Seventieth in a somewhat alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
You wouldn’t guess it from their names, but Gilpin and Glade both figure in Doukhobor history.
The former, 13 km east of Grand Forks, is named for Ranulph Robert Gilpin (1861-1953), a Nova Scotian who established a ranch on the creek that also bears his name. The Dewdney Trail passed through it.
According to Jim and Alice Glanville in Grand Forks: The First 100 Years, Gilpin arrived around 1884 and soon became a customs officer — his cabin/customs house is now behind Gallery 2 in Grand Forks. He sold his ranch in 1904 but remained in the area.
The earliest mention of Gilpin as a place name is in the Boundary Creek Times of March 13, 1897: “Two weeks ago the coach capsized between here and Gilpin’s …” It was also a stop on the Columbia and Western Railway line built the following year.
When the Northwest Boundary Survey came through the area in 1859 they established an astronomical station slightly to the east of present-day Gilpin called Camp Statapoosten, or Statapoostin, presumably an Okanagan-Colville word, although its meaning is not known.
American surveyor Joseph S. Harris wrote to his mother: “[O]n November 1, the party started for this point (Statapoostin), which they reached yesterday.” The name didn’t stick.
In 1937, Sons of Freedom released from the Piers Island Penitentiary started a shanty village at Gilpin. It remains a small residential community with the name enshrined in Gilpin Road.
Glade, on the Kootenay River 17 km northeast of Castlegar, was originally known as Passmore or Passmore’s Siding after rancher Richard Passmore (1859-fl. 1911). (We’ll discuss whether he was also the Slocan Valley community’s namesake later in this series.)
After community Doukhobors bought nearly 1,100 acres in the area, the Nelson Daily News of April 13, 1911 reported: “With the coming week, the Doukhobor society will again have a settlers sawmill in operation down the river upon their holdings. Since the recent burning down of the original mill [on March 16], and the erection of a new one, which has just been completed, the name of the locality has been changed by the CPR from Passmore to Glade.”
The new name reflected the dictionary definition “an open space in a forest” but didn’t catch on immediately, for the Winnipeg Free Press reported on April 25: “[The Doukhobors] have at present two different contracts from the CPR for 100,000 ties to be delivered at Trail and Passmore’s Siding … The community also owns 1,400 acres at Passmore Creek, which is situated on the Kootenay river between Castlegar and Slocan Junction.” (Passmore Creek became Glade Creek.)
Glade was officially added to the CPR timetable on June 4, 1911 and was originally only on the north side of the river, while the Doukhobor settlement on the south side was called Dolina Plodorodnaya — meaning “fertile valley” — and later just Plodorodnoye.
The Russian name eventually fell by the wayside (although it’s included on a welcome sign erected a few years ago) and the community became better known as Glade — today the name usually refers to the south side of the river, although the Glade store is on the north side.
A post office was announced for Glade in 1942 but for some reason never opened. Glade remains a distinctive residential community by virtue of its cable ferry.
Previous installments in this series