One hundred forty-seventh in a semi-alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Today Paulson is a bridge, a backroad, and a highway, but originally it was a siding on the Columbia and Western Railway named after the Bonanza mine.
It was first mentioned in the Phoenix Pioneer of Jan. 18, 1902: “The Canadian Pacific has issued a circular to the effect that the spur at the railroad end of St. Thomas wagon road … has been placed on the list of flag stations and will be known as Bonanza Siding.”
In June of the same year, an application for an hotel license at Bonanza Siding was filed by brothers Thomas Henry (1861-1928), John William (1863-1923), and George Alfred (1866-1904) Paulson, who hailed from Nottinghamshire, England. The latter two were grocers in Rossland by 1897.
Tragedy struck the following month: George Paulson was walking along the Red Mountain railway track in Rossland near the Black Bear mine when a freight train came along. The engineer whistled and rang his bell, but George, who was deaf, heard nothing. The train tossed him off the track and broke one of his legs. He died soon after of internal injuries.
In 1907, Thomas returned to Nottinghamshire and married Lucy Gertrude Caunt. In 1909, their son Clyde was born, either in Paulson or Rossland, depending on conflicting sources. During the latter year, the Paulsons sold their Rossland store to the Union Co-operative Co.
The 1910 civic directory showed Paulson was home to the Trail Lumber Co. sawmill and Inland Empire Mining and Milling Co., which owned several claims in the area, including one acquired from the Paulsons.
The Grand Forks Sun of Jan. 8, 1915 gives us a nice peek at life there: “Christmas week at Paulson was filled with ski riding, snow-shoeing and whist parties. New Year’s eve the people of the camp were invited to the Hotel Paulson, where a Christmas tree awaited them. The evening was spent with music, games and dancing. When 12 o’clock struck all joined hands and sang Auld Lang Syne.”
John Paulson and wife Agnes don’t seem to have stayed in the area very long. He died in Point Grey and she died in Vancouver in 1944. Thomas resigned as postmaster in 1919 and retired to Victoria, where he and wife Lucy both passed away. Their son Clyde worked for the Bank of Toronto.
The Paulson post office closed in 1942. The community is long gone but remembered today in Paulson Detour Rd., the Blueberry Paulson highway, and the Paulson bridge.
BELOW: Thomas H. Paulson, one of the namesake brothers to the community, married Lucy Gertrude Caunt in 1907. This is probably their wedding photo, taken in Derbyshire.
PETERSBURG or PETERSBURY
In a manuscript entitled Recollections, the late Dave Norcross wrote: “A small settlement called Petersburg came into being about two miles up Wildhorse Creek below the Ymir and Goodenough mines. While we have no record, it is possible that Petersburg was named for Pete the packer who lived in Ymir in the very early days and was also a well known operator with a string of pack horses engaged in transporting supplies over the Dewdney Trail.”
The 1897 and 1898 BC directories contain entries for Petersbury, “a mining camp on Wild Horse Creek, four miles above Ymir by wagon road,” but listed no residents. No other references to this place have been discovered.
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