Envelope from the Beaton Hotel

Off the Beaton path

For such a small place, the town of Beaton, on the northeast arm of Upper Arrow Lake has a curiously complicated naming history.

Thirteenth in a (mostly) alphabetical series on West Kootenay-Boundary place names

For such a small place, the town of Beaton, on the northeast arm of Upper Arrow Lake (also known as the Beaton Arm) has a curiously complicated naming history.

It was first known as Thomson’s Landing after its founder, James Wilson Thomson (1851-1934). The earliest reference is in Revelstoke’s Kootenay Star of May 21, 1892. A post office application was filed in 1893 but it didn’t open until July 1, 1895, with Thomson as postmaster.

On September 14 of the latter year, the Kaslo Claim stated “Major Hayward has purchased the townsite of Thompson’s [sic] Landing from Beaton and Thompson. The price agreed upon was $12,000 and the name will be changed to Selkirk.”

That change never really took, although Selkirk was later applied to the townsite at the foot of Trout Lake, subsequently known as Gerrard.

As demonstrated above, Thomson’s Landing was often misspelled. Milton Parent writes in Silent Shores and Sunken Ships: “The family refers to their name as the ‘dry’ Thomson because it was spelled without a ‘p.’ Unfortunately, nearly all the maps and publications show the Thompson version, choosing to accept the more common spelling.”

In April 1901, the Lardeau Eagle commented: “Once the railway reaches this point … it will no longer be Thomson’s Landing, which is now so familiar, but Trout Lake Landing.”

That name wasn’t adopted either, but Thomson’s Landing initials were apparently being confused with Trout Lake on freight bills, so on December 26 of the same year, the Eagle reported: “The name of Thomson’s Landing has been changed to Beaton, to begin with the New Year. Application has been made to the postmaster general to have the name of the post office changed accordingly. Hats off to Beaton!”

(The application wasn’t actually submitted until the following June and didn’t give any explanation for the change, which didn’t become official until August 1, 1902.)

Elsewhere the same edition of the Eagle said: “Not only did Thomson’s — we mean Beaton — have an exceedingly pleasant and successful Christmas tree … but the citizens also made use of the occasion to christen their town with its new name — Beaton.”

It took a while for Beaton to catch on — the Nelson Daily News was still calling it Thomson’s Landing as of 1903.

Beaton’s namesake is the source of some controversy. Although it is well established that it was after local entrepreneur Malcolm Beaton (1860-1916), some sources mistakenly refer to him as the editor of the Nelson Miner. This was in fact Donald J. Beaton (1841?-1901). Their relationship, if any, is unknown.

The Beaton post office closed on October 30, 1969 but the community remains inhabited.

Beaton is sometimes confused with Evansport, a nearby townsite we’ll get to later in this series.

One other oddity: in their book British Columbia Place Names, G.P.V. and Helen Akrigg claimed the fledgling town of Thompson, named for founder Ross Thompson, changed its name to Rossland “because the post office department found the name Thompson caused confusion with a Thompson [sic] Landing on the Arrow Lakes.”

However, this appears unlikely as there was never a post office application for Thompson and correspondence concerning Rossland’s application in 1894 didn’t mention Thompson or Thomson’s Landing. The latter had been named by then, but didn’t yet have a post office.

Previous installments in this series

Introduction

Ainsworth

Alamo

Anaconda

Appledale

Applegrove, Appleby, and Appledale revisited

Argenta and Arrowhead

Aylwin

Annable, Apex, and Arrow Park

Balfour

Bannock City, Basin City, and Bear Lake City

Beasley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As Nelson hotels close, some try to stay open without guests

Vacancies are there, even for people who need to self-isolate

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Nelson police make drug bust in Railtown

Drugs, weapons and stolen property were among the items found

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read