Glossing over Gloster City

Gloster City, also known as Upper Franklin, was a mining town about 37 miles (60 km) north of Grand Forks along the Kettle River.

Seventy-third in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

Gloster City, also spelled Glouster and Gloucester, and also known as Glouster Camp and Upper Franklin, was a mining town on Lot 3672, about 37 miles (60 km) north of Grand Forks on Burrell Creek.

The town, along with Gloucester Creek, took its name from the Gloucester claim, which in turn was presumably after the city and district of southwest England, although there are many other places by that name.

According to Charles W. Drysdale’s Geology of Franklin Mining Camp, Thomas Newby located the Gloucester and adjoining claims in the summer of 1898. The earliest known mention of the place is in the Nelson Tribune of August 15, 1901: “All that Franklin requires is railway transportation … The same applies to Gloucester and McKinley camps in the same locality.”

When the Kettle Valley Railway announced it would build a line up the North Fork, Grand Forks mayor Frank H. Hutton and partner George B. Todd hired Greenwood surveyor F.M. Lamb to lay out a townsite for them at the projected terminus, known as Upper Franklin — as distinct from Franklin, another town a little over three miles south, named after Frank McFarlane (1865-1935).

The Upper Franklin plat was completed in June 1906 but soon renamed Gloster City, probably at the behest of the Franklin Townsite Co. The two places were rivals, as shown by a letter from the latter’s agent, A. Erskine Smith, published in the Greenwood Ledge of July 5, 1906: “The day when a prosperous town could be built on hot air has gone by and the kind of stuff sent out from Gloster City is a detriment to all legitimate enterprises, such as is the Franklin Townsite Co.”

Another volley was fired a month later when George Todd’s application for a hotel liquor license at Gloster was denied while four others were granted at nearby Franklin, Bannock City, Timville, and a place halfway between Franklin and Gloster called Dinsmore. Todd appealed to the courts. The judge said he “could hardly see on what principle the commissioners acted in refusing Todd and granting all the others.”

Todd won his case and his license, but must not have held it more than a few years, for the Grand Forks Sun of May 8, 1914 stated: “Gloucester City, near the Union mine in the North Fork country, at present is reputed to be the most moral and law abiding city in Canada. It has one temperance hotel, but both the church and the saloon are conspicuous by their absence.”

The promised railway, meanwhile, only got as far as Lynch Creek, 25 miles (40 km) south of Franklin. A post office application for Gloster was filed in 1913, but rejected, so citizens hired a private carrier.

Mining continued in the vicinity for many years, but neither Franklin nor Gloster City survived.

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Gloster was along the north fork of the Kettle River.)

Previous installments in this series





Annable, Apex, and Arrow Park

Annable, revisited


Applegrove, Appleby, and Appledale revisited

Argenta and Arrowhead


Bakers, Birds, and Bosun Landing


Bannock City, Basin City, and Bear Lake City



Bealby Point

Bealby Point (aka Florence Park) revisited

Belford and Blewett

Beaverdell and Billings

Birchbank and Birchdale

Blueberry and Bonnington

Boswell, Bosworth, Boulder Mill, and Broadwater



Brooklyn, Brouse, and Burnt Flat


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

Champion Creek revisited, again


Columbia City, Columbia Gardens, and Columbia Park


Cooper Creek and Corra Linn

Crawford Bay and Comaplix revisited

Crescent Valley and Craigtown


Dawson, Deadwood, and Deanshaven

Deer Park

East Arrow Park and Edgewood


English Cove and English Point



Evans Creek and Evansport

Falls City




Ferguson, revisited


Forslund, Fosthall, and Fairview

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 1

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 2

Fort Sheppard, revisited

Fraser’s Landing and Franklin


Fruitvale and Fraine

Galena Bay



Gilpin and Glade

Gladstone and Gerrard, revisited

Glendevon and Graham Landing

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