Two hundred ninety-sixth in a series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
In 1891, George T. Kane and Robert Irving obtained Crown grants for three lots that became the original Kaslo townsite.
Samuel Parker Tuck did the survey and completed the plan that same year but the street names lacked imagination: the north-south thoroughfares were First through Fifth while the west-east ones were Water and Front plus A through I avenues. (These names are all still in use, but only portions of F through I avenues survive.)
The plan showed the Kaslo River dividing the townsite through a much different course than it would take following a massive flood in 1894 that washed away the lower part of town.
Kane and Irving were among the directors of the Kaslo Kootenay Land Co., which incorporated on Oct. 23, 1891 to market the townsite. The others were John Hendry, Alexander Ewan, Daniel James Munn, Robert Irving Jr. and William C. Haywood. Hendry, Munn, and the Irvings would play key roles in developing the Kaslo and Slocan Railway. Munn also presumably lent his name to Munn Creek near Ainsworth.
For a while, Kaslo boomed. The Nelson Tribune of April 6, 1893 noted Kane would once have “laughed at the man who intimated that he would be buying back land in the Kaslo townsite at as much per acre as he was then asking for half the townsite. Yet that is what he is doing. Last Friday he bought Buchanan’s acre, on upper Front street, paying $10,000 for it.”
• In 1892, A.J. Whalen received a Crown grant for land well north of the original townsite, on which North Kaslo was surveyed. The Victoria Daily Times of March 27, 1893 indicated it was actually intended as a separate town: “North Kaslo City is no outside acreage or addition to Kaslo City as reported, but is the best inside property on the waterfront now on the market.”
When John Fielding surveyed the blocks that year, the streak of local indifference toward street names continued: they were designated First through Seventh and A through E.
J. O’Neill of Victoria was described as the townsite’s “head pusher,” and the firm of Cook and Thwaite reported the sale of 96 lots, some of which allegedly resold overnight at a 75 per cent profit.
And yet North Kaslo was a bust, insofar as none of it was actually developed. Today none of the original streets survive. Highway 31 cuts through the townsite and what homes exist were all built in recent years.
• By one report, John Morgan Allen (1864-1938) and John (Lardo Jack) McDonald (1846-1926) originally intended to stake the first townsite at Kaslo, but were beaten to it. Instead, each platted an addition on the upper benches, overlooking downtown.
As the Tribune of Dec. 1, 1892 explained, “H. Anderson is prepared to sell lots in the McDonald addition to Kaslo. Lardo Jack, in platting this beautiful piece of land, has remembered his friends — the old pioneers of Kaslo district. The cross streets are named as follows: Brennand, Pringle, Allen, and Becker. The other streets are extensions or continuations of the avenues in the Kaslo townsite.”
Pringle Street was renamed Jardine sometime after 1964. Of the extensions of A through D avenues, B Avenue only survives in two small segments, while A Avenue has disappeared, and D Avenue is now known as Victoria Avenue.
Despite the fact lots in the McDonald Addition were already for sale in 1892, the formal survey by Charles E. Perry was not completed until early 1894.
• The Allen Addition, surveyed in 1893, includes the south part of Victoria Avenue, as well as Sherman, Craft, Jackson, and Tuck streets.
• In late 1892, an enormous addition was proposed directly south of the original townsite, known as Rand and Miller’s Addition or just South Addition. William A. Bauer was the surveyor of record on the plan, deposited with the land registry in June 1893.
Arthur Emerson Rand (1869-1935?) was one of three brothers involved in a New Westminster real estate firm. His partner was A. Miller.
The addition consisted of north-south streets First through Thirteenth plus Slocan, Kootenay, Dock, Short, and Water — although they were not contiguous with the original townsite. The west-east avenues were labelled J through R.
Like North Kaslo, it failed to meet expectations. Only a few remnants of this addition survive, well separated from each other: sections of J and L avenues and, to the southeast, O Avenue and portions of Lake and Slocan streets. K, M, N, P, Q, and R avenues are long gone if they ever existed.
We’ll finish our look at Kaslo neighbourhoods next week.
— With thanks to Elizabeth Scarlett, Kootenay Lake Historical Society