This coloured version of a ca. 1900-05 photo of Baker Street is probably the most reproduced historical image of Nelson.

Is this Nelson’s most famous photo?

It’s one of the most oft-reproduced images of Nelson: looking west at the 500 block of Baker Street, sometime between 1900 and 1905.



Another in a series about what’s trading on eBay.

It’s one of the most oft-reproduced images of Nelson: looking west at the 500 block of Baker Street, sometime between 1900 and 1905, with the streetcar going by.

Somewhat unusual for photos of that era, the street is full of people — as well as horses and dogs. A man wearing a white apron is reputedly Taffy Jack the butcher (after whom a Nelson nightclub was named in the 1990s).

Some buildings are still around, like the Burns Block and KWC building, while  others are long since vanished, like the Madden Hotel and Broken Hill block.

The street is lined with power poles and criss crossed by a mess of wires.

The photo was taken by Queen Studio of Nelson and reproduced on numerous postcards. One that popped up recently was produced by the Canada Drug and Book Co. of Regina, Nelson, and Revelstoke, but failed to sell for the starting bid of $25.

Another, nicely coloured version, published by W.G. MacFarlane of Toronto fetched $10.50 US.

• An original copy of the October 1896 edition of the British Columbia Mining Record sold for £48 last month (about $77 Cdn).

Founded in 1895, and edited by E. Jacobs, this industry journal often featured stories from West Kootenay, then a key mining region.

The issue in question mentions Nelson, Rossland, the Slocan, Boundary Creek, Kaslo, New Denver, Trail, and other places. Originals are hard to come by and highly coveted, especially for their rare photos.

For instance, the only known picture of the Slocan suburb of Brandon was published in its pages. It’s also the only place you’ll find portraits of early Kaslo journalist Randall H. Kemp and Kaslo mining company owner Jennie E. Harris, among others.

Some issues are available for download in their entirety at archive.org.

The magazine changed names several times — it was also known as the Mining, Engineering and Electrical Record — before it folded in 1926.

The seller was in Sleaford, England.

Two postmarks from Retallack, the ghost town between Kaslo and New Denver, recently fetched $75 and $24 Cdn. The former sold for three times as much as the latter despite the fact it was newer — 1953 versus 1931.

Retallack was formerly known as Bell’s Camp and Whitewater.

The post office operated under the latter name from 1897-1908 and as Retallack from 1928-55. Its namesake, Maj. John Ley Retallack, was a member of the North West Mounted Police during the Riel Rebellion.

• A 1970 postmark from Oasis, near Trail, sold for $73 Cdn. The post office there operated from 1946-70.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser.

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