One hundred eighteenth in a semi-alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Last week we saw that in 1897, two townsites existed on Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley: one where the railway was expected to cross, known as Del Monte or Lemon Creek Crossing, and the other at the confluence of Lemon and Summit creeks, known as Summit or just Lemon Creek.
A post office application filed on Oct. 2 of that year by residents of the former town suggested the name Lemonton. The attached petition had almost 60 names, including employees of a recently established sawmill as well as miners and prospectors.
The postal inspector’s report stated: “The name of the station at the site of the proposed office here has been changed to Lemon Creek. Lemonton is the name of a new townsite about 12 miles east of the Lemon Creek station up Lemon Creek.”
In fact, it was probably the other way around, but in any case, a post office didn’t open and Lemon Creek Crossing became better known as Lemon Creek Siding, or just Lemon Siding. The earliest mention of the latter was in The Ledge of Nov. 16, 1899: “A large stable will be built at Lemon siding.”
A post office application was filed again in late 1900 in the name of Lemon Creek, but postal authorities didn’t believe it was necessary and it never opened.
Oddly, a much later reference to Lemonton is found in the Slocan Mining Review of June 11, 1908: “It is stated here that the wagon road from Slocan City to Lemonton will probably be extended to Perry Siding this summer … Several buildings have been erected on the local ranches recently, a barn on the Anderson ranch at Lemonton being the biggest undertaking.”
Meanwhile, unsold lots in the other Lemon Creek townsite, which never fulfilled its potential, were to be auctioned off. But The Ledge of Sept. 19, 1901 reported a snag:
“For some weeks past the Government Agent at Kaslo has been advertising to sell at public auction government lots in Lemon Creek townsite. Last week the agent went down to Slocan City to see if he could find the townsite … After investigating for a day or two and not being able to get within eight miles of its exact location, the agent wired to Victoria for permission to withdraw the sale. It was granted and the agent is now out with a search warrant for the government lots in the townsite of Lemon Creek.”
The land finally reverted to the government in 1904.
A few sources also mention a place called Lemon City, but it’s not always clear which townsite they’re referring to. An ad in the British Columbia Gazette of Jan. 13, 1898 read: “Notice is hereby given that application will be made … to build and equip and maintain waggon [sic] roads from … Slocan City to Lemon City, on Lemon Creek …”
Clara Graham wrote in Kootenay Mosaic: “From the south end of Slocan Lake trails led up Springer and Lemon Creeks and on the latter was situated Lemon City, now another ghost town.”
And in West Kootenay: Ghost Town Country, Bill Barlee referred to Lemon City as “a short-lived railway camp founded in the 1890s when the CPR was building the Columbia and Western Railway to Slocan City.”
The Nelson Daily News of Aug. 7, 1937 said Lemon City was another name for Oro — a ghost town often confused with the Lemon Creek townsite on Summit Creek. We’ll deal with Oro separately in this series.
Previous installments in this series