Trail Blazers: Resting for Eternity

The first cemetery in Trail was near the smelter. Photo: Trail Historical SocietyThe first cemetery in Trail was near the smelter. Photo: Trail Historical Society
The first cemetery in Trail was near the smelter. Photo: Trail Historical SocietyThe first cemetery in Trail was near the smelter. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Mountain View Cemetery — the rolling hill of green on the side of the mountain driving up to Rossland — came into existence after the Trail Tadanac Cemetery became too haphazard to maintain and was abandoned in 1932.

Mountain View Cemetery was opened by the City of Trail in 1932. Today, its management falls to the regional district.

Mountain View Cemetery was opened by the City of Trail in 1932. Today, its management falls to the regional district.

Encroaching growth of the Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company (CM&S, now-Teck Trail) pushed the boundaries of the small cemetery that had been in existence since at least 1895.

Opened under the stewardship of the City of Trail, then-mayor Bruno LeRose and Trail city council opened Mountain View Cemetery on April 13, 1932.

“The land for Mountain View was purchased in 1930 by the city with the hopes of making the cemetery grounds a ‘beauty spot’ for Trail; one that Trail citizens could be proud of,” explains Trail archivist Addison Oberg.

The deed for the 5.6-acre site had previously belonged to CM&S and is where the former Endersley farm once stood.

Upon the deed agreement, CM&S requested that, if purchased, the city would put forward $500 on the beautification of the land plot.

There was also a suggestion from CM&S and the citizens of Trail that a certain amount of uniform design be considered for the cemetery lay-out, unlike the old Trail Tadanac Cemetery.

This remodeling process was a massive undertaking done by the city and the Trail-Tadanac parks board, but it established the plan for the landscaping, tree planting and site facilities that came later as the site grew.

“Piece by piece, Mountain View Cemetery came to be known as the peaceful final resting place we know today,” said Oberg.

But what about the first resting place, the Trail Tadanac Cemetery?

What happened to the city’s earliest pioneers laid to rest next to the smelter?

Interestingly, after the old cemetery was abandoned in 1932, Oberg says the land remained untouched for 25 years.

“The Trail Tadanac Cemetery was exhumed in 1957 under the leadership of Buddy DeVito,” she continued. “The graves were re-interred into the Old Trail Cemetery just down the highway from Mountain View Cemetery, where they remain to this day.”

In the end, 1,134 sets of remains were uncovered and removed along with a memorial to the soldiers killed in the First World War.

The site of the Trail Tadanac Cemetery is near impossible to spot today, as the majority of the land became a parking lot for Teck Trail employees.

(Right) The Old Trail Cemetery contains 1,134 remains along with a memorial to the soldiers killed in the First World War. Images: FindAGrave.com

(Right) The Old Trail Cemetery contains 1,134 remains along with a memorial to the soldiers killed in the First World War. Images: FindAGrave.com

Frank Hanna Jr.

One of the most notable burials at the Trail Tadanac Cemetery was that of 16-year old Frank Hanna Jr., the only son of Frank Hanna, one of Trail’s co-founders.

Sadly, the teenager succumbed to typhoid fever on Nov. 15, 1895. Frank Jr. was the second person buried in the Trail Tadanac Cemetery since settlers began arriving in Trail Creek five years previous.

Today, Frank Jr.’s grave marker is one of the oldest and most valued artifacts entrusted to the care of Trail museum staff.

Regarding the cause of Frank Jr.’s demise, records show that during the 1890s and early 1900s, thousands died from typhoid fever in Canada.

Caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria, typhoid fever was not uncommon back then due to inadequate sanitation systems.

As well, it was easily spread. People infected with the bacteria often passed the illness to others by inadequate hand-washing, especially after using the lavatory.

Physicians had a variety of “treatments” for typhoid fever a 100 years ago, including the administration of turpentine, quinine, brandy and quinine sulphate. Indeed, if the therapeutics didn’t end the suffering entirely, they likely offered little relief.

Eventually, doctors came to learn that hygienic measures were the most important way to avoid infection.

The only effective treatment today, of course, is antibiotics.

City of TrailLocal History