One-hundred eighty-fourth in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
The last few weeks we’ve been looking at the many places and geographic features that have adopted the name Slocan. Here are a few more.
Little Slocan is the name of the river that enters the main Slocan at Vallican as well as two lakes, upper and lower.
The first mention of of the Little Slocan River is in The Ledge of June 3, 1897 in reference to the Drum Lommond mining claim, staked by William Maher, who operated a halfway house at Vallican.
The nickname “Silvery Slocan” was probably coined by newspaper publisher Robert T. Lowery. Its earliest use was as a headline in the Nakusp Ledge of Dec. 6, 1894. It also appeared as a Ledge headline on April 25, 1895.
Meanwhile, “Silver Slocan” appeared in the Nelson Miner on Oct. 19, 1895, plus March 14, March 28 and Oct 10, 1896. On Nov. 22, 1896, the Sandon Paystreak wrote: “[O]ne more mill will be turning out its rich products to add to the wealth of the country and the fame of the silvery Slocan.”
The phrase was used often thereafter, as these examples demonstrate:
• “The Firm aim to have everything First-Class except prices. The latter is not as high as it might be considering the present hurrah in the Silvery Slocan.” – Ad for Hunter & McKinnon in the Nakusp Ledge, Dec. 31, 1896.
• “Ups and downs of life in this utopia of the Silvery Slocan”— Subheadline in The Paystreak, Feb. 20, 1897.
Since the 1990s, the name has been most commonly used in connection with the Silvery Slocan Circle Route (or tour).
For all of the many Slocan-related features, there is no Slocan Creek. At least not any more. When the Payne mine was recorded on Sept. 22, 1891, setting off the Silvery Slocan rush, it was described as “situate on the headwaters of Slocan creek about 25 miles west of Kootenay Lake.”
In discussing the Nakusp and Slocan trail, the 1894 BC public works report noted “The bridge at the mouth of Slocan Creek having been badly injured by high water, was repaired at a cost of $15.” It’s unclear what stream this referred to.
In June 1897, Theodore Pearson and S.A. Rosander staked the Volcano mining claim on Slocan creek, although no other clues to its whereabouts were provided. There are other references to Slocan Creek, but it’s obvious in those instances that the Slocan River is actually being discussed.
In addition to Slocan Lake, Slocan River, Slocan Park, South Slocan, Slocan Pool, and the Village of Slocan, Slocan City survives officially as a former railway point. There’s also Slocan Ridge (adopted in 1959), Slocan Ranges (adopted in 1960) and the Slocan Mercantile General Store — otherwise known as the Sandon museum — that was designated a provincial heritage site in 1992.
Unofficially, there’s Slocan Narrows, the site of 3,000-year-old Sinixt pithouse villages. Archaeological studies have been underway there since 2000.
The Slocan Mining Division was established by order in council in 1892 and part of it was subdivided as the Slocan City Mining Division in 1897. They amalgamated in 1939. The Slocan Mining Division still exists, but no longer means much.
The Slocan school district, created in 1947, amalgamated with the Nelson school district in 1970, which further amalgamated with the Creston-Kaslo district in 1996 to become the present Kootenay Lake school district.
The Slocan provincial electoral district, created in 1903, amalgamated with the Kaslo riding in 1924 to become Kaslo-Slocan. In 1966, the Slocan portion became part of the Revelstoke-Slocan riding and in 1979, part of Nelson-Creston.
The CPR sternwheeler SS Slocan plied Slocan Lake from 1897 to 1928.
Slocan streets can be found in Slocan, New Denver, Nelson, just outside Kaslo — and in Vancouver, where it’s one of several streets named after other places in BC. The Slocan diner is at the corner of Slocan and East Hastings while the Slocan community hall is at Slocan and East 29th Ave. The hall is surrounded by Slocan Park.
There’s also a Slocan Star Street in Sandon, South Slocan Village Road in South Slocan, Slocan West and Slocan North roads near Slocan City, Slocan West Road in Winlaw, Little Slocan West Road in Vallican, Slocan Valley West Road, Slocan Park Road, and Upper Slocan Park Road in Slocan Park, plus the Slocan Valley Heritage Rail Trail. Finally, 4th Ave NW in Nakusp used to be Slocan Avenue.