Fifty-third in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Evansport, a phantom townsite on the northeast arm of Upper Arrow Lake near the mouth of the Incomappleux River, was first mentioned in the Nelson Tribune of December 30, 1893: “Its owner, Evan Johnson, says it is the best landing place for people going to the rich mineral country around Trout Lake.”
Johnson, about whom little is known, acquired land just west of present-day Beaton in 1891 and began selling lots in early 1894. Newspaper ads claimed Evansport would be “The natural terminus of the wagon road about to be constructed from Arrow Lake to Trout Lake City, thereby tapping the famous Lardeau mining district.” Lots sold from $25 to $100.
But according to Milt Parent in Silent Shores & Sunken Ships, “The rather pleasant name faded into obscurity soon after the post office chose Thomson’s Landing as its station [in 1895].”
The final Evansport townsite ad appeared in December 1895. It was last included in the BC civic directory in 1898 (without any residents) and the same year appeared on a map of BC by J.H. Brownlee. However, the Revelstoke Herald of January 26, 1898 couldn’t resist pointing out the latter’s geographic shortcomings: “Our readers will be pleased to hear that a large and important town known as Evansport has sprung up on Galena Bay, at least so the map says …”
Evan Johnson was listed in 1901 as a farmer at Thomson’s Landing. After that he vanishes.
This stream, on the west side of Slocan Lake about 6.5 km north of Slocan City, is worth mentioning because it was the site of a small sawmill that had its own post office from July 1912 to September 1914. (The postmasters were Charles E. Poulin and Emma Blanchette.)
The creek, so named by 1897, as well as Evans Lake honor veteran prospector Jack Evans, whose real name was Jack Evanson. According to his obituary, he was “one of the oldest and most respected citizens of the interior. He died as he had lived, farm from the boundaries of civilization.”
According to Innes Cooper in The Valhalla Mountains, Evans “was a strong traveller in the mountains, packing 100 pound packs and never seeming to tire.”
However, while prospecting at the foot of Slocan Lake in October 1892, he was struck with appendicitis and died. He was the first person buried in the New Denver cemetery. A subscription drive was held to buy a tombstone, but not enough was raised. The sale of one of Evans’ mining properties was then expected to pay for the upkeep of his grave, but it remains unmarked.
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