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4 streets in Trail named Nelson

Updated: Jan 27

Nelson has but one street named after itself, Nelson Avenue. But Trail has had four different streets and avenues named Nelson. Only one survives, although for a brief period in the 1920s, there were three of them at once, which must have led to some misdelivered mail.

The first Nelson Street was on the original Trail townsite plan of 1891 and was parallel to Victoria Street between Cedar and the Esplanade. However, I doubt it ever really existed. No buildings are shown on it on the fire insurance map of 1897 (depicted below, which includes pasted-over updates from some later date). The street and some of its lots were on the hillside then being used as the smelter’s slag pile.

Nelson Street doesn’t appear at all on the next available fire map from 1918. Today the rear of the Trail Memorial Centre and its parking lot are closest to where the street would have been.

Next we have Nelson Avenue in West Trail, which is still around. I’m not sure when it was platted. It wasn’t part of the original Columbia Heights addition of 1897, but does appear on the 1918 fire insurance plan.

Nelson Avenue in Trail, showing the LeRose house.

In 1916, a subdivision was surveyed immediately opposite the smelter. One street was named Nelson Avenue and remained so until the 1940s when it was renamed Aldridge Avenue.

In the early 1960s, Aldridge Avenue homeowners were told they had to sell their homes to Cominco and move elsewhere as the smelter wanted the property for their expanding operations. The former neighbourhood is now the site of the zinc electrolytic and melting plant — the big concrete building when you come into the plant area from the north.

Survey plan for the smelter subdivision, showing Nelson Avenue at right.

Aldridge Avenue became part of Highway 22. Some maps still show it as Aldridge Avenue, but none as Nelson Avenue.

East Trail was also home to a short-lived Nelson Street, which shows up on a 1925 fire insurance map (pictured below). It’s now Clark Street, which crosses Second Avenue and Columbia Avenue between McQuarrie and Robertson (it used to extend to Third Avenue before Safeway was built). I don’t know when the name was changed but it was by 1929. Nor do I know who the namesake Clark was.

Presumably all these streets were named after Nelson the city, which in turn was named for Hugh Nelson, the lieutenant governor at the time of the townsite survey in 1888 — although he otherwise had nothing to do with the place and never visited it.

Nelson has no streets named Trail.

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Nichol Kevin
Nichol Kevin
Nov 28, 2023

When David Thompson named the Selkirks the "Nelson Mountains" in about 1807, he named them after his hero, the British Admiral Horatio Nelson, who had won several decisive naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson had been fatally shot during his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

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