Eighty-fifth in a semi-alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
While it’s well established how the Kootenay Lake community of Harrop got its name, it was only the last in a series of names.
The first was Sawmill Point because it was home to the first mill on the lake, established in 1889 by George Buchanan. The mill moved to Kaslo three years later, but according to historian Ted Affleck in Kootenay Outlet Reflections, the name Sawmill Point “clung to the site long after the whine of Buchanan’s saws was but an echo in the memory.”
In 1894, Walter W. West pre-empted 160 acres of lakeshore property on what became Lot 4395, and Sawmill Point became known as West’s Landing. The Nelson Tribune of March 8, 1899 noted: “There was another spirited contest between the steamers Kokanee and International on Monday evening last. The boats came together in the vicinity of West’s Landing …”
In 1895, Andrew McCoy also pre-empted 160 acres on the waterfront, Lot 5920, about a half mine downstream from the present Harrop ferry. Affleck described him as a “typical slogging prospector” who with the help of Chinese laborers, “developed a huge cordwood lot which became of the major ‘wooding-up’ stations on the West Arm.”
When the CPR built a spur on the south shore of the lake from Five Mile Point to Procter in 1900, a siding was put in near McCoy’s property. Land developers called it Trafalgar, but it was more popularly known as McCoy’s Siding, McCoy Station, or McCoy’s Point, as in these examples.
Nelson Daily News, May 9, 1906: “[I]mmediately behind Hallett’s ranch at 11 Mile Point, opposite McCoy Station …”
The Ledge, September 27, 1906: “Near McCoy’s Point on Kootenay Lake, a young rancher from the east is using electricity to make his crops grow …”
The steamer landing continued to be called West’s, Sawmill Point, and also 13 Mile Point until 1907.
According to the Harrop-Procter Centennial book, when a post office application was filed for the area in 1906, the suggested name was Trafalgar. However, postal authorities rejected the name, as there were already post offices by that name in Nova Scotia and Ontario.
As a result, when the post office opened in 1907, it was called Harrop after Ernest Harrop (1862-1950), a veteran miner who established a general store there.
Harrop came to Winnipeg from England in 1883. The first sign of his arrival in West Kootenay is an item in the Nelson Miner of July 4, 1891 in which he advertised a commercial building for rent in Ainsworth. Harrop had a cigar store in Kaslo that was destroyed in the great fire of 1894 and was burned out again in Ainsworth in 1896.
He also lived in Three Forks and Nelson before buying property on Kootenay Lake in 1905 or 1906. Harrop’s daughter Winifred recalled that mail arriving via sternwheeler would be addressed care of Ernest Harrop, Harrop’s store, or simply Harrop’s.
Harrop was the first postmaster, and when asked by James White of the Geographic Survey of Canada, he confirmed that “Office is named after myself.”
The post office closed in 1963. Ernest Harrop sold his business in 1930 moved to Nelson, where he died and was buried.
In recent years, Harrop has undergone an unofficial amalgamation with nearby Procter, and the two are often spoken of in the same breath as “Harrop-Procter,” even though there is another place — Sunshine Bay — in between them.
Previous installments in this series