There are no lemons in Lemon Creek. The name comes from Robert E. Lemon

Lemon Creek honours pioneer merchant

Lemon Creek is a prominent waterway and a community in the Slocan Valley named for Robert E. Lemon (1855-1907).

One hundred sixteenth in a semi-alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

Lemon Creek is a prominent Slocan Valley waterway and community named for pioneer merchant Robert E. Lemon (1855-1907). That’s despite a sign along the rail trail that claims “Lemon Creek was so named because of the colour of the gold that was extracted from it.”

According to his biography in R.E. Gosnell’s History of British Columbia (1906), Lemon was born in Paris, Kentucky but as a young boy, his family moved to Wisconsin where he grew up on a farm.

Before arriving in West Kootenay, he had a peripatetic life that saw him teach school in Wisconsin and Colorado, work in a general store in Alabama, and run restaurants in New Mexico and Arizona.

He went to Puget Sound in 1884 and then came to BC and worked as a purser on the steamer Lady Dufferin, which plied the Shuswap River. The following year he opened a general store at Eagle Pass Landing, near Sicamous, and later moved to Rogers Pass Village and then Revelstoke.

In 1888, he ran the first flat boat down the Columbia River to Sproat’s Landing (near Robson) and built another store. He was also in business in Nelson, at first in partnership with J. Fred Hume, and later in Rossland, where he was the original owner of the Josie mine, named after his sister.

Lemon was appointed warden of the provincial jail in Nelson in 1901 and held the position until just before his death. Oddly, no photos of him are known to exist, although there are historical pictures of his stores at Rogers Pass Village and Rossland, the latter of which is still standing.

The earliest mention of the creek that bears his name is in the Nelson Miner of May 7, 1892: “A bridge over Lemon’s creek has been started and the trail will be completed to the lake within a week or two.”

Presumably the name acknowledged the fact Lemon was among the Nelson merchants who put up money to build the trail. But there was uncertainty whether it was a creek or a river. The BC government’s public works report for 1892 said: “The bridge over Lemon River is a substantial structure …” Perry’s Mining Map of 1893, however, called it Lemon Creek.

The area was home to a bewildering number of place names, including Summit, Lemonton, Lemon City, Lemon Creek Crossing, Lemon Creek Siding, Del Monte, and Oro — although those names actually applied to just three places. Next week we’ll start sorting them out.

Previous installments in this series

Introduction

Ainsworth

Alamo

Anaconda

Annable, Apex, and Arrow Park

Annable, revisited

Appledale

Applegrove, Appleby, and Appledale revisited

Argenta and Arrowhead

Aylwin

Bakers, Birds, and Bosun Landing

Balfour

Bannock City, Basin City, and Bear Lake City

Beasley

Beaton

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

Brandon

Brilliant

Brooklyn, Brouse, and Burnt Flat

Burton

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

Columbia City, Columbia Gardens, and Columbia Park

Comaplix

Cooper Creek and Corra Linn

Crawford Bay and Comaplix revisited

Crescent Valley and Craigtown

Davenport

Dawson, Deadwood, and Deanshaven

Deer Park

East Arrow Park and Edgewood

Eholt

English Cove and English Point

Enterprise

Erie

Evans Creek and Evansport

Falls City

Farron

Fauquier

Ferguson

Ferguson, revisited

Fife

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

Fredericton

Fruitvale and Fraine

Galena Bay

Genelle

Gerrard

Gilpin and Glade

Gladstone and Gerrard, revisited

Glendevon and Graham Landing

Gloster City

Goldfields and Gold Hill

Grand Forks, Part 1

Grand Forks, Part 2

Granite Siding and Granite City

Gray Creek, Part 1

Gray Creek, Part 2

Gray Creek, revisited

Green City

Greenwood

Halcyon Hot Springs

Hall Siding and Healy’s Landing

Harrop

Hartford Junction

Hills

Howser, Part 1

Howser, Part 2

Howser, Part 3

Howser, Part 4

Hudu Valley, Huntingtdon, and Healy’s Landing revisited

Inonoaklin Valley (aka Fire Valley)

Jersey, Johnsons Landing, and Jubilee Point

Kaslo, Part 1

Kaslo, Part 2

Kaslo, Part 3

Kaslo, Part 4

Kettle River, Part 1

Kettle River, Part 2

Kinnaird, Part 1

Kinnaird, Part 2

Kitto Landing

Kokanee and Keen

Kootenay Bay, Kraft, and Krestova

Kuskonook, Part 1

Kuskonook, Part 2

Kuskonook (and Kuskanax), Part 3

Labarthe, Lafferty, and Longbeach

Lardeau, Part 1

Lardeau, Part 2

Lardeau, Part 3

Lardeau, Part 4

Lebahdo

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