One hundred forty-fifth in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
The Slocan Valley community of Passmore has a confusing naming history, including two or three possible namesakes.
Originally known as Park Siding on the Slocan branch of the CPR’s Columbia and Kootenay Railway, it was first mentioned in the Nelson Tribune of Dec. 25, 1897: “Dr. Arthur, coroner, held an inquest Wednesday morning for the purpose of enquiring into the circumstances attending the death of Daniel McNaughton, whose body was found in the woods a few miles from Park Siding on the Slocan river road, on Tuesday.”
Sometime after May 1901, Park Siding was renamed Gutelius in honour of Frederick Gutelius (1864-1935), the Columbia and Western’s general superintendent (pictured below, courtesy Anne Campbell/northbayhistory.homestead.com). The first reference to that name is in the Tribune of Oct. 4, 1902. The Gutelius post office opened on April 1, 1903 but the Nelson Daily News of Feb. 10, 1912 noted: “A petition is being circulated to have the post office name here changed from Gutelius to Slocan Park.”
Although no reason was given, the change took effect on May 1 of that year. The Daily News of June 18, 1913 further announced: “The Canadian Pacific Railway station heretofore known as Gutelius has been renamed Passmore.” That name change became official on Dec. 1.
So we have the odd situation where the Gutelius post office became Slocan Park but the Gutelius railway siding became Passmore (today they’re considered separate places).
Why change the name at all?
Roger Burrows proposed an interesting theory in Railway Mileposts, Vol. II: “Gutelius was a popular CPR superintendent who moved to the rival Canadian Government Railways in 1913, the year of the [name] change. And his middle name was Passmore. It seems likely that CPR headquarters ordered that the name be changed from that of defector Gutelius, and that his local friends, including Nelson superintendent W.O. Miller, only partially complied with the order.”
That may well be the explanation — Gutelius’ middle name was indeed Passmore — but as we’ve seen, the post office changed its name before he left the CPR. Alternatively, Burrows said CPR records indicated the name was from “Mr. Passmore, an old timer.”
Around 1911, Thomas Passmore (or Pasmore) came from Ontario to Applegrove, where he had a fruit ranch and poultry farm. According to Just Where is Edgewood, his family moved to Nelson about 1920, but there’s no indication they ever lived in the Slocan Valley.
Richard C. Passmore (1859-fl. 1911) was listed in the 1910 civic directory as a Tarrys fruit grower and on the 1911 census as a rancher at Shoreacres. He lent his name to a railway siding, which in April 1911 was renamed Glade. Glade Creek was also formerly known as Passmore Creek. Might the CPR have honoured him a second time?
Another nearby but little-known place was McFadyen’s Bridge, mentioned when the Nelson Daily News of March 28, 1911 reported on the ordeal of Daniel Robinson, “the well-known rancher of McFaden’s [sic] Bridge or Gutelius.” Robinson spent two days alone in agony after breaking his leg. The story noted that “seven years ago he secured his ranch on the Slocan river, it being just two miles above Gutelius.”
Ewen McFadyen (1868-?) and wife Grace (1875-?) began ranching in the vicinity about 1903 and were listed on the 1911 census as Gutelius residents. The 1910 civic directory lists Ewen A. McFadyen as a farmer at Gutelius, Ewen McFayden as a rancher at Slocan City, and E. McFadden as a fruit grower at Koch Siding — all probably the same guy. Ewen McFadyen was also founding postmaster at Vallican, serving from October 1916 to April 1917.
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