“Government bridge

Salmo bridge postcard sells for $102.50

A postcard of an old wooden bridge in Salmo drew a hefty price last week. It was the handiwork of William Barclay.

Part of a series on items of local interest selling on eBay.

A postcard of an old wooden bridge in Salmo sold for $102.50 Cdn last week.

The rare image shows the then-newly-completed wooden bridge — some 2,444 feet long, according to the hand-written caption — crossing a slough, surrounded by stumps, and a small building that appears to be of stone.

Locals say this bridge was on what’s now Airport Road and started around where the Legion is today. The building might have been to store dynamite.

The photographer’s name is stamped on the back: “W.G. Barclay, Photographer, Nelson, B.C.”

William Barclay’s cards are highly prized by collectors for their rarity and unusual views. According to David Mattison’s Camera Workers website, Barclay moved around quite a bit between BC and Alberta.

He was active around Michel from 1903-07, Iowalta, Alberta 1907-08, Nelson  1910-11 (during which time the Salmo card was presumably produced), Sparwood  1913-16, Exshaw, Alberta ca. 1921, and Fruitvale from 1921 until his death in 1938.

A forest fire the following year burned down his house, along with all of his photos.

The auction drew eight bids, including six over $70.

The seller was in Victoria.

Among other noteworthy postcards that have sold in recent weeks:


• A nice card of the Christina Lake Inn from the 1940s sold for $23.38 US.

According to Christina Lake: An Illustrated History, Victor Biner built this hotel on LaValley Point in the spring of 1932 but sold it to Romey Kingsley that fall.

It stood for 40 years before burning down on September 13, 1972.

The final owner was a J. Neal, who only purchased it three months earlier from Terry Salowich. An adjoining dance pavilion at the building’s rear was saved. But what happened to it? This column would like to know.

The postcard’s seller was in Coeur d’Alene. The buyer was in Nelson.

• Although it was in poor condition, a ca. 1930s postcard of the Allan Hotel and P. Burns meat market in Rossland sold for $33 U.S.

The hotel, which stood where Subway is now, consisted of two buildings: the original four-storied wooden section, and a three-storey brick addition. Both dated to the mid-1890s and both burned on April 9, 1978, robbing the city of one of its most colourful landmarks.

The original proprietress, Mrs. M.E. Allan, was both respected as an excellent businesswoman and notorious for her many marriages.

According to Jeremy Mouat in Roaring Days: Rossland’s Mines and the History of British Columbia, local gossip had it that she would slip across the border to Spokane for a quick divorce when she tired of each husband — although it was also said two or three of her ex-husbands worked at the hotel.

Mouat discovered an investigation into official corruption revealed a police magistrate avoided repaying a debt to Mrs. Allan by threatening bigamy charges.

The seller was in Fort Gratiot, Mich., the buyer in Nelson.

This column will appear in the March 22 edition of the West Kootenay Advertiser.

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