William and Matrusha Postnikoff were among the last settlers at Champion Creek

Champion Creek, revisited

The Postnikoff family was the last to live at the Doukhobor settlement of Champion Creek, aka Blagodatnoye.



Forty-third in a series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

An earlier installment in this series stated the Doukhobor settlement at Champion Creek, aka Blagodatnoye, was abandoned by the 1960s. Not so, according to Castlegar’s Walter Volovsek, who knew the last settlers.

William and Matrusha Postnikoff and their sons John and Bill lived there into the early 1970s although their three daughters had by then married and moved to Castlegar.

Matrusha grew up in Grand Forks before moving to the isolated village, where Volovsek notes she literally had to learn all the old ways of eking out an existence.

“I am told she managed very well and ran exemplary household even when things started to fall apart,” he says. “The buildings grew derelict, the water system failed.” (Water had to be hauled up from either the Columbia River or Champion Creek.)

Nevertheless, the remaining family was happy to continue living at Blagodatnoye until they were forced out by community managers. “The buildings were burned after their departure. I think the argument for the forced move was a desire to reduce the taxes by getting rid of improvements,” Volovsek says.

Daughter Dolly Makaroff recalls four men arriving with a can of gasoline to burn the residence after the family had been notified to move out, but her father chased them away, saying he hadn’t moved his personal possessions yet.

“That was the impetus for my involvement,” Volovsek says. “John Makaroff asked me to help with my truck, which I did … I moved all their belongings to a small house on Crescent Street around 1974. Prior to that I photographed them as they were holding on to their more primitive lifestyle. I am pretty sure there never was power in the settlement and Dolly confirms that most emphatically.”

Some of Volovsek’s remarkable photographs are seen above.

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

Crescent Valley and Craigtown

Just Posted

Recycling subsidy means tax break for RDCK residents

Province steps in to fund newsprint recycling

Nelson searches for answers to fentanyl crisis

A packed event Wednesday featured seven speakers and plenty of questions

Police ask city for $100K budget increase

The extra money is needed to cover salary costs

Nelson firefighter wage negotiations in year six

Firefighting is an essential service, so strikes are illegal

EcoSociety asks city to become 100 per cent renewable

The plan would have Nelson ditch fossil fuels by 2050

Nelson homes found without working smoke alarms

Fire chief Len MacCharles says his members found 21 homes in need of alarms

COLUMN: Let’s keep your money circulating in the region

Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson on buying locally

Doug Bothamley Cash Spiel returns this weekend

The annual tournament runs Friday to Sunday at the Nelson Curling Centre

COLUMN: Taking another look at Kelowna

Columnist Donna Macdonald finds many things to love about the city Nelsonites love to hate

Earthquake gently rocks Nelson to sleep

Did you feel the earthquake? (Probably not)

RDCK holds open house on proposed boat launch

RDCK hosted an open house at Blewett Elementary to discuss plans for a boat launch at Taghum Beach

LVR Bombers volleyball team off to provincials

The senior girls’ squad secured a spot with a win over Trail last week

Most Read