PLACE NAMES: Niagara

Niagara was a railway boom town in the Boundary at the confluence of Fisherman Creek and the North Fork of the Kettle River.

The name Niagara survives in a street sign where the townsite used to be.

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

Niagara was a railway boomtown in the Boundary at the confluence of Fisherman Creek and the North Fork of the Kettle River, north of Grand Forks.

It was first mentioned in the Midway Advance of April 15, 1895, but not yet named: “Gunnysack Jones, an old prospector, is clearing and cropping a large portion of his ranch on Fisherman creek, some six miles above Grand Forks … This ranch is by some considered as a prospective townsite.”

However, it took a few years before the townsite became a reality in response to the advancing Columbia and Western Railway. According to the Boundary Creek Times of Oct. 8, 1898: “The newest and very latest BC city is Niagara … Last week Gunnysack Jones tilled his ranch … and dreamt of the happy days when his gunnysack doors and windows would give way to lumber and glass; this week Jones’ ranch is surveyed and subdivided into lots.”

The name has never been explained. Maybe it was after Niagara Falls, but there’s nothing particularly obvious to justify this choice. Another possibility, however unlikely, is that it was after the USS Niagara, a supply ship that served the US Navy during the Spanish-American War and was decommissioned the same month the townsite appeared.

In any case, the townsite was owned by a syndicate of Spokane capitalists and managed by George E. Seymour, who built a hotel at Niagara. It was surveyed by Sydney M. Johnson and the plan deposited with the land registry on Dec. 29, 1898. The streets included Main and Columbia.

During its brief life, many Niagara lots were sold, quite a few buildings went up, and a stage coach ran daily to Grand Forks.

When Seymour sold his interest in the townsite, the Cascade Record of March 11, 1899 reported “the new owner wishes to call it Jonesboro, after his own name.” The new owner wasn’t named, but presumably it was Gunnysack Jones. The name change didn’t take.

An application for a post office to be known as Fisherman’s Creek or Niagara was submitted on Oct. 18, 1898 and finally authorized on Sept. 27, 1899. However, postal inspector W.H. Dorman said he notified the prospective postmaster “but have been unable to obtain any reply from him. I am informed the place is now entirely deserted and that no necessity exists for the establishment of a post office.”

The post office was cancelled on Nov. 22, 1899 without having opened.

In January 1900, the Columbia and Western changed the name of its station at Niagara to Fisherman. Niagara came back to life in 1906 during construction of the Kettle Valley Railway before fading away again. However, the name lives on through Niagara Townsite Rd.

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.

Nelway and New Galway

New Denver, Part 1

New Denver, Part 2

 

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