The week in Kootenaiana

Sternwheeler postcards, Nelson trade tokens, and an old photo of the Kootenay River highlight this week's roundup of local artifacts.

SS Bonnington



Latest in a series about items of local historical interest on eBay.

Short takes this time:

• A beautiful real photo postcard of the SS Bonnington, largest of the Arrow Lakes sternwheelers, sold for $59 US. Launched in 1911, it was taken out of service in the 1930s and later broken up. Its sister ships were the Nasookin on Kootenay Lake and Sicamous on Okanagan Lake.

The seller was in Middleboro, Mass.

• A lovely colour lithographed postcard of the SS Rossland approaching Arrowhead went for $50 US. It was mailed to “Master Gordon C. Smith” of 5516 Wabash Avenue in Chicago in 1909.

The message read: “This is the boat Papa will take when coming back from up the lakes. Don’t you think it’s pretty hills and water. Be a good boy and Papa will be home soon. With lots of love to you and Mama, Papa.”

• A 7 x 9 silver gelatin print of the Kootenay River falls taken by Frederick Steele of Winnipeg in the 1890s, prior to the construction of hydroelectric dams, sold for $55 US.

Steele travelled across Western Canada and photographed scenery for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

• A trade token from the Grand Central Hotel in Nelson, good for 6½ cents, sold for $67 US.

This large hotel was on the corner of Ward and Vernon streets where the credit union now stands. Although at one of the most prominent intersections in town, very few photos of it exist.

• A token from Nelson’s Royal Shoe store, good for 10 cents, sold for $19 US. It was one of the longest running Baker Street businesses, around from the early 1900s to the 1970s. A very faded phantom sign still exists on the side of the Aberdeen block.

• Some more cancellations from defunct Kootenay post offices brought fairly modest prices. Two from Gerrard, at the south end of Trout Lake, from 1953 and 1954 sold for $22.50 Cdn and $16.50 Cdn respectively.

Others included Johnsons Landing, 1970 ($3.25), Harrop, 1934 ($2.50), Appledale, 1959 ($2.50), Eholt 1916 ($2.50), Arrowhead, 1907 ($2.50) and Deer Park, 1940 (failed to sell).

• An 1893 stock certificate from the Kootenai Hydraulic Mining Co. of Waneta sold for $45. Four other copies of this stock have sold in the last decade for between $55 and $150.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company worked the placer grounds along the Pend d’Oreille River from its confluence with the Columbia.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on September 27.

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