Mirror Lake’s post office

Mirror Lake hosted Kootenay’s first bonspiel

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

Mirror Lake was first mentioned in the Nelson Miner of March 7, 1896: “The Kaslo Curling Club which, with the exception of one at Golden is the only curling club in BC, held its annual bonspiel on Tuesday, 3rd inst., on Mirror lake, three miles from Kaslo.”

The club was only formed in November 1895, so this was in fact the first bonspiel held in the Kootenays Horace D. Bucke won a medal given by the Manitoba branch of the Royal Caledonian Club.

A history compiled by the Kaslo and District Women’s Institute in 1956 stated: “The community of Mirror Lake was named from a small picturesque lake surrounded by mountains which protect it from winds, thus leaving the surface of the water smooth and reflective as a mirror, from which the name derives.”

For years, a Nelson company cut and sold ice from the lake.

Mirror Lake had another claim to fame: its post office, which opened in 1909 and closed in 1970, was allegedly featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! as the world’s smallest. The cartoon has proved elusive, but it certainly was tiny, about the size of a toolshed. It now sits next to the SS Moyie in Kaslo.

 

MOLLY GIBSON LANDING

This spot on Kootenay Lake took its name for a mine up Kokanee Creek which was first mentioned in the Vancouver Daily World of June 2, 1896: “The Crusader group, consisting of five claims, bonded for $50,000 resembles the Molly Gibson of Aspen, Col., in all of its characteristics.”

Both the Colorado and Kokanee Creek Molly Gibson mines proved to be major producers. But ours is best known as the site of one of West Kootenay’s deadliest disasters: on Christmas Day 1902, an avalanche struck the bunkhouse, killing nine men.

Molly Gibson Landing was first mentioned in the Nelson Tribune of Sept. 5, 1900: “Three cars of tramway outfit for the Molly Gibson mine were received yesterday from Illecillewaet and forwarded to Molly Gibson landing.”

The Molly Gibson post office operated from June to October 1911, when the name was changed to Kokanee. A second Molly Gibson post office operated from August 1912 to November 1915, although it’s unclear whether it was at the mine site or at the landing.

CORRECTION: A caption last week that accompanied this column was duplicated. One of the ads depicted, for the Mineral City townsite, appeared in the Nelson Miner of June 12, 1897.

 

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