A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
By Greg Nesteroff
Special to Black Press
The 1915 edition of W.A. Jeffries’ Kootenay and Boundary Directory included Hardy Mountain near Grand Forks as a place unto itself, with five residents, all farmers or ranchers. Among them was a member of the namesake family, Edward Blake Hardy (1873-1962).
He was born in Middlesex, Ont., the ninth of ten children to Thomas and Ellen Gillis Hardy. He also had ten half siblings from his father’s first marriage; Thomas was 35 years older than his second wife and was 74 when Edward was born.
Edward’s elder brothers Thomas J. (1862-?) and Neil (1868-?) both preceded him into the Boundary. Neil obtained a Crown grant for property at the south end of Christina Lake in 1893. He and his wife lived at Lime Creek, about 11 miles up the North Fork of the Kettle River. In 1894, Thomas ran the Boundary Falls Hotel. Edward joined them by 1901.
Their mountain was first mentioned in the Grand Forks Miner on Jan. 2, 1897: “Bert Ring, who is part owner in the Home Run and Star of the West claims on Hardy mountain, has transferred his interest in the above claims to A.L. Rogers …”
The name was officially adopted in 1924. There’s also a Hardy Creek, adopted in 1959.
The Hardy boys are further remembered in Hardy Mountain Road, Hardy View Lodge, and the Hardy Mountain Doukhobor Museum, which has been closed for many years, but is now owned by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
This spot on Kootenay Lake’s north shore was first listed in the 1939 BC directory as “on stage near Nelson” but no residents were named. The 1947 Greyhound schedule (reproduced in the second volume of Tom’s Gray Creek) indicated it was four minutes north of Kokanee and two minutes south of Crescent Bay. By then it had already been dropped from the civic directory. The name is no longer in use and its origin is unclear, although there was a Hayes family in Nelson.
Turn off Highway 3 at Christina Lake onto Fife Road and you’ll soon get to Fife. Keep going and you’ll eventually reach Hilltop.
The earliest known mention was in a curious story in the Grand Forks Sun of Sept. 12, 1913 about the arrival of “a young Nova Scotia lady teacher to this city to take charge of the Hilltop school. When she arrived here she could find no one among a whole city full of people who could tell her where the Hilltop school is located.”
A week later she learned Hilltop “was somewhere in the vicinity of Fife, and left for that place. The people of Fife appeared to be nearly as ignorant regarding Hilltop as the people of Grand Forks, but finally she found a man who said he had heard the name mentioned once or twice. A further search and she was rewarded by encountering a person who admitted that he was quite conversant with the actual location of Hilltop. It was six miles from Fife, nearly straight up in the air, being situated on the highest eminence in the neighborhood.”
She arrived to discover the school was a log cabin “perched on the loftiest peak” that would have been “a splendid site for an observatory.” Unable to find a place to live, she slept in the school that night, and fled the next day.
Hilltop is not on any map, but the name is still familiar to locals.
This Boundary railway siding was first mentioned in the Phoenix Pioneer of June 18, 1904: “The two crossing sidings recently graded by the CPR, one below Eholt and the other halfway between Eholt and Phoenix, have been named respectfully Hodges siding and Williams siding, after the two well known superintendents of the Granby Co.”
Abel Bixley Ward Hodges (1862-1942), who designed, built, and managed the Grand Forks smelter, was born in Wisconsin, raised in Saint Louis, and died in Los Angeles.
His other claim to fame was owning the first automobile in the Boundary — an electric one, no less — which he acquired second-hand in Spokane in 1905. His daughter Marion Hodges Austin recalled the first time he drove it down Bridge Street (now Market Avenue), “people ran out of their houses, stores and saloons, their eyes popping, to get their first look at a horseless carriage.”
Marion and her sister Daisy lived to 102 and 101 respectively.
William Yolen Williams (1855-1929) was from Carnavonshire, North Wales. He worked in many American mining camps before coming to BC for the first time in 1883. He was superintendent of several mines in Rossland in the 1890s before taking a similar position in the Boundary. He retired in 1904 and moved to Spokane where he died.
He was the subject of a blog post on BBC Wales a few years ago.