Jaffray Hotel.5 The little settlement attracted enough trade that Anthony Modigh, one of the many Scandinavians who came to work in the regions woods, opened a general store not far west on Main Street from Rosens, and even another store, the Economy Corner, joined the mercantile fray. Around 1914 John Henderson came from Pincher Creek, Alberta, and with his partner, Helen Norris, raised the two-storeyd Jaffray House Hotel, installing a billiard table which immediately became the establishments main attraction. By then Charltons café was in operation, as was Fritz Johnsons. In 1917 a Class A school was apparently built in Jaffray by EKL millwright, Geo. G. Hunter. The Desrosiers had sold their stopping house to one McTavish before the place burned to the ground in 1918 or 19, leaving Jaffray with only Hendersons hotel.
No mention is made by any of the local historians about any doctors in Jaffray. This may well be a lacuna in the record, of course, but probably those in need of medical care might have had to go elsewhere, like the Cottage Hospital in Cranbrook, or St. Eugenes. Pastoral care, too, was almost as remote. From the very beginning of Jaffray, Roman Catholic Oblate priests from their Mission de St. Eugene near Cranbrook made regular rounds, holding services in the homes of the faithful. From 1900 Cranbrook-based Reverend W.G. Fortune brought spiritual relief to the Presbyterians. His ministry was taken over by Reverend Geo. Findlay of Wardner in 1905. The congregation built a church out of logs sometime in the 10s, a structure that became the United Church after the congregation voted for union in 1925.
Though it is significant that Jaffray was ushered into the motor age in 1920 when Fred Limbocker, having shut down his little sawmill, built his Creek Side Service garage and started selling Union gasoline and Motorlife lubricants, the year that the postal bureau was moved into Rosens store, 1923, was a true watershed year for Jaffray. Another school was built, constructed of logs and situated on the Desrosiers land west of town, apparently to serve the growing rural population. The 1909 school was closed. The Jaffray House Hotel burned down in 1923, and Henderson immediately set to work salvaging building material from the EKLs abandoned town and, using Modighs empty store as a core, cobbled together a new Jaffray Hotel, complete with a tavern.6 In 1925 the CPR down-graded its presence in Jaffray, removing its two-storey station and dropping off a little portable, according to Charles Bohi and L.S. Kozma in Canadian Pacifics Western Depots: The Country Stations of Western Canada (South Platte Press, David City, NA, 1993).
John Henderson died in 1929 and two years later Thea Anderson of Wardner purchased the Jaffray House mainly as a home for her children, though a visitor to the community could still likely find accommodation with her. Jaffrays permanent population numbered around 80, and had enjoyed voice communication with the greater world since 1930 when the B.C. Telephone Company ran a trunk line past the community. The Farmers Institute built a hall in the community in 1937, and with materials salvaged from the old East Kootenay Town site, in 1939 built a second hall. A Fall Fair was organized.
With the closing of the EKL mill, Jaffray had to develop a new economy, and quickly. Many people moved on, following the lumbering frontier, but those whose roots were sunk deeply into the Doabs thin soil hung on. Lona Payne, Etherly Eaton and Art Davis pooled some of their resources and set up Paynes Fox Farm to serve the fashion industry until the Depression wrecked the business in 1935. Others, taking advantage of the lands now cleared of trees, formed the Jaffray Farmers Institute in 19227 to buy farm supplies and stumping powder in bulk, and set to removing stumps to create hay fields. The hay fed the cows of W.C. Barr and others who began dairying on a commercial scale. Haying operations became really profitable after Robert Dempsey engineered and built an irrigation system to feed waters from Big Sand Creek onto the fields. The bounty of hay inspired families like the Garnet Halls, the Benjamin Crows, and the Desrosiers to join the R.H. Bohart and get into the beef cattle industry, resulting in the formation of the afore-mentioned Waldo Stockbreeders Livestock Association in 1939 and the construction of the South Country Cattle Auctions yards at Elko in 1942. Most families had pretty much given up on orchardry, the trees being extirpated and the good land sown to hay. On marginal lands some families established Christmas tree plantations, irrigating them where practicable. This industry got a boost in 1942 when the government issued permits to harvest small trees on crown property. The Kirk Christmas Tree Company was probably the best known operator,8 shipping most of its trees to Eureka, Oregon, at the time the Christmas Tree Capital of the World. Come the end of WWII, potatoes, hay, beef, cream and Christmas trees were the mainstay of Jaffray economy.
In 1948 the Barr family sold their dairy to the Lightburns who ran it as Sand Creek Dairy until 1961 when competition and consolidation in the dairy industry9 was driving many small producers out of the business. The Jehovahs Witnesses raised a little log-built meeting hall by the Highway in 1953,10 and by the next year, when the East Kootenay Power Company finally incorporated Jaffray into its grid, there were maybe six families left in the community. Nonetheless, in 1956 the Fernie School District picked Jaffray as the ideal location for a new school. The District bought the old Jaffray House Hotel to use briefly as a teacherage, demolishing it as the new school rose and permanent accommodation was acquired by the teachers. Natural gas to heat homes was offered to Jaffray from December of 1961 when Alberta Natural Gas completed its Alberta - California pipeline, installing eight local sales taps along the south-eastern BC reach of the line.
What a traveller can say about Jaffray in the third millennium is that it is hanging on. Lack of lavatory facilities forced the Jaffray Hotel to close in 1954, and since the Evergreen Motel shut down a few years ago, there is not an inn in which to stay. Down by the BC Southern tracks, the old down town area, there is naught but the old store-slash-post office, a community hall and the volunteer fire department building. The only historic structures are the aforementioned hotel and an elderly barn. Save for the enormous coal drags that squeal and growl their way along the 136 lb. rails of the BC Southern, the CPR evinces very little presence in the community. The last, lonely hoot of the old Ding Bat, the local mixed train that daily chuffed between Lethbridge and Cranbrook, has long faded into the woods, as has the electronic bray of the DayLiner, last heard on January 17th, 1964, as that Budd self-propelled railcar left the community east-bound, never to return. There are not many natural attractions in the immediate neighbourhood, either, and not a lot of work. If it were not for the income generated by the school, the economy would be moribund. As it is, Jaffray struggles along as a service centre for the logging and construction industries, and as a retirement community, its population aging, its kids taking off to make their livings in the golden fields of Alberta.
The rails of the B.C. Southern still limits Jaffrays southward expansion. East-bound travellers who enjoy the back roads can bump across the railway crossing which changes the western arm of the Jaffray Village Loop into Baynes Lake Road and follow the latter south-eastward through the scrubby woods, and by a choice of circuitous routes rejoin the Highway near Elko. Along the by-ways, the four Forestry Service campgrounds will appeal to minimalists who eschew the creature comforts of tended camping areas. Almost twenty kilometres from Jaffray the Road crosses a little paved trail whose signs indicate that the Crowsnest Highway lays to the left some seven kilometres. The trail looks as if it might at least partially be the right-of-way of CPs old Waldo Subdivision roadbed running down from Caithness on the BC Southern. Down the Trail a mile or so, on Lake Koocanusa, is the entrance to the provincially operated Kikomun Creek Campground. Also referred to as Surveyors Lake, it boasts showers. Continuing on, the Road runs through whats left of the logging community of Baynes Lake before paying out onto highway 93 near the mouth of the Elk River.
The recovering forest presents many a pleasant scene, but compared to the primeval forest of cherished memory, todays regeneration of weedy trees would not have been worth wheel grease to the old-time loggers, and this area used to be full of loggers.
Southern Settlements and their Logging Shows
In the forest lands of southern BC, anywhere a railroad company surveyed a line and began to build a grade, some logger would arrive with a portable saw mill and begin turning trees into ties and lumber. This was certainly the case on the Kikomun doab. With the coming of the BC Southern in 1898, mills were soon at work at Jaffray and Elko and at several places in between. In the early spring of 1902, J.J. Hill began laying rail north up the Kootenay River from Jennings, Montana, on what he called the Montana and Great Northern Railway. Crossing the Boundary at Gateway, Montana, the line became the Crows Nest Southern (CNS), continuing up the Kootenay to cross the Elk before meandering off across the Doab to get to Elko and beyond, into the coal deposits of the Crowsnest Pass. With the CNS came the loggers who began to strip the area of its big timber.
Waldo, now usually submerged by the waters of Lake Koocanusa, was the main lumber town on the CNS and was named after a local land owner, William Waldorf Waldo. Before the coming of the railroad, the place was known as Crows Nest Landing, where woodmen stacked cord upon cord of wood to feed the voracious fireboxes that heated the water to steam in the boilers of the riverboats that used to froth up and down the Kootenay River. Waldo hosted two lumbering companies: Baker Lumber Company that logged the Doab, and the Ross-Saskatoon Lumber Company, which mostly worked across on the western side of the River. In 1906 Charles Duncan McNab severed his association with the Leitch brothers East Kootenay Lumber mill near Jaffray and joined with his brother, Francis P., and Valentine Hyde Baker, the scion of the founder of Cranbrook, Colonel Jas. Baker, to form the Baker Lumber Company.
Maybe 3 miles up the CNS from Waldo, at Elkmouth, Ross-Saskatoon Lumber got its start. In 1905, near a place called Motts, a road house, built where the old Kalispell Trail forded the Elk,11 Hales H. Ross and his brother, Joseph W., based their logging show and built a mill. In 1906, having forged a commercial alliance with a Saskatchewan-based lumber dealer named Telford, the brothers turned their operation over to Malcolm and Hugh H. McInnes and moved to Waldo to build a new mill. The Rosses and Telford incorporated the Ross-Saskatoon Lumber Company and began extracting their fortune from the forest. After the nearby timber was felled, R-S took a timber lease centred on the Englishman Creek on the western side of the Kootenay. A pair of 2-truck Lima Shays chuffed out into the woods on a 42 inch-gauged railroad, hauling loaded bunks to a dump in the mouth of the Creek where the logs were rafted, and whence the companys small tugboat, the Waldo Belle, herded them upstream a few miles to Waldo.
With two mills whining out lumber, Waldo bloomed. Each company maintained a store for its employees, there was a postal bureau in one of them, there was a school, a little Anglican church. There was even a doctor in the community, at least in 1927 when he was relieved for awhile by another, Dr. A.S. Underhill. Communication with the world outside was relatively easy: by the Crows Nest Southern travellers could run down to the Great Northern mainline at Rexford, Montana, or up to the BC Southern at Elko or Fernie to transfer to the CPR system. Even after the CNS cut back operations when the timber began to give out, people could still catch the Galloping Goose gas-powered, self-propelled rail car until it, too, was discontinued. In 1924 a timber-built Howe truss span replaced the rickety 1910 suspension bridge across the Kootenay River, making it possible for the adventurous to winch their vehicle over logging trails to get to Cranbrook or Wardner.
Over the winter of 1911/12 the CPR curled the 11.6 miles of what it initially called its Galloway Branch into the doab from Caithness on the BC Southern. Waldo was at mile 9.8, notes Roger Burrows in his second volume of Railway Mileposts: British Columbia, and by the time the last spur was completed to the Ross-Saskatoon operation on the shore of the Kootenay 1.8 miles south of Waldo, the line had become the Waldo Subdivision. The Baker mill was on the Kootenays shore in between Waldo and Ross-Saskatoon, at mile 10.7. From a switch at mile 5.5 referred to as Baynes Lake, the Sub reached a two-and-a-half kilometre-long spur down to cross the CNS mainline near its Baynes station and run up to the Adolf Lumber Company mill on the Lake itself. Frederick W. Adolph had settled his family here around 1905 and began cutting timber and milling lumber. He set up two outfits: the Adolph Lumber Company to do the work, and the Adolph Trading Company, to supply essentials to, and handle the mail for, his employees and other area settlers. Among those settlers were James Fussee and W.H. Griffiths who soon established the Baynes Lake Cattle Company. By 1909 there were enough children in the Baynes Lake area that the parents built a school and hired Jennie Adolph to teach.
Scattered along the CNS, other little communities grew up around logging operations. At Flagstone on the shore of the Kootenay River exactly 4.9 rail miles from Newgate, B.C., on the Boundary, Fred Douglas and Frank Downs began logging as soon as the railway arrived in 1902. There, too, J.A. Joyce set up the Rock Creek Lumber Company, possibly to mill Downs and Douglass logs. Up the River a further five miles or so, at Dorr, Pugh and Livingstone, two entrepreneurs from southern Alberta, built their sawmill, according to the many-times-aforementioned John Betenia, in 1907. They ponded Kikomunthen known as RockCreek and ripped lumber out of the trees they felled on their berth, sending most of their output up the CNS to the North Star planer mill at Elko. James and Richard Joyce bought the operation and cleaned up the rest of the available timber before scrapping out the mill at a date unknown.
Not all the settlers on the doab were wound up in the lumber business, however. As the stands of tall timber fell to the axe and the saw, agriculturists began testing the utility of the soil in the cleared patches. Gardens were planted after consultation with the cook at the nearest mill, cattle began to appear in fields, munching on the grasses that escaped the knives of the hay mowers that rancher-farmers drove through the meadows. Most odd were the fruit farmers, 21 families of who moved to the tract which became known as South Fork District. A few managed to coddle their delicate little fruit trees through the bitter winters and protect them from the little fires and the voracious wildlife until being burned out by the big forest fire of August, 1931.
By the time the Great War called many of the young men away from the camps on the doab, much of the big timber was gone. The post-War recession thinned the ranks of the lumber companies, leaving only McNabs Baker, the Adolphs and the Rosses outfits to struggle into the 20s. In 1922 or 3 the Ross-Saskatoon slipped into bankruptcy, unsuccessfully offering the little Shays for sale before scrapping them around 1927. About 1924 Adolph Lumber wound up its affairs as well. CP pulled its Waldo Sub. in 1928, and in August of 1929 a monumental fire ripped through the Baker Lumbers timber berth, ruining the last of the trees and scorching Waldo, miraculously sparing the little Anglican church. On the last day of that month Baker Lumber ceased operations.
Though devastated by the losses of their major employers, Waldo and Baynes Lake hung on, relying on agriculture, inconvenienced by the Great Northerns decision to suspend service on the CNS in November of 1936. So successful was ranching during the depressed 30s that in 1939, two years after the CNS ripped up its rails, some families formed the Waldo Stock Breeders Livestock Association, auctioning their cattle at a facility in Elko until 1953. Silvaculture in the form of Christmas tree farms, occupied some families. Unfortunately, the Forest Branch moved its long-time station out of Baynes Lake in the mid-40s, signalling the governments failing confidence in the region. Slowly the little communities began to depopulate, starting with the kids catching school buses daily to Elko and Jaffray. The Post Office closed its Waldo bureau on December 29th, 1967, its Newgate bureau on October 30, 1968, and its Baynes Lake bureau a day later. Residents needing now to do business with Canada Post must make their way to Jaffray. With the realization that the waters of the Kootenay River would rise to form Lake Koocanusa with the scheduled completion of the Libby Dam in August of 1975, the historically-minded among the members of the Waldo - Baynes Lake Community Club, convinced of the importance of preserving their heritage, rescued the Waldo church and removed it to Baynes Lake.
Hanbury and Manistee
Alberta-bound away from the eastern end of the Jaffray Loop, the Highway crosses Little Sand Creek on a shoulderless 1949 concrete slab bridge and breezes by the new chapel that local Mormons completed in 1987. On the north side of the Highway a few hundred metres beyond is what used to be the Evergreen Chalet Motel until a fire in the autumn of 2001 consumed its associated café and gas station, forcing the owners to suspend operations and convert the Motel into a residence. Rosen Lake Road, upon which the Mormons built their first chapel,12 runs northward from here, and is notable in that it sign-posts the entrepreneurial spirit that infused many early settlers. Andrew Rosen was the store owner in Jaffray and when it became obvious that East Kootenay Lumber was going to shut down its mill, Rosen realized that he had either to diversify his business interests, or move. He chose to stay, bought a property which embraced about half the shoreline of what was then called McNab Lake, and set about creating a resort. About 1922 he built a store and put a couple of canoes on the water, and was well into his project when he was killed thawing dynamite likely to blow stumps in February of 1927. While Anthony Modigh ran Rosens store in Jaffray for awhile, the Rosen family carried on with developing the resort, eventually selling out to a succession of owners who ran it into the 1970s. The property has since been subdivided into private holdings and Rosen Lake is now the cottage for several families in the neighbourhood.
Eastward from the erstwhile Evergreen, the No. 3 glides past the Will-O-Bend Golf and RV Park, and restaurant. Despite being dedicated to serving the great moving boxes in which a dwindling number of holidayers can afford to drive the vacation roads of Super, Natural British Columbia, the Will-O-Bend offers campsites, hot showers included in the fee. Like the fairways, these are a little exposed, but lushly padded by grass so thick that one hardly needs the ol ThermaRest. Luckily for railfans, the camping sites are at the far end of the property, right near the Railway where the pulsations of thousands of diesel horsepower dragging coal gondolas on their endless circuit between the mines of the Elk Valley and Roberts Bank on the Coast lull tenters to sleep.
Possibly on a large lot of wasteland between the fairways and the Railway was Hanbury, a small community which served the Jewell Lumber Company, and oversaw a switch in the BC Southern which led a short spur down to the North Star Lumber Company saw mill southward a mile and a half.
John Betenia, in his essay North Star Lumber Company in Forests, Farms and Families: …, writes that John Hanbury was a sash and door manufacturer from Brandon, Manitoba. He evidently did well there, for in 1903 he moved into the East Kootenay lumber business in a big way. On September 20th of that year he succeeded in leasing a timber berth on the Doab and, incorporating the North Star Lumber Company, set about erecting a sawmill on the southern side of the BC Southern right-of-way near what is now the Will-O-Bend, a planer mill at Elko, and another sawmill at Cranbrook. At the high point of its operations on the Doab, the company had some five miles of standard-gauged railroad threaded across its lease and employed a little twin-cylinderd, two truck Shay to haul bunks of logs to what is still called North Star Lake, the companys log dump perhaps two miles south of the mill on the BC Southern. The operation folded in 1917.
Frank Henry Pearson and his wife, Alice, arrived in the Jaffray area sometime in 1898. While Alice perhaps managed the Jaffray Hotel,13 Frank and his associate, J.J. Jewell, made money in the opening years of the 20th Century as tie hacks, cutting sleepers for the CPR in the Companys timber reserve farther up the Kootenays valley. In 1906, according to John Betenia, Ray Johnson, and Art Damstrom in their contribution to Forests, Farms and Families: …, Jewell Lumber Company, Pearson and Jewell apparently formally partnered to erect a mill with a circular saw head rig on Big Sand Creek somewhere very near the Will-O-Bend on the northern side of the BC Southern. They built a pond to which they horse-skidded a seasons supply of logs when the mill was shut down in the winter time. Jewell cut through the Great War, and in 1918 salvaged its equipment and moved it eastward up the BC Southern to Caithness and the new mill that the company had built there around 1912.
There was enough of a population at Hanbury by 1907 that the Post Office licensed a bureau on January 7th of that year to be operated out of the North Star company offices. The postal bureau survived the closing of the Jewell mill by seven years, finally closing on July 31, 1925.
Not far beyond Will-O-Bend, Betenia Road wanders away from the Highway southward to parallel the Railway across hay meadows and pastures populated by white-faced cattle and working horses and smelling like summer. Around here somewhere was the big mill of the Manistee Lumber Company.
In 1909 E. Golden Filer and Associates of Manistee, Michigan, bought the Crows Nest Pass Lumber Company which at the time ran two mills: the big 150,000 board-foot per day operation at Wardner on the Kootenay, and a 40,000 foot outfit at href="citypage.pl?city=kimberley#5">Marysville near href="citypage.pl?city=kimberley">Kimberley on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountain Trench. With millions of dollars now in its coffers, CNP Lumber set out on an aggressive program of expansion and contracted Bob Dempsey to build a third mill. By March of 1910 No. 3 mill was in operation on what the Grafs, in their Reflections on the Kootenay..., identify as the Cunliffe property, about a mile southwest of Sand Creek Crossing.14 CP obligingly ran a spur line into the mill from a switch on the BC Southern. Suzanne Lake, a couple of miles south in the Kikomun Creek watershed, was pressed into service as a log dump. By the end of 1910 the Waterous engine-powered mill was cutting 60,000 board feet per day, most of it ear-marked for the farming settlers out on the treeless Prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Back and forth from the dump to the mill and out into the woods, the companys standard-gauged wood-fired Class B Shay, a twin-trucked, three-cylinder unit that the Lima Locomotive Works shipped to Calloway, B.C., that year, chuffed loads of logs. A few simple single family dwellings sprouted up around the property of what was called the Manistee Lumber Company, as well as a large bunkhouse, a larger horse barn, and a big cookhouse. Andrew Mader built a little school house in 1910. The company constructed a store for the convenience of its employees, and on January 10, 1911, the Post Office licensed Peter Lund, the Wardner-based manager of the CNP Lumber empire, to open a local bureau therein. On October 10th, 1911, CP established a flag-stop on the CNL near the site of the old Sand Creek Hotel and called it Manistee, listing the only two residents as Peter Lund and W.T. Levy. By 1914 Manistee had some five miles of trackage meandering out onto its timber berth15 upon which very few worthwhile trees remained. Out of wood, CNP Lumber folded its Manistee operation concentrated on its logging show a few miles up the Trench in the Norbury Lake area. On July 1, 1915, CP renamed the Manistee flag-stop Galloway, and in a weird coincidence, the Post Office renamed its Manistee bureau likewise, naming W.T. Levy, who had evidently succeeded Lund when the latter resigned his office the previous May 15th, as post master.
Midway and Minerals
Betenia Road is a short loop, and comes back to the Highway at the Midway RV Park and Campground. Travellers on the nearby Highway look down on this operation with its cabins, Country Store and unsheltered, grassy campsites from the back of the 1950 Hanbury overpass that puts the eastbound Highway on the south side of the Railway tracks just before Betenia re-attaches itself.
Helen Norris, called Ma Henderson because of her association with John Henderson the Jaffray hotelier, was a person of business in her own right. In the early 20s she bought this property and built herself a confectionery to serve the residents at nearby Galloway, Hanbury and Manistee. Apparently not one to limit her income by restricting her business to confections, Ma is rumoured to have spent six months of the Roaring Twenties in the hoosegow in Nelson for bootlegging. She survived to return to her business which she ran until her death in 1945.
Safely over the Hanbury Overpass and past the sit of the long-gone CPR tie depot, the Highway crosses Big Sand Creek, chuckling over the stones in its bed, celebrating its escape from the Lizards, rocking the spring-time fleet of fuzz-ball Mallard ducklings gathered around their mum.
The Lizard Range, rising up to scratch at the sky to the north, is not well endowed with mineral deposits. Not knowing this, however, up Big Sand Creek about half a mile from the BC Southerns crossing in the Lizards along the Creek, the Bishop brothers of Wardner had collected their Bishop group of five claims by 1898, and were encouraged by the quartz leads they had found on the Jesse and the Margaret. No further mention is made of these claims in the Report[s] of the Minister[s] of Mines, but the writers of Forests, Farms and Families: … mention that F.A. Godsal, a rancher in the Cowley area of southern Alberta, A.P. MacDonell, et al owned the rights to the Empire claim, an iron-capped vein of quartz way up above the headwaters of Sand Creek at the 4600-foot level in the Lizards. The Langley brothers of Fort Steele owned Blue Goose, an extension of the Empire, Alex McBean of Wardner was interested in the nearby Mountain claim, and Robert Dempsey and John Grassick were partners in the Waterfall. Of Sand Creek itself mention is made in the 1903 edition of the Report of the Minister of Mines of light amber. In the early 20s the Viking claim promised some return from the copper, silver and lead mineralization in a quartz vein at the 3400-foot level above Little Sand Creek.
Mining talk in 1926 concerned the Great Western Group of claims that Alvin Benson and Associates of Cranbrook had assembled, hopeful that they would yield a bonanza in galena16 at the 4,000-foot level in the Lizards. Having been bought by Lethbridge interests, the Simmons Group of 32 claims near Galloway was much discussed during 1929, but paled into insignificance by developments on the Empire and Strathcona copper prospects the next year. P.V. Parkes of Lethbridge had bonded the claims from the S.B. Steele estate and come 1930, under the direction of mine manager J.D. Simmons, had driven five adits into what everyone concerned hoped was a minable lode between the 4100 and the 4800-foot levels. A thousand foot-long, wooden-railed tram had been laid at a 35º-angle down the slope of the mountain from the lower adit to the Parkes base camp. But with the Wall Street Crash of October 29th, 1929, the Great Depression began drawing its cloak of stagnation over the land. The Parkes initiative, as well as the nearby Peacock Copper Group of 32 claims whence a few load of ore had been extracted in 1930, fell victim.
It was evidently the old Empire that was the heart of the Burt Group that John Powelson of Cranbrook had collected by 1937. Come 1952 the Group had been optioned by S. Johnson and H. Creelman who had run in a road and were stripping overburden to get to the deposit. It appears that their industry met with little reward, but they had uncovered enough of a show that the Empire - Strathcona Group of over 150 claims had been picked up by Altamont Exploration Company of Vancouver by 1965. A program of exploratory diamond drilling was commenced that year, and the access road improved for the convenience of the 15-man crew who were encamped near the site. Nothing worthwhile mining seems to have been found, but the property was acquired by the R.H. Stanfield Group of Calgary in the mid-70s and, renamed the Dogwood Group, was the subject of a report on the results of a diamond drilling program in 1998. Though significant quartz veins were found with the promise of gold therein, the whole lithography is so faulted and fractured that it would likely be pure luck if a mining effort struck a worthwhile deposit.
Galloway and Caithness
The BC Southern, now on the northern side of The Highway, bridges Big Sand Creek on a half-deck plate girder span exactly 57 feet long, noted Roger Burrows in 1984. Located near the original span was the Sand Creek Crossing Hotel, the first business in this neighbourhood, established by William Stewart in November of 1897, just off the Railways right-of-way.17 As the railhead approached, CP built a warehouse nearby18 which it stocked from waggons bringing supplies along the tote road from the riverboat docks on the Kootenay, probably Sand Creek Landing. Not long after it laid its rails, CP dropped a switch into the BC Southern to set a spur for the convenience of Daleys tie-cutting operation.
Like F.H. Pearson and J.J. Jewell, the man remembered only as Daley was a tie hack, cutting timbers for the CPR. John Betenia relates the following story in Daleys Tie Cutting Operation. An inspired entrepreneur, and maybe tired of hewing CP timber all day long for a pittance, Daley figured that a rock-bound trench through which the Big Sand sped some distance upstream from the Crossing would support a dam sufficiently high to provide enough of a hydraulic head to power a saw. The impounded waters would serve as a log dump. To that end he set to work on the early 1910s, erecting a 15-foot high concrete dam some 50 feet long across the mouth of the trench. Initial production estimates advised that a spur should be run in from the BC Southern. This was done, but unhappily the flow of the Big Sand proved sometimes so meagre that the machinery couldnt be operated. In disgust Daley went back to hacking ties, abandoning Daleys spur, the dam and its reservoir to the A. McDonald and Company.
The current mill is spread out in the middle of its dry-sort lot on the northern side of The Highway and the Railway. Bales of finished lumber sit in the curing sun on September 26th, 2006, awaiting shipment maybe to Home Depot or Rona. According to the Fernie and District Historical Societys Backtracking of 1977, this operation got its start when the A. McDonald and Company bought the assets of the Manistee Lumber Company in 1914 and the following year removed its equipment hither to a new building on the B.C. Southern mainline, on the new Galloway siding that CP had especially laid in for it. The Manistee postal bureau followed the mill equipment, moving to Galloway on July 1, 1915, with W.T. Levy as post master. A. McDonald and Co. controlled 11 square miles of timber lands on the upper reaches of Big Sand Creek, and not only was the new mill some two miles closer to the berth, but was on the far side of the BC Southern mainline, obviating the risk of dragging logs across the tracks. The old Daley reservoir was pressed into service as a log dump. A. McDonald & Co. hired W.B. (Barney) Barnstead to run the operation, something he did with such omnipotence that it was supposed he owned the company. By 1918 the Galloway siding commonly called Barnsteads and the whole outfit was referred to as Barnstead and Gates, whoever Gates was. The operation was professionally appraised, mentions John Betenia in Galloway Sawmill in Forests, Farms and Families: …, at 75,000 U.S. dollars in 1920 (±CAN$89,250). Much of this value was destroyed in 1924. Not long before the company had built another dam downstream from Daleys structure to increase considerably the size of the log dump. Unfortunately, the old Daley dam failed and the sudden weight of water was too much for the new dam which also breached, sending a seven-foot high tsunami slamming into McDonalds yards and causing considerable consternation downstream, wrecking the CPRs bridge over the Big Sand.
In 1928 Mike Dumont and his wife, Maria, agreed to buy the Galloway mill, its 800-acre yard, and the 7,040-acre timber berth for $30,000. Dumont had owned mills previously in Orofino, Idaho, U.S.A, and Bridesville, B.C. Taking possession of the little operation19 on January 2, 1929, Dumont immediately embarked upon a program of modernization. One of the first things implemented was pneumatic-tyred semi-trailer trucks to haul his logs, eliminating his reliance on unreliable streams and costly horse teams. He engaged Ed Doucette to build a two-storey store-cum-office-cum-residence into which he moved the postal bureau. Doucette and Hubert Dumont built a waterwheel on the Big Sand which not only pumped water to the residence, but also ran a little generator to light the place. A school, a shack, really, was built for the youngsters in the mill workers families. To make ends meet as the Depression clouds darkened, the Dumonts diversified into the commercial sale of gasoline to motorists on the Black Route, the precursor of the Interprovincial Highway, Todays Crowsnest Highway. By 1931 the big timber was gone from the region, as were sixteen of the seventeen mills which had participated in the harvest. Only Dumont hung on,20 mainly because the previous year he had formed a partnership with the Levitt-Naugle Company out of Spokane, Washington, and incorporated Canada Cedar Pole Preservers, Limited (CCPP). Specialized woodsmen were hired to select trees appropriate for making utility poles and fence posts, fall them without shattering the spindly specimens. In Dumonts vast yards they were sorted by species, diameter and length, trimmed, treated21 and top-capped with tiny roofs. Thence they were trucked to Spokane for sale. Ironically, among the first customers for the product were BC Telephones which, in 1930 was running a trunk line through the Jaffray area, and the Okanagan Telephone Company, in 1931. So successful was the pole business that by the mid-30s the Galloway timber berth had been stripped of suitable trees forcing Dumont to expand his fleet of trucks and trailers to bring in logs from up and down the Trench. Even then he was obliged to buy rail car loads of logs from producers as far away as the Okanagan. At that time his workforce numbered 57.
Michael and Maria watched in dismay as their old saw and planer mills burned to the ground on July 13th, 1940. Not ones to give up easily, the Dumonts immediately rebuilt. The effort, however, took its toll and on March 1, 1945, the couple finalized the sale of the M. Dumont Company to Jostad & Nelson, owners of Cranbrook Cartage and Transfer, who incorporated forthwith the Galloway Lumber Company (GLC) to run the operation. With the sale of the mills came M. Dumonts share of CCPP. GLC shut down the store and sent the postal bureau across the Highway to the Midway Confectionery in 1947. The workers housing was rebuilt, and in 1948 East Kootenay Power electrified the entire operation. Jostad and Nelson obtained a 99-year lease on a huge Tree Farm up in the Kootenays valley, effectively stabilizing the company with a reliable source of timber. In the 1950s a pair of drying kilns were constructed, the boilers rebuilt and a Wurster & Dietz gang saw installed to increase production. On September 18th, 1963, the planer mill burned and was replaced. Four years later the old steam engine and its boilers were retired when the plant was completely electrified. The mill pond was filled in and converted to a dry sort yard. When Crestbrook Forest Industries completed its pulp mill at Skookumchuk north of Fort Steele in 1969, GLC installed a Morebark chipper and sent chip trucks rolling up highway 93. A major capital investment in 1977, reports John Betenia, modernized the mill, increased its capacity and reduced the waste.
On the Canada Cedar Pole Preservers part of the operation, soon after Cranbrook Cartage and Transfer took over, B.J. Carney and Company of Spokane bought out Levitt-Naugle. This acquisition complimented Carneys pole and post operations at Nakusp, Golden and Shuswap. Come the 1950s the pole business was booming with the spread of rural electrification and the phone net across the continent. By 1952 CCPP had 90 men working in the plant running 24 hours a day and sometimes seven days a week to treat the 200,000 poles that the company processed that year. At least once CP ran in a train of 100 pole cars. Though business tapered off after that, there was still enough call for poles that two years after the creosote tanks caught fire in 1972 they were replaced by two 80-foot long horizontal vats which used pentachlorophenol for treatment, rather than creosote. A third vat was soon added and the old tanks were decommissioned. In 1992 a new plant was build to house pressurized treatment tanks. The CCPP part of the Galloway operation was taken over in 2001 by Washington-based McFarland Cascade to replace their facility in Sandpoint, Idaho, which was forced to close due to urban expansion.
Galloway Lumber courteously offer those with an hour to spare a tour of their operation, one of the few sawmills along No. 3 which do that. The rusty old conical sawdust incinerator that stood for years in the Yard as a regional landmark has succumbed.
Housing for the workers at the Galloway mill site in 1942 is described as six four-room shacks, a house, a cookhouse and the Dumonts abode. That was never enough roofing to accommodate all the workers and their families. East almost three Kay from the modern mill was the town site of Galloway (870m), old Galloway, where many more of the mill hands found accommodation. In their book Canadian Pacifics Western Depots: …, Bohi and Kozma mention that the CPR raised a small Standard Western Lines Station there in 1912: why, exactly, remains a mystery, as the nearest community then extant appears to have been either Hanbury, a couple of miles westward up the line, or Manistee, southward at the end of a two-mile long spur. The station was removed at a date unknown. About half way between the station and the mill a log-built school22 was raised in 1934 mainly by the efforts of the Simmons and Wilkinson families. It survived till 1947 or 8 when the elementary-aged children began catching the school bus into Jaffray with the Elko kids, and the seniors made their way off to Waldo for classes. With the pole business at the mill, the community boomed in the 1950s with so many people that in 1955 it was chosen as the site for a regional curling rink,23 which was expanded in 1958 with an attached hall. That year, too, on August 10th, the Roman Catholic congregation of Galloway founded St. Josephs Chapel under the direction of Fr. W. Scott.24
Why Galloway so completely disappeared is a mystery. The mill still operates, yet, other than the Club, nothing much visible remains of the settlement to the casual observer pedalling by on the far side of The Highway.
South south-eastward from Galloway, a series of steps in a four-mile stretch carries the Highway up onto the tail of the Lizards. A horizon-hiding curtain of spindly Lodgepole pines and trembling aspen is decorated by the occasional young ponderosa pine. At a place called Caithness, the Ministry of Transportation offers travellers a roadside rest area in a recovering grove of dark Western hemlock squeezed in between road and rail.25 Nearly four kilometres farther along the Highway is Old Caithness, whence in 1911 CP extended what became its Waldo Subdivision south to serve the several timber mills previously discussed for 16 years. At Old Caithness, as well in 1912, the Jewell Lumber Company built a second mill, a compliment to the one that it had operated at Hanbury since 1906. For its workers children, the company built a school which educated little scholars for ten years until 1922. In 1918 Jewell shut down its Hanbury operation and removed the useful equipment hither, in time, apparently, to be destroyed by a fire that consumed the mill at a date unrecorded. Jewell rebuilt and worked until it ran out of timber in 1926.
Smuggling on Highway 95
A few kilometres past Caithness and its double-ended residential Rock Creek Road, the Highway doglegs north-eastward to the Ice Cream Cone intersection that frees it from No. 93 which immediately heads 35 kilometres south down the eastern slopes of the Kootenay River valleythe Rocky Mountain Trenchacross Tobacco Plains and into the United States at Roosville. From there, dramatically dubbed the KillerPray for me, I drive 93Road, it continues, ditches apparently packed with the tiny crosses with which some American states like to commemorate the sites of their fatal road accidents, almost straight south to the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River near Las Vegas, Nevada.
A few years older than the Crowsnest Highway, the B.C.-portion of the 93 was in 1924 designated the Black Route. Winding down the Trench much as the modern road does, the Black sent a connector up the Elk River to link with Albertas newly finished Red Route, a dusty all-weather automobile highway which stretched away from the Crowsnest Pass across the high plains to Medicine Hat.
Like highway 95 south from Yahk, the 93 was a corridor for the export of booze in the crazy days of Prohibition. On October the 1st, 1917, the British Columbia Prohibition Act (1917) was declared Law and the province became legally dry, permitting the manufacture of spirituous liquors for export only. Though there was, of course, some leakage from the licensed manufacturers, most folks in B.C. found strong waters hard to come by. Naturally, notes Gary Montgomery in Booze Across the Border (The Forgotten Side of the Border, Wayne Norton and Naomi Miller, eds. Plateau Press, Kamloops, B.C., 1998), as the Boundary in the Trench tended to be seldom patrolled, alcohol soon was flowing uphill from Montana, much of it along 95. This traffic largely halted on January 16th, 1919, when U.S. president Woodrow Wilson signed the Volsted Act into law, enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment of the American constitution which prohibited the manufacture and sale of potable spirits in the United States. The northward flow quickly reversed as B.C. refused to hold itself responsible for the enforcement of American law, and asked no questions of the manufacturers which pumped out liquor for export. Either from a profusion of clandestine stills or from the licensed liquor warehouse in Fernie, professional rum-runners bought their booze and shipped it south, some sneaking it on the Crows Nest Southern, some braving established Boundary crossings in Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs and Hudsons, others picking their ways along hidden trails with pack trains. In June of 1921 the smuggling business opened up to amateurs when B.C. revoked its Prohibition Act and, until the United States followed suit by repealing the Volsted Act on December 5th, 1933, not a few Pass families supplemented their income by helping to slake Americas thirst.
Tobacco Plains and the Ktunaxa
On the Tobacco Plains the Upper Ktunaxa bands used to gather to winter, harvest Nicotiana attenuata and Nicotiana quadrivalisthe wide-spread tobacco26 with the non-addictive form of nicotine which gave the Plains its nameand initiate their boys into manhood by the rite of the Sun Dance. Though they have been clearly associated with the Bitterroot cultural pattern, the fact that the Ktunaxa practised a dance that was closely related to that of the Nakota/Dakota/Lakota (Sioux) and Blackfoot tribes, is used to support the argument that the Ktunaxa are immigrants from the Plains, seeking refuge in the Trench when their neighbours acquired iron arrowheads and firearms. Unlike those of the Plains Tribes though, the Ktunaxa dancers did not go to the excruciating extremes of tethering themselves to the pole by their pectorals. Along with many other sacred aspects of Native society, the Sun Dance was discouraged by White missionaries, the first of who are thought to have been the Oblate fathers, Menetrey and Bellecoeur, who came up for a visit in 1859 from their Mission at St. Marys in todays Montana. Regular discouragement was supplied by Father Fouquet who established St. Eugenes Mission among the greatest concentration of Ktunaxa in the St. Marys valley on the western slopes of the Trench in 1874. By the end of the 1800s the Ktunaxa had given up the ritual.
A major source of protein for the Ktunaxa that lived in the Rocky Mountain Trench was bison meat. Evidence of a buffalo jump farther up the Elk River bears testimony that at one time the beasts used to roam this region, but for some reason they withdrew, and the Ktunaxa were forced to follow them out onto the Plains and into the homeland of the Blackfoot. This made pursuit of the beasts doubly dangerous. Because hunting agitated the bison, the Blackfoot resented these incursions. Buffalo hunting, therefore, became a game of political strategy for the Ktunaxa. Preparatory to the full hunting party setting out for the Prairies, the Ktunaxa would slip scouts through the mountains to learn how many Blackfoot were around, and where they were. If the Blackfoot were lingering on the Eastern Slopes, the scouts would climb onto a prominence, wait to be discovered and hopefully negotiate a temporary treaty to allow their Tribe to venture out onto the Plains for a few weeks hunting. Ideally, though, the Blackfoot would be at their favourite hunting grounds far out on the Prairies by the Cypress Hills. If the Ktunaxa scouts found the foothills unwatched, they would summon the main party and the work would begin. Just because the scouts didnt see any Blackfoot, however, didnt mean that there were not small gangs of them patrolling their Tribes western marches, hoping to stumble onto a Ktunaxa camp and steal some horses. Even if a treaty was established, everyone understood that boys would be boys and the security of Ktunaxa horses could not be ensured. Neither could other Blackfoot clans be relied upon to honour any agreements to which they were not party.
In 1809, two years after the NorWester David Thompson came to the Trench to bring European technology to the Ktunaxa, the HBC sent Joseph Howse across the Divide to set up Fort Kootenai on the Tobacco Plains and compete for the Ktunaxa trade. The Ktunaxa had already come in contact with the Company. In December of 1792 seven lodges of the Tribe had been hunting bison, anxiously camped in the Gap on the Oldman River east of the Rockies in the territory of their Piikani and Kainaa foes. There they met their first White person, the Hudsons Bays man Peter Fidler. Though the meeting, with the restive Piikani looking on, had been brief, Fidler was able to determine that beaver aplenty lived in the Ktunaxas territory and these were the source of many of the pelts that the Blackfoot supplied the Trade. The Coys nearest trading post, however, was the newly-established Buckingham House on the North Saskatchewan River some 300 kilometres from the mountain, on the dangerous frontier between the huge Newiyawak (Cree) nation and the powerful Niitsitapi (Blackfoot): there was no way that the Ktunaxa could get there. And though the Coy had built Fort Edmonton and Acton House even closer to the mountains in 1795 and 1800, respectively, it was still up to Howse to pack a kit of trade goods and go and get the Ktunaxas furs. By 1809, however, Thompson had so won the loyalty of the Tribe that the HBC gambit was unsuccessful and Howse was recalled after only one year. He was, ignominiously, molested by Piikani as he crossed the mountains, they hostile to all Whites after the NorWesters Finan McDonald and Baptiste Buche had helped the Flathead Selish tribe kill 16 Piikani in a battle in July of 1810. Of course, the HB Coy eventually returned, raising a new Fort Kootenay in 1846 on what proved to be American territory when the Boundary was surveyed in 1858-61. Obliged to abandon the Fort, the Coy built a new post the Canadian part of the Plains.
In 1884 Peter OReilly arrived to lay out the Ktunaxas reserves and awarded the Tobacco Plains Band two contiguous little plots totalling some 16.75 square miles between what is now Grasmere and Roosville on the Boundary, about 25 kilometres south of the Intersection. As was the governments intent, the lands were too small to support many people, and in the year MM the resident Band is the smallest of the Ktunaxa Nation.
- Called a freighter by authors unknown in Forests, Farms and Families: A History of the Jaffray, Galloway and Sand Creek Communities, for he owned six teams of horses at work on the Road between 1892 and 1900. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Your humble author begs his readers indulgence with this word. Doab is Hindi and has not yet made its way into the English language. It is useful, however, for it defines that wedge of land sandwiched between converging rivers. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- C.W. Bohi and L.S. Kozma in their book Canadian Pacifics Western Depots: The Country Stations of Western Canada , disagree, noting that the CPR did not raise its small Standard Western Lines Station until 1912. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- 320 acres; one half square mile. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- This was, perhaps, Desrosiers. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- This establishment was never a real hotel, remembers Ernie Desrosiers, present owner of the Jaffray General Store: it was just a beer parlour. In 2006 it sits stuffed with junk behind the Store, awaiting, hopes Ernie, restoration. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- The first president was W.C. Barr. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- The other operators listed in Forests, Farms and Families: A History of the Jaffray, Galloway and Sand Creek Communities are Holfert, A.J Thomas & Sons, Wilks and Khan, and Snow Line. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Purity Dairy had all but cornered the local market come the early 60s. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- The congregation built a second Kingdom Hall on the No. 3 west of Jaffray in 1983. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Except at high water when the waggoneers and other Trail users had to avail themselves of the services of Tom Flowers ferry. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- After meeting in local homes and rented halls since the mid-30s. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Likely Desrosiers. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- John Betenia disagrees. In his erroneously entitled Crowsnest Lumber Company in Forests, Farms and Families: …, he identifies the location of the mill as being on Kikomun (Mud) Creek, and insists that it was established in 1904. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- A very expensive operation, notes John Betenia in Logging (Forests, Farms and Families: …). The right-of-way had to be chosen with care, placed on firm ground what would support the weight of the Shay and its load. Obstructing stumpsand they were huge on the Doabhad to be removed. Cuts and fills had to be made to keep the roadbed reasonably level for, though the Shays were famous for their tractive ability, there were severe limits on what a logging locie could be expected to climb over. Trestles had to be thrown across declivities too deep to fill, and some 2500 ties per mile had to be laid to carry the rails, both trestles and ties made out of wood that the company didnt get to sell. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- An amalgam of silver, lead and zinc, the foundation of the wealth of the fabled Bluebell mine on the eastern edge of the Purcell Trench farther west. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Also referred to as Sand Creek Crossing House, of it nothing discernable from The Highway remains. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- This was probably Cranston, which appeared on a map in the The Annual Report of the Minister of Mines for the Year Ending 31st December, 1897 The writers of the Sand Creek Historical Book Committee in their Forest, Farms and Families: … aver that it was on the south side of the right-of-way some two Kay eastward from the Crossing. The aforementioned Andrew Rosen was reputed to have run a general store here in 1898, but as he was supposedly also employed by the CPR, it could be that he managed this Company storehouse. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- There were but seven mill workers to process what the companys ten loggers delivered. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Dumont was able to hang on thanks to the efforts of small-time independent loggers. Like Chester Hall and Fred Limbocker, Anton Eimer was a woodsman of slim means who managed to acquire some 1400 acres of prime timberlands around Tie Lake north of Jaffray sometime in the 1920s, according to John Betenia. With his sons Eimer set to work falling the timber and horse-hauling much of it to the McDonald mill. Though he made an unfortunately heavy investment on modern equipment just as the Depression struck, Eimer managed to keep working through the 30s. He and Dumont kept did much to keep each other afloat during those mean years. In later years, remembers Betenia, guys like Mader & Damstrom, the Reay brothers, Frank & Larry Onda, Bob Totten, and Jim Durham bought portable mills which they dragged off into the timber to rough-cut lumber which they sold to Dumont and other mills to finish. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Treatment, writes the prolific John Betenia in yet another of his contributions to Forests, Farms and Families: …, Canada Cedar Pole Preservers Limited, was necessary to prevent fungi from attacking the poles, and to discourage insects which would in turn attract woodpeckers. The treating process initially consisted of boiling the logs in coal tar creosote overnight at 111.75 degrees centigrade in ten-foot long tanks sunk vertically into the ground. This was done at night because the sawmill was shut down and the steam that that during the day powered the mill could be diverted from the big engine and used to heat and agitate the creosote. Following the boiling, the logs were soaked for a few hours in a second solution of creosote at a temperature of 62ºC, the difference in heat serving to drive the solution deeply into the wood. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Painting by V.A. Hornquist in 2005, and was fotografd by the author in the Fernie Museum in Fernie, B.C. in the autumn of 2006. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- The rink was flooded on November 15th, 1955, with the first official games played on December 19th after the ice cured. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- The present St. Josephs is located on Rosen Lake Road about halfway between Jaffray and Galloway. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- It was near here on April 17, 1961, that the Dayliner and a CP freight train collided spectacularly, resulting in no serious injuries, but days of reconstruction and clean-up before the Southern Mainline was again open to traffic. !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow
- Which ever way Nicotiana was used, it was prepared for the pipe by mixing it with bearberry leaves (Arctostaphylus uva-ursi, or the cambium of red osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera). !NB: To return to this end-notes origin in the main text, left-click your browsers Back arrow