Forty-eighth in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Edgewood, on the west side of Lower Arrow Lake, replaced a settlement a little further south known as Killarney or Killarney Landing, although the two were considered synonymous.
Killarney appears on Perry’s Mining Map of 1893 and was also referred to in the Nelson Tribune on June 8 of that year: “The government wharf at Killarney Landing … is being constructed under the superintendence of Bob Henderson.”
Although there are several places around the world called Killarney, including the Vancouver neighbourhood, the original is a town in southwestern Ireland that derives its name from Cill Airne, meaning “church of sloes.”
The book Just Where is Edgewood suggests: “Henry Slye Mason, a well-known promoter in Victoria, could have been the man that put the name of Killarney on the map.” Mason had land surveyor John A. Coryell lay out two lots for him in 1890.
The same book quotes Rose Williams Wright thusly: “We moved from Burton to Edgewood, or rather Killarney, three miles south of what is now Edgewood. Killarney was never more than a landing, no settlement, no stores, not even a trapper’s cabin.”
Precisely when and why the name changed to Edgewood is not clear, but it was before July 1902 when the post office opened. Yet the 1921 BC government sessional papers stated: “Edgewood is a relatively new town, replacing the old townsite of Killarney.”
In the second edition of Pioneer Days of Nakusp & Arrow Lakes, Kate Johnson writes that Killarney landing was about two miles south of the Edgewood townsite: “A pioneer named Simpson cut timbers for a wharf at Killarney which was in process of construction when a sudden flush of water from Eagle Creek carried all away except the piling … This caused the abandonment of the site in favour of one at Edgewood townsite where Messrs. Taylor and Toye had the townsite rights and also build the first Edgewood hotel.”
In the late 1960s, Edgewood was relocated to higher ground in anticipation of the construction of the Hugh Keenleyside dam and the new settlement was initially referred to as New Edgewood. However, the New was soon dropped.
The old name lives on in the street sign for Killarney Crescent, although it’s misspelled Kilarney.
East Arrow Park
Arrow Park was really two communities on opposite sides of Upper Arrow Lake south of Nakusp, originally distinguished by referring to the west side settlement as Arrow Park, and the east side as East Arrow Park.
Following the flooding of the Arrow Lakes, the west-side settlement became West Arrow Park or Old Arrow Park, while East Arrow Park became simply Arrow Park.
The East Arrow Park post office operated from 1913-69, except for a four-month closure soon after it opened.
According to the late Bill Laux, East Arrow Park was also known as Redlands, the name of the store there, after Redlands, Calif., where the storekeeper and his wife came from.
Previous installments in this series