Mineral City’s jackpot was huckleberries

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

Mineral City, six or seven miles up Cariboo Creek from Burton was concocted by Rossland interests and first mentioned in the Nelson Miner of May 30, 1896: “Engineers are at work laying out the townsite at Mineral City. The hotel on the new townsite is nearly completed.”

However, the townsite plan, credited to surveyor Joseph Frederick Ritchie, is dated May 22, 1897 and was deposited with the land registry on July 17, 1897. The streets were Lincoln, St. Paul, Anderson, Union, Phoenix, Princess, Spokane, Cooke, and Johnson (many of which are also streets in Rossland) and the avenues Madden, Columbia, Nelson, and Victoria. (The Madden family ran the hotel.)

The town took its name from Mineral Creek, first mentioned in The Ledge of Aug. 2, 1894.

The Victoria Daily Colonist reported on June 4, 1897: “The Mineral City Townsite Co. is the only joint stock company formed this week. It has its head offices in Rossland and capital stock of $21,600.” Two days later the paper added: “Townsites in Cariboo Creek district are also beginning to boom. Mineral City and Cariboo City have been put on the market lately and lots in both are meeting with ready sale in Rossland.”

According to Our Days Before Yesterday, “The site of Mineral City is on the bank of Mineral Creek about half a mile from its confluence with Caribou Creek and was staked by Jack Fyfe, who was engineer on the SS Kootenay and who had the backing of the Bank of Montreal at Rossland …”

Mineral City was home to a short-lived monthly newspaper, the Mineral City News, edited by Alfred W. Dwyer at Rossland. It might have only lasted one issue no copies are known to survive.

While Mineral City came to naught, mining engineer H. Bush claimed in the Nelson Tribune of May 7, 1898 that “The most important city in this district will be Mineral City It is an ideal townsite, lying in a beautiful valley, and is in close proximity to all the principal mines. A good hotel has been built and arrangements are being made for a tri-weekly mail service to this point from Burton City.”

The Arrow Lakes News of July 12, 1934 noted: “Mineral City is a name on the old maps and the stakes of the town plotters may still be seen. Of late years it has chiefly been noted for its huckleberries.”

Possibly the last use of the name appeared in the Arrow Lakes News of Aug. 13, 1936: A party of berry pickers motored to Mineral City Sunday.”

MINTON

This obscure townsite, platted to capitalize on the construction of the Columbia and Western Railway, was first mentioned in the Brooklyn News of Oct. 8, 1898: “The youngest town in the Boundary country is Minton, at the foot of Christina lake, near Cascade City. It was named after the new governor general of Canada.”

Sir Gilbert John Murray Kynynmond Elliot, 4th Earl of Minto (1845-1914) served was governor general 1898 to 1904. The SS Minto, which plied the Arrow Lakes for over 50 years, was also named after him.

E.C. Eckstrom opened a hotel at Minton called the Travellers’ Inn and the BC Mercantile and Mining Syndicate Ltd. had a general store there.

Minton didn’t last long. The Cascade Record of Aug. 26, 1899 described it as being in a “semi-moribund state.” In 1902, the Christina Lake Mill Co. erected a sawmill on the townsite.

 

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