West Kootenay Advertiser
Granite Siding, also known as just Granite, was a stop on the Columbia and Kootenay Railway west of Nelson, near the present Taghum bridge.
It’s one of a bewildering number of names for the area that also included Belford, Blewett, Davenport, Kootenay Crossing, and Woodville.
We’ve previously covered the first three names. Davenport was mentioned in the Nelson Miner of July 26, 1890: “Smith & Woods have started a hotel at the Davenport crossing of the Kootenay.”
The 1891 civic directory listed John Smith as hotel proprietor at Davenport.
However, the name Kootenay Crossing — for the point where the railway crossed the river — was also in use, first mentioned in the Miner of August 30, 1890: “Keefer & Co … will remove camp 2 on Sunday up to a point within three miles of the Kootenay crossing.”
The hotel at Davenport, known as the Thistle, was later said to be at Kootenay Crossing, as indicated by the Nelson Tribune of July 13, 1893: “On Sunday last while coming up from Bob Woods’ hotel at Kootenay Crossing …”
In Granite Road Memories, Dave Norcross said the hotel was near the present Taghum beach.
When Robert Woods applied for a liquor license for the hotel in late 1899, he gave its location as Woodville. He also gave this name on applications in 1900 and 1904, although in 1903 it was called Woodsville.
Although Kootenay Crossing was mentioned in the newspapers through at least 1903, it last appeared in the B.C. civic directory in 1901 with the notation “Now Granite Siding.”,
The earliest mention of Granite Siding is among the hotel arrivals in the Tribune of November 20, 1899, which showed John McNeil of that place staying at the Grand Central. The siding took its name from the Granite mine and mill, built the previous summer.
The Tribune of January 7, 1902 reported: “Steps have been taken to start a public school at Woodville, or the Granite mill, on Eagle creek, six miles west of Nelson.”
When Robert Woods renewed his liquor license application in 1905, his hotel was said to be at Granite. His obituary the following year also placed the hotel at or near Granite.
Meanwhile, when Dr. E.C. Arthur died, the Nelson Daily News of July 7, 1932 noted he “came here in 1890 … He walked in to Nelson on foot, passing the trail builders, and crossing the river at Granite, then known as Kootenay crossing …”
A post office operated at Granite Siding from 1912 to 1918.
The name survives in Granite Road and Granite Siding Road.
This short-lived community was one mile below the Relief Arlington mine at Erie.
According to the Nelson Daily News of February 10, 1940, “Granite City … is a new settlement which inaugurated in 1938, grew rapidly in 1939, and is now home to 29 families. It is on logged-off land of the F.R. Rotter Lumber Co. An investment of over $10,000 has been made in small homes for the families of miners employed at the Relief-Arlington mining property. The settlement has its own water system and is served by electricity.”
However, Leonard Drugge, who lived there with his family from 1938 until the mine closed in 1941, wrote in Salmo Stories that there was no electricity.
He said the community was also known as the Second Relief townsite, and was a mile from the mine at the confluence of Boulder and another creek. Mine staff lived in houses closer to the mine, which is also where a school was.
Lumber from several Granite City homes was salvaged to build the Drugge family’s new home on Baker Avenue in Salmo.