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More Holy Grails of local history

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

A previous post enumerated historical finds I have made only to lose track of them or fail to document their discovery, to my everlasting chagrin. Here are a few more.

WIHL reunion photos

The Western International Hockey League, which existed from 1946 to 1988, included teams from Nelson, Trail, Rossland, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Spokane and Fernie — plus at various times Los Angeles, Portland, and Calgary.

In 1999, former players held a gala reunion in Trail. I did impromptu interviews with several of them, which I have placed on Soundcloud. I also took photos of most of those players, including the one seen at right of the late Mike Shabaga, who played for the Trail Smoke Eaters in the 1950s.

For years I couldn’t find the original prints and negatives. I scanned those photos — but in black and white. Why? Because my computer at the time only had a 4 GB hard drive, and I wanted to save space! After all, I reasoned, I didn’t have a colour printer.

I originally wrote this blog post about those missing photos. A few days later, while moving some books, a folder hiding between a couple of volumes fell out. It was the missing photos! Ask and ye shall receive, I guess. You can find all of the portraits and interviews here.

Radio airchecks

I’ve also been posting examples of local radio broadcasts but was dismayed that two tapes went missing. One had three newscasts recorded on the morning of Oct. 24, 1999: Jayne Garry on KBS, Mary Hombrebueno on BKR, and another on CBC.

The first cast included a report I filed on the 75th anniversary of the train explosion that killed Doukhobor leader Peter (Lordly) Verigin. I interviewed Steve Lapshinoff, who wrote a book on the subject. (And if anyone has a copy they want to sell, let me know.)

(Update: I have found this tape! You can listen to the casts by clicking here.)

I also had a two-minute news report that aired on CKQR in 1988 concerning the removal of the Robson ferry. It was just the single item; it didn’t appear to be part of a newscast, but it was an amazing audio artifact.

Slocan Saloon ad

A previous post looked at the history of two separate establishments in Bonners Ferry and Spokane known as the Slocan Saloon.

I first learned about the latter in what I thought was an ad in the Spokane Review of April 9, 1893. Trouble is, when I checked that issue again, I couldn’t find it. Thinking I had the wrong date, I looked at earlier and later editions. No luck. The rival Spokane Chronicle didn’t publish that day (a Sunday) and a check of other editions turned up nothing. Later, I discovered it was not an ad, just a passing mention in a frightening story that day:

Tom Eldridge, well known as a desperate character, shot three times at Tom Clearly, ex-lightweight champion pugilist of the Pacific coast, yesterday at 5:30 p.m. … The difficulty occurred at the corner of Main avenue and Howard street, between the Owl and the Slocan salooons.

I also made a separate discovery: there was another Slocan Saloon in Northport. According to the San Francisco Examiner of May 10, 1893 (seen at right), it was destroyed by fire along with five other businesses. The building was worth $1,200 and was not insured.

At the time, the word Slocan had a highly prosperous connotation, leading businesses to adopt it even when they were nowhere near the area, similar to how Klondyke Hotels popped up later in locales far from the Yukon.

Mud Landing

An installment in my weekly series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names, included an entry for Mud Landing, which was somewhere on Slocan Lake. According to the Slocan Enterprise of Dec. 8, 1931: “Ben Brown was down from Mud Landing last Monday, getting a few groceries.”

Somewhere I found a second reference (in a newspaper? on a map?) that clarified its location, I think, as near the north end of the lake. But I’ve had no success finding it again. Best guess is that it’s somewhere in the towering pile of papers on my desk.

Mrs. Reed

Here’s one I lost track of, as I was preparing to do a walking tour of the New Denver cemetery (pictured below) and drawing up a list of early burials.

One possible burial I can’t confirm was mentioned in the Nelson Miner of July 14, 1894: “The deepest sympathy is being felt for Al Reed, whose bride of about three months died at Silverton late on Sunday night. Mrs. Reed had only been in the country a few months.”

I subsequently discovered a newspaper reference to Reed getting remarried that December to Edith Carine — but promptly lost it. The marriage was not registered in BC. Nothing particularly important turned on finding the date and paper this appeared in — it wouldn’t help me figure out more about the first Mrs. Reed or whether she is really buried in New Denver, but it was frustrating.

Peter Smith quickly came to the rescue, pointing me to the Nakusp Ledge of Nov. 22, 1894: “Al Read was married last week in New Denver to Edith Caveen, both of Silverton.” Subsequently, I also found this in the Nelson Tribune of Nov. 17, 1894: “Married at New Denver on Wednesday, the 14th instant, by G.H. Morden, Methodist minister at Nelson, Alfred A. Read to Edith E. Caveen, both of Silverton.”

Yet for some reason I wrote the name as Carine and indicated the wedding was in December. My mistakes or is there a third reference?

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Oct 14, 2018

Greg! please contact me re: Celebration of Words -- Riondel -- thanks!

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