Eighty-sixth in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
The mostly-forgotten Boundary railway point of Hartford Junction, or just Hartford, was at mile 7.5 on the Eholt-to-Phoenix branch of the Columbia and Western Railway, and named after the Hartford mineral claim.
It was originally considered part of Wellington Camp, first mentioned in the Victoria Daily Colonist of August 11, 1895, quoting the Midway Advance: “Mr. McIntosh, the fortunate owner of the Winnipeg, Wellington Camp, has already sunk a shaft 25 feet deep on his property.”
Whether Wellington was named for the New Zealand capital or the Duke of Wellington is unknown.
The Hartford claim was first mentioned in the Boundary Creek Times of April 2, 1898: “Forbes M. Kerby, M.E. [mining engineer], was in town Wednesday. He is at present surveying the Hartford and J. and R., in Wellington camp, owned by Jones and Rogers …”
The newspaper added on May 28: “The Hartford, Ranger, J. and R. fraction and Hartford fraction are a group of very promising claims owned by John Rogers and H.J. Jones …”
Where the name Hartford came from is unknown, but there are many such places in the US.
The earliest mention of Hartford Junction — the point where the CPR right-of-way branched off to the Golden Crown and Calumet claims — is in the Cascade Record of October 28, 1899, in Ed Simpson’s application for a hotel liquor license.
However, according to historian Jan Jonker, Simpson’s application notice was “likely a deception, an attempt to obtain one when the hotel’s actual owner [John Dorsey] couldn’t, after having been fined for selling liquor without a license.”
Dorsey moved to Hartford from Gladstone and opened his hotel in August 1899 on the Toboggan mineral claim. Simpson, meanwhile, was a partner in the Bellevue Hotel in Phoenix with Dorsey’s wife Georgie.
William Buker, previously operator of a boarding house at the BC mine, bought the Hartford Hotel from Dorsey in September 1900 and built another hotel nearby, the Clifton. He in turn sold the Hartford Hotel in 1902 to Joseph J. Bassett, who had mineral claims in the area as well as a contract to supply cord wood to the CPR.
Joseph Graham, a former co-owner of the Union Hotel in Phoenix, bought the Clifton Hotel in November 1903 but it closed within a year and the liquor license was transferred to Bassett’s hotel.
Bassett renovated the building in 1910 but was denied a license renewal at the end of 1912 “upon the grounds that it is off the regular highway and no longer any convenience to the public.”
The hotel burned down on November 12, 1914. Bassett and his wife escaped unharmed. Afterward, he continued to stake mineral claims in the area.
The last known newspaper mention of Hartford Junction was in 1915, but the name survives in Hartford-Athelston Road.
(Thanks to Jan Jonker for providing much of the above.)
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