Community

Nelson mayor named Crescent Valley

An envelope from the old Crescent Valley elementary school, mailed in 1968. The community took its name after a crescent-shaped hill. - Greg Nesteroff collection
An envelope from the old Crescent Valley elementary school, mailed in 1968. The community took its name after a crescent-shaped hill.
— image credit: Greg Nesteroff collection

Forty-second in an almost alphabetical series on West Kootenay-Boundary place names

Nelson realtor Charles Forbes McHardy (1875-1948) is credited with naming Crescent Valley, at the lower end of the Slocan Valley.

According to George Melvin’s The Post Offices of British Columbia it was “on account of [the] crescent-shaped hill behind [the] valley.”

The name was added to the CPR timetable on May 6, 1906. The Nelson Daily News of January 3, 1911 explained “About six years ago ... Charles F. McHardy of the firm McDermid & McHardy, while on a hunting expedition ... first realized the extent and value of this land, with the result that they acquired large areas …”

McHardy went on to serve as mayor of Nelson in 1921-22 and is remembered in the city’s McHardy Street. (Another Nelson mayor, the late Tex Mowatt, was a longtime Crescent Valley resident.)

Crescent Valley owed much of its early existence to Quebec lumberman Joseph Patrick, who built a large sawmill there in 1907, and put his hockey-playing sons Lester and Frank to work for him. The mill’s sale in 1911 to the British Canadian Lumber Co. helped finance the birth of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.

The Crescent Valley post office opened in 1910. Founding postmaster Curtis W. Lester was Joseph Patrick’s nephew.

According to Yvette Swanson’s A Look in the Past, Crescent Valley was formerly known as Bourgeois Siding, after George Bourgeois and family, who began homesteading there at the turn of the 20th century. However, no contemporary references to this name have yet been found.

Craigtown

Several sources indicate Craigtown and Green City, ghost towns on the west side of Erie Creek near Salmo, were the same place, but we’ll treat them separately.

Craigtown was first mentioned in the Rossland Miner of June 13, 1896: “The miners on the north fork of the Salmon river have started a new town called Craigtown, seven miles from Salmon siding on the Nelson and Fort Sheppard railway. The town already boasts one hotel, one assay office and numerous residences.”

But by August 1897, it was still not well known, for journalist R.W. Northey wrote in The Ledge: “‘Give me a ticket for Craigtown, please,’ was the request I made to the ticket clerk at the Rossland station of the Red Mountain Railway last Monday. ‘Craigtown?’ he ejaculated with a surprised stare. ‘Where’s that?’“

In a few instances it was called Craig’s camp or Craig City.

So who was Craig? The Northport (Wash.) News of March 4, 1897 wrote: “Captain Craig of Craig city, B.C. and pioneer of the North Fork, has been here the past few days visiting old friends ...”

The Nelson Tribune of November 22, 1900 said: “W.R. Craig of Erie is the owner of ... promising claims on Craig mountain.”

This was likely Robert W. Craig (1845-?), listed as a prospector in Erie on the 1901 census. Craigtown Creek, which flows into Erie Creek, perpetuates the memory of his short-lived city.

Previous installments in this series

Introduction

Ainsworth

Alamo

Anaconda

Annable, Apex, and Arrow Park

Annable, revisited

Appledale

Applegrove, Appleby, and Appledale revisited

Argenta and Arrowhead

Aylwin

Bakers, Birds, and Bosun Landing

Balfour

Bannock City, Basin City, and Bear Lake City

Beasley

Beaton

Bealby Point

Belford and Blewett

Beaverdell and Billings

Birchbank and Birchdale

Blueberry and Bonnington

Boswell, Bosworth, Boulder Mill, and Broadwater

Brandon

Brilliant

Brooklyn, Brouse, and Burnt Flat

Burton

Camborne, Cariboo City, and Carrolls Landing

Carmi, Cedar Point, Circle City, and Clark’s Camp

Carson, Carstens, and Cascade City

Casino and Champion Creek

Castlegar, Part 1

Castlegar, Part 2

Castlegar, Part 3

Christina Lake

Christina City and Christian Valley

Clubb Landing and Coltern

Cody and Champion Creek revisited

Columbia

Columbia City, Columbia Gardens, and Columbia Park

Comaplix

Cooper Creek and Corra Linn

Crawford Bay and Comaplix revisited

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