Brooklyn, BC was no Brooklyn, NY
Twenty-fifth in an A-to-Z series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
The boomtown of Brooklyn, on Lower Arrow Lake, came to life in 1898 as the construction headquarters of the Columbia and Western Railway and died once the railway was completed.
The earliest mention came in the Victoria Daily Colonist of June 23, 1898: “James Wilson, formerly street superintendent of Victoria, arrived today at Brooklyn, the newest city of the Kootenay country, which has within the past week sprung up …”
A month later the Colonist added: “Some little distance this side of Robson the steamer runs alongside a camp with the pretentious sounding name of Brooklyn.”
Townsite owner William Parker pre-empted the land a few years earlier and built a log cabin. According to Clara Graham in Kootenay Mosaic, he named it after his native Brooklyn, New York. (In turn, a natural arch in the area is sometimes called the Brooklyn Bridge.)
The townsite consisted of Lake, First, Second, and Third streets, plus Park, Brooklyn, Larson, Stewart, and Whitmore avenues.
The Brooklyn post office opened October 1, 1898, closed November 20, 1899, re-opened December 18, 1899 and closed for good on May 1, 1900.
By 1911, J.E. Annable of Nelson acquired the vacant townsite and began subdividing it into orchard lands, anticipating the arrival of a dozen families from Alberta. He soon sold 517 acres to C.W. Stirling and Co. of Moose Jaw who hired every man available at nearby Deer Park to continue land clearing.
The Brooklyn townsite today is just a field, accessible only by boat, 16 kilometres north of the Hugh Keenleyside dam.
This farming community south of Nakusp was named for Dr. Jacob Edwin Brouse (1868-1925), medical officer for the Nakusp and Slocan Railway.
According to Kate Johnson in Pioneer Days of Nakusp and Arrow Lakes, “The nearest doctor was Dr. Brouse of New Denver, who would so often be called in time of sickness or accident and as the residents heard the train stop at a certain center, they would invariably say ‘Here is Dr. Brouse.’ Through the efforts of Mr. Cameron, the KP members and Masonic members, the name Brouse was chosen instead of Box Lake.” (The school district, however, was called Box Lake from 1909-44 until it amalgamated with Nakusp.)
In Port of Nakusp, Milt Parent clarifies that James Cameron and Jim Morrison chose the name.
The Brouse post office opened January 1, 1910, closed May 31, 1917, reopened December 6, 1932 and closed for good May 30, 1964.
This spot, also known as Burnt Flat Junction, is where you turn off Highway 3 to head to the Nelway border crossing south of Salmo.
The settlement was on Burnt Creek, which was named by 1897, but its precise origin is unknown.
Next week: Starting on the Cs
Previous installments in this series