News

1897 Kootenay railway brochure nets $101

Another in a series about Kootenaiana selling on eBay.

A rare 1897 promotional timetable and booklet produced by the Northern Pacific Railroad entitled “To the Spokane-Kootenai Mining Country,” sold for $101 US last week. It drew seven bids, four of $92 or more, despite the fact an enclosed map was in torn in three pieces.

The booklet contains a precis of the Kootenay mining industry at the time, and noted “Miners receive from $3 to $3.50 per day, engineers and blacksmiths $3.50 to $4, common laborers $2 per day. House servants are mostly Chinese. Servant girls receive $20 to $30 per month, and Chinese servants still higher wages.”

Another section said: “The majority of the people in this region are possibly American and certainly the capital invested at the present time is almost entirely so.”

The booklet includes photos depicting the Trail smelter, SS Nakusp, and the Kootenai, OK, and City of Spokane mines.

The entire thing can be viewed online (albeit in black and white) here.

The seller was in Littleton, Colorado.

• An envelope mailed by H.M. Walker of New Denver to the Sunday School Times of Philadelphia in 1901 sold for $37.50 Cdn.

Walker, a newspaper man, worked in New Denver on The Ledge, and later moved to Enderby where he started the Edenograph and Enderby Progress.

The envelope came with a snapshot of a group of unidentified men that probably dates from the 1920s or ‘30s.

• A pair of nice postcards of the SS Minto sold late last month for $39 and $46 US respectively. Both probably dated to the 1940s and showed the boat docked, the latter at Arrowhead.

The seller was in Armstrong.

• A couple of envelopes postmarked Lardeau, 1965 sold for $46 Cdn.

One was from Waite’s General Store, and the other from the local stringer for the Nelson Daily News.

• A ruby flash glass pitcher from Rossland sold for $43 US, one of many such souvenir items produced before 1920.

“It was beautiful and it was cheap,” the Ruby Stain Museum’s website explains. “The stained pattern glass could be decorated by engraving or etching ... Enamel could be added on top of the stain.”

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on April 26.

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