Nelson Star

Slocan Valley’s past preserved in postcards

Another installment in a series about local memorabilia.

Two rare postcards of the Slocan ghost town of Three Forks sold recently on eBay, one for a significant sum and another for a song.

Founded around 1892 at the junction of Carpenter, Seaton, and Kane creeks, Three Forks was the leading town of the Silvery Slocan until Sandon usurped the title around 1895.

Little if anything remains. It’s now the eastern head of the Galena Trail.

The first postcard, which sold for $92 US, shows a classic view of the town’s main street and numerous false-fronted buildings — but no people. Published by L.J. DeNoble Import of Winnipeg, it’s one of two lithographed cards of Three Forks, and the much scarcer of the two.

One other copy sold before in 2008 for $60 US.

Meanwhile, a rare real photo card, showing a train crossing the big trestle at Three Forks on the Kaslo and Slocan Railway, fetched only $13 US.

It was mailed on July 24, 1914 from Nelson and included an ad for the 12th annual Nelson Fruit Fair. The recipient was Hazel Fleener of New York City, a Kaslo-raised opera singer mentioned in this column two weeks ago.

The message reads in part: “This is the big bridge at 3 Forks and our train on July 1st … Grandpa Strath got a bad fall yesterday. His pony backed him in his cart over the dump under the big tressell [sic] going up the hill and threw him out and his head struck one of the rails on the track.”

• A rare advertising token from Greenwood with an encased 1907 US penny sold last month for $207.50 US.

The aluminum token, shaped like a chamber pot, reads “A.L. White/New & Second/Greenwood BC” and on the back “Go way back and sit down/A pot full of money/Keep me and never be caught short.”

According to Ron Greene’s authoritative book, The Tokens of Greenwood and Phoenix, three other examples are known to exist with the 1907 cent, and one with a 1908 cent.

Artemus Leslie White, a native of Iowa, came to Greenwood in 1899 and was involved in numerous businesses, including the Pioneer, Arlington, and National hotels, and the Red Front furniture store. His second hand store was operating by early 1900 and was later known as the O.I.C. New & 2nd Hand.

In 1909, White opened a branch store at Princeton which his brother ran. He moved there himself in 1917 after closing out his Greenwood holdings and was in the furniture business for many years. He died in 1955 and was buried at Greenwood.

The seller was in Oxnard, Calif.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on November 22.

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