A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
By Greg Nesteroff
Special to Black Press
Boundary Creek City, also known as Boundary City (but not to be confused with Boundary Falls), was at the confluence of Boundary Creek and Eholt Creek, 2.5 miles north of Greenwood.
It was first mentioned in the Midway Advance of July 19, 1897 in a full page ad taken out by the Boundary Creek Mining and Milling Co. Ltd. The company’s directors were president G. Arthur Rendall, well known in Greenwood and Eholt; vice-president S.S. Fowler, a mining engineer later to manage the Bluebell mine at Riondel; secretary-treasurer E. Jacobs (soon replaced by C.W.H. Samsom); manager D.A. Holbrook; Thomas McDonnell, whose ranch the townsite was carved from; and surveyor C.A.E. Shaw, who presumably laid out the lots.
The ad explained that 40 acres of the 560-acre ranch had been surveyed: “Building has already commenced on the new townsite, which offers particular inducement for both business and residence purposes.”
The only building known to have been completed was the Providence Hotel, which opened the same month, operated by Holbrook and McDonnell. Ads described it as “A comfortable stopping place on the road to Long Lake, Summit, Pass Creek, North and Kimberley Camps.”
The Boundary Creek Times of Sept. 4, 1897 explained how “At Boundary Creek City they are enjoying strawberry shortcake, the strawberries being the second crop this year. Mrs. Holbrook of the Providence hotel picked several pints this week.”
Ads for the hotel and townsite ran until the end of the year, after which Boundary City all but vanished from the newspapers. The last reference was in the Times of May 6, 1910, in a discussion about the Elkhorn mine: “Located in the early ‘90s by Tom McDonnell, it passed later into the hands of C.S. Thomet, who traded his ranch, now Boundary Creek City, and a beautiful white mare for the then prospect, now known as the Elkhorn mine.”
McDonnell received a crown grant for Lot 638 on April 21, 1897. The townsite was somewhere on this lot, and possibly on parts of Lots 639 and 640 as well. By 1913, the London and Canada Syndicate owned these lots — and was in arrears on taxes.
Boundary City appeared in the civic directory, although the only listings were for the mining company and hotel. Holbrook was listed as president and manager of both from 1899-1900. As of 1901, Holbrook was still in charge of the company but Midway rancher Hugh Murray rented the hotel. It remained that way through 1903. The town was still listed in 1904, 1905, 1910, and 1918 through 1923 but with no residents. The latter gave it as “a siding on Boundary branch of CPR.”
This sternwheeler landing was on the south side of Kootenay Lake, west of Harrop. It was named for William Wilberforce Bradley (1867-1951), who pre-empted Lot 6872 in 1902 although he did not receive a crown grant until six years later.
William came to the area from Ontario around 1898 but returned east to marry Bertha Young in 1902. Their daughter Ileen was born in Nelson the following year. William became chief provincial assessor for the Kootenay before the family moved to Vancouver around 1917.
The name is perpetuated in Bradley Creek, which flows through its namesake’s old lot. The creek name was adopted in 1966 as identified on water rights records dating to World War I.
Although officially recognized only as a body of water and not a community, Brown Creek is both. This spot on the west side of the Granby River, 22.9 km north of Grand Forks, was named after Robert Allan (Volcanic) Brown (1849-1931). He was also the namesake of Volcanic City and Volcanic Creek, previously covered in this series.
Brown Creek was first mentioned in the Midway Advance of April 26, 1897: “Pass creek empties into the North Fork of Kettle river from the west, about one and a half miles north from Brown’s creek …”
The Brown Creek school opened in 1920 and there is still a hall and pavilion. The creek name was officially adopted in 1956 and is further perpetuated in Brown Creek Road.
— With thanks to Al Donnelly