A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
A parapet is a protective wall on the edge of a roof, balcony, or bridge. It was also the name of a junction on the Nakusp and Slocan Railway, east of Three Forks. According to Roger Burrows’ Railway Mileposts, Vol. II, Parapet “was the location from which CPR’s new 1912 line diverged from the original railway.”
Presumably there was an actual parapet of some sort there, but it’s not clear. The first known contemporary use of the name was in a Department of Mines report from 1919: “The Canadian Pacific railway operates the line through the map area from Rosebery to Kaslo, with a branch from Three Forks or Parapet Junction to Sandon.”
This flag station was on the Columbia and Kootenay Railway, 30 miles west of Castlegar and seven miles east of Paulson.
It was named after a creek, first mentioned in the Brooklyn News of Aug. 6, 1898: “James Innes is building a log hotel at Porcupine creek, about ten miles out, on the line of construction. It will open in a few days for the weary traveller.”
The newspaper added on Nov. 5: “In about three miles more the little settlement at Porcupine creek was reached, where the Hotel Kootenay, Norman Luce, proprietor, and 10-Mile House, or Porcupine Hotel, Ennis & Bolan, props, are both located and doing an excellent business. Many teams stop here, where ample stabling can be found.”
Once the railway was completed, the hotels outlived their usefulness. The last mention was in the Cascade Record of April 22, 1899: “Max Ribstein, proprietor of the Porcupine Hotel at Porcupine creek, who was in town Wednesday, says there are 28 men working on the big railway bridge at that point and they will have the structure completed by May 1.”
Porcupine received its own listing in W.A. Jeffries’ 1914 Nelson City and District Directory. The lone resident was a labourer (presumably for the railway) named Frank Silverton.
Porcupine was not listed the following year, but re-appeared in the 1918 directory with the note “No agent or local residents.” It was still listed in 1925, but disappeared by 1930.
Henderson’s 1897 directory of BC mining companies included entries for the Consolidated Seven Mines Co., which owned claims “on the south slope of Lookout Mountain; three of the claims border on the Columbia River at Poulton’s Landing,” as well as the Old Flag Gold Mining Co., whose claims were “seven miles south of Trail, one mile west of Poulton’s Landing.”
The 1900-01 directory also said the British Columbia (Rossland and Slocan) Syndicate Ltd. had three properties “situated on Columbia River at Poulton’s Landing, opp. Waneta.”
We can assume the namesake of this place was William Robert Poulton (1853-1918). By 1890, he was running a restaurant at Sproat’s Landing (near present-day Raspberry), then moved to Trail, where he opened the Gladstone House hotel.
The Nelson Miner of March 14, 1891 noted Poulton had “great faith” in the Trail Creek mining camp, but it would “not prevent him from going back to old England to gain possession of an immense property left him by a deceased relative.”
On July 1, Poulton was appointed Trail’s first postmaster. He resigned less than two months later, and perhaps did return to England, for nothing more was heard of him until May 1893, when he was reported building a hotel at the mouth of Beaver Creek “so as to get a share of the business that will be done there during the construction of the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway.”
This became the Sayward Hotel, at today’s Columbia Gardens, which thrived until the railway was completed. Poulton’s name next appeared two years later when he staked a mining claim near Christina Lake. In 1900, he was prospecting in the Aspen Grove area near Princeton; in 1910 he was in north-central BC, helping to build a bridge over the Bulkley River; and the following year he was in Houston (BC, not Texas). He died on Nov. 23, 1918 at Eburne, near Richmond, a town that no longer exists.
This sternwheeler landing on the south side of Kootenay Lake, about nine miles from Nelson, was first mentioned in the Phoenix Pioneer of May 26, 1906: “James T. Russell came over from Nelson Saturday and returned Thursday with his family. They will settle on the fruit ranch Mr. Russell purchased recently on Kootenay Lake …”
James Thomas Russell (1863-1941) came to Canada from England in 1889. He married Florence Charlotte Jones (1864?-1957), who immigrated from England in 1903, although the date and place of their wedding is unknown. However, they were soon living in the Boundary mining town of Phoenix.
In 1905, they bought the 140-acre ranch mentioned above. In 1908, James also received a Crown grant for Lot 7878, through which Nine Mile Creek runs. On the 1911 census, James and Florence were shown at Willow Point, along with son Cecil, born at Greenwood in 1904.
Russell Landing merited its own entry in W.A. Jeffries’ Nelson City and District Directory of 1914. The only resident listed besides Russell and his wife was a C.G. Lomax.
Russell appeared on the CPR’s timetable as of June 4, 1916, and James gave Russell’s Landing as his address when he signed up for World War I. (He lied about his age on his enlistment papers, claiming to be 44 when he was really 53.)
By 1918 Russell’s population doubled with the addition of ranchers James F. Campbell and Henry Vaughn. Russell was listed in the directories until 1943, but had no residents after 1921. James and Florence Russell moved to Vancouver around 1925.
A railway station called Russells was also listed in the 1920s, 13 miles from Nelson.