Carson and Cascade more than just border crossings
Twenty-seventh in a mostly alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
The Grand Forks neighbourhood of Carson was surveyed as a townsite and named for Isabella Carson McLaren (?-1887) in tribute by her son James, who had a nursery there.
The earliest reference is in the Nelson Miner of December 7, 1895: “Townsites are blossoming on all sides. Carson City has been surveyed at McLaren’s on Kettle river, right on the line between the reservation and British Columbia.”
The surviving streets are Vernon and Government, plus Riverside, Victoria, Vancouver, and Westminster avenues.
The post office opened on April 1, 1892 as Kettle River, but was renamed Carson on March 1, 1896 following a petition dated October 23, 1895. Residents felt Kettle River was too general, since there were many settlements along it. The office closed July 31, 1915.
The name survives in Carson Road as well as the Carson border crossing.
Isabella McLaren is buried in Grey County, Ont.
Carstens was the townsite near Whatshan Lake where six Mennonite families settled in 1911. It was named for Hugo Emil Carstens (1866-1941), president of the Columbia Valley Land Co., which sold them the property.
Carstens, the man, was instrumental in encouraging German families to emigrate to Canada and served as German consul for the Prairies. However, the Whatshan settlement was not successful, due in part to its isolation and lack of water to support large-scale agriculture. By 1917 Carstens, the town, was no more.
The Boundary town of Cascade, also known as Cascade City, was named by 1890, presumably after the cascading waterfalls nearby. On February 9 of that year, the Spokane Falls Review advertised Cascade as “The Denver of the North.”
In anticipation of construction of the Columbia and Western Railway, John A. Coryell surveyed the townsite and deposited the plan on January 10, 1895.
Cascade’s chief promoter, who is sometimes credited with choosing the name, was George Kendall Stocker, a Spokane realtor and agent for townsite owner Aaron Chandler.
Cascade enjoyed boom times when the railway did come through, then began a slow decline.
A post office application was filed on December 14, 1896, but the office didn’t open until October 11, 1897. It amalgamated with Christina Lake on June 30, 1973.
The late Ron Walker, a longtime customs officer, wrote in his book I Declare: “In the early 1960s Cascade City dropped the word ‘City’ from its name, since no city had existed there for over 30 years. There are a number of other places named Cascade, and every once in a while, a letter posted to Cascade, Argentina, shows up at the [customs] office.”
Today portions of the Cascade townsite survive: Main street, plus First, Second, and Third avenues. The rest is home to the Christina Lake golf course.
The name survives as a border crossing and par 3 course.
Previous installments in this series