Townsites competed for right to be called Christina
Thirty-third in a series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Last week we looked at Christina Lake, named for Christina McDonald McKenzie Williams. In the late 1890s, she also lent her name to four short-lived townsites at the lake. According to the 1967 Boundary Historical Society report, each locator hoped to get his surveyed first: Eli LaValley applied on the point which now bears his name; Ross Thompson, the founder of Rossland, had another town on Baker Creek; and a third location was made on the railway near English Cove.
“However on arrival of H.L. Moody in the spring of 1898, he was so intrigued with the area that he located a townsite of his own at the foot of the lake and registered it as Christina. Much indignation arose among the other survey applications, mostly over the stealing of the name ...”
An early ad for Christina, or Christina City, appeared in the Rossland Miner on October 6, 1898. But it was also known as Moodyville and first referred to by that name in the Cascade Record of November 19, 1898: “The town of Christina, or Moodyville, is gradually growing and there will soon be quite a settlement there.” Stewart and Semple opened a general store and Moody had an hotel, but that was about it.
The Christina post office opened April 1, 1899 with Eli LaValley as postmaster and closed November 30 of the same year following his resignation. The Cascade Record of August 26, 1899, which considered Christina City and Moodyville to be separate places, described the latter as “semi-moribund.”
Not much is known about H.L. Moody, except that he was a Spokane realtor. His name survives in Moody Creek and Moody Creek Estates.
Alice Christian wrote in the Boundary Historical Society’s 1959 report that her husband Joseph (1875-1931) came to BC from Quebec sometime before 1902 with his brother John and took up land along the Kettle River at what is now Christian Valley, but didn’t move there permanently until about 1910.
The name was bestowed when a public school opened: “The inspector of schools was up and he, my husband and I were standing in the meadow,” Alice wrote. “He said ‘The Christian family have done lots of pioneer agricultural work in this province and nothing has been called after them yet, so Christian Valley school it shall be.’”
According to Alice Glanville’s Schools of the Boundary, the school opened in 1916.
Previous installments in this series