Paddy Miles ran a ferry across the Kootenay River at this point until his tragic death in 1908. This photo was taken from Nelson Hydro’s generating station.

Railway named Meadows in 1893

One hundred twenty-first in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names.

Meadows also known as Meadow Spur, Meadows Siding, and Meadows Junction was one of the original stops on the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway, and first mentioned in the Nelson Tribune of Dec. 14, 1893. A small farming community developed there.

The Spokane Weekly Spokesman Review of Oct. 3, 1895 wrote: “In about an hour’s ride over the Nelson and Fort Sheppard railroad one arrives at Meadows Siding, a lovely valley lying between the ranges of mountains divided by Beaver creek and further east by the north fork of the Salmon.”

A school operated under the name Meadow Spur from at least 1918 to 1941.

Today DriveBC refers to it as Meadows Junction, for it’s at the intersection of Highway 3B and the bottom of the Bombi Pass on the Salmo/Fruitvale side.

The BC Geographic Names website indicates there was also a railway siding there as of 1956 named Archibald, presumably after Cyril Isaac (Barney) Archibald (1877-1941), manager of Salmo’s Kootenay Shingle Co.

There’s still an Archibald Road and an Archibald Creek at Meadows. The latter was called Meadow Creek on a 1912 map, but labelled “Archibald (Caribou) Creek” on a 1915 map. Land surveyor W.S. Drewry apparently renamed the creek Archibald.

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MELVILLE

This obscure townsite was first mentioned in the Grand Forks Miner of April 30, 1898: “A new town on the Dewdney trail has been laid out where it crosses Big Sheep Creek to be known as Melville, in honor of Magistrate Melville Newton of Rossland. Mr. Fred Lindsburg, of Rossland, is erecting a new hotel and will shortly put up a corral and barn for the accommodation of the travelling public.”

William Melville Newton (1840-1915) was a justice of the peace and a partner with Ross Thompson in the Rossland townsite company. He was also involved in the promotion of townsites at Pilot Bay and Sayward, chaired Rossland’s incorporation committee, and was one of the city’s first school trustees.

He was temporarily mining recorder for the area as well, but according to an early history, “his arbitrary methods of doing business for miners and prospectors demanded a change.”

An ad appeared in the Rossland Evening Record on Nov. 4, 1898 for “The Melville Hotel, Townsite of Melville, Big Sheep Creek. Now offering accommodation for all parties visiting Sophie Mountain or Christina Lake district.” The hotel was still operating as of July 1899, but the town didn’t otherwise go anywhere.

Clara Graham wrote in Kootenay Mosaic that Melville “gave a flickering promise of importance which did not materialize.” It was last mentioned in the Cascade Record of Aug. 26, 1899.

Newton left Rossland in 1899 for Auckland, New Zealand and died there.

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MILES’ FERRY

Miles’ Ferry was where colourful former policeman John (Paddy) Miles (1848-1908) ran a rowboat across the Kootenay River while the City of Nelson’s power plant was under construction.

The name apparently applied to both sides of the river and was first mentioned in the Nelson Canadian of June 27, 1906 when the board of license commissioners met to consider “the application of John Miles for an hotel license at Miles’ Ferry.” He was turned down on the grounds that there was no demand and selling liquor close to the power plant was undesirable. In frustration, he accosted Mayor William Gillett using “abusive language,” for which he was fined $20.

Miles Ferry was a spur on the CPR timetable before Sept. 8, 1907.

On May 24, 1908, Miles was rowing Jack Sharples and John Richmond across the river when their boat was swept over Bonnington Falls. Only Sharples’ body was recovered.

A story on the tragedy in the Nelson Daily News related that “For some years Paddy has been looking after a ranch of his near the city power plant and ‘Miles Ferry’ and ‘Miles Crossing’ are as well known here as the city itself.”

Someone else apparently ran the ferry after Miles’ death. Miles’ Ferry was mentioned in the Nelson Daily News of Oct. 28, 1909 and in the 1910 civic directory as a CPR flag station, but after that the name died out.