PLACE NAMES: Nelway and New Galway

Nelway is a contraction of “Nelson and Spokane highway,” though some speculate it might be derived from “Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway.”

This ca. 1940s postcard is labelled “Custom House

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

Nelway is a contraction of “Nelson and Spokane highway,” although some have speculated it might actually be derived from “Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway,” which didn’t run through Nelway, but was in the general vicinity.

The Nelson-Spokane highway (now Highway 6) officially opened on Aug. 29, 1923, but the name Nelway wasn’t adopted by the Canadian customs crossing until a few years later. An early mention is in the Nelson Daily News of Aug. 2, 1926: “Large crews of men were yesterday dispatched to Nelway to fight the Slate creek fire …”

The Nelson Board of Trade worked hard to promote the highway, but its efforts were sometimes stymied by mapmakers. According to the Daily News of Oct. 8, 1926: “Latest of bodies to be oblivious to the existence of the Nelson-Spokane highway, in use now several seasons, is the bureau of provincial information

“Copies of the otherwise excellent manual on ‘Highways, Motor Camps, and Stopping Places in British Columbia, Compiled for Visiting Motorists,’ received by the Nelson Board of Trade, plainly mark on the road map therein the international connection at Yahk, via East Kootenay but fail to show any record of the connection between Nelson and Spokane.

“Secretary E.F. Gigot, on receiving a supply of the new publication was almost stunned when he found this official road map had this glaring omission, for an appreciative part of his correspondence the past two years has been in drawing attention to the omission of this highway.”

While Nelway is in BC, there are plenty of erroneous references to “Nelway, Wash.” The American side of the crossing is known as Metaline Falls.

NEW GLASGOW (aka NEW GALWAY)

This phantom townsite east of Burton was founded by John Gibb Devlin (1865-1925), nicknamed the Gunner from Galway after a song he often sang.

According to Whistlestops Along the Columbia Narrows: “During the gold rush days there was a rivalry about which townsite up Caribou Creek should be reached by the wagon road Devlin staked a townsite on Rodd Creek and called it New Glasgow City. The other townsite was staked on Mineral Creek and was named Mineral City. The wagon road crossed Caribou Creek and went into Mineral City, bypassing the Gunner’s townsite. Had he lived he would have found the present road now goes over the site of the New Glasgow City which he had staked.”

Elsewhere the book says the townsite was also known as Gunner’s City. No contemporary references have been found to either name. In fact, while Devlin was born in Glasgow, his town was called New Galway. The Ledge of March 28, 1895 reported: “J.D. [sic] Devlin is building an hotel on his pre-emption on Cariboo creek. His townsite will be known as New Galway.”

New Galway was also mentioned the following week in the Revelstoke Kootenay Mail and Vancouver Daily World, but never again. The Rossland Miner of March 7, 1896 noted Devlin was planning to reopen his hotel in a week or so, but it might not have happened.

There are lots of stories about the Gunner and here’s one: that fall, he landed on the front page of the New York Times and many other newspapers after declaring a critical shortage of women in West Kootenay. He insisted that if “1,500 nice girls [came] out to Rossland alone, every one would get a good husband.”

Soon after, the Gunner himself took a bride, Isabella Watson, although he returned to Glasgow to marry her before they moved back to Canada. They had four children.

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

Koch Siding and Keen

Kokanee

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

Lemon Creek, Part 1

Lemon Creek, Part 2

Lemon Creek, Part 3

Makinsons Landing and Marblehead

McDonalds Landing, McGuigan, and Meadow Creek

Meadows, Melville, and Miles’ Ferry

Midway

Mineral City and Minton

Mirror Lake and Molly Gibson Landing

Montgomery and Monte Carlo, Part 1

Montgomery and Monte Carlo, Part 2

Montrose and Myncaster

Nakusp, Part 1

Nakusp, Part 2

Nashville

Needles

Nelson, Part 1

Nelson, Part 2

Nelson, Part 3

Nelson, Part 4

Nelson, Wash.

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