Most of the lots in the Oro townsite up Lemon Creek were probably never cleared much less built upon.

Oro townsite proved less than golden

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

Oro, which means gold in Italian and Spanish, was a townsite at the junction of Lemon and Crusader Creeks in the Slocan Valley. It was surveyed by John McLatchie on Aug. 17, 1898 and mentioned, unfavorably, one week later in the Northport News:

“Otto Arnold returned Saturday from a trip to Oro, a camp back of Nelson, BC. The reason he went there was because he saw an article in the Spokesman Review saying that considerable work was being done there in the mines, consequently he thought it might be a good place to engage in the saloon business. When he arrived at his destination he found the town was composed of one building, occupied as a hotel and bar, and very few men in that section of the country. It is needless to say he left in disgust.”

The townsite belonged to the Oro Gold Mining and Milling Co., incorporated on April 20, 1898, which owned the Golden Wedge mine. The local manager, G.A. Farini, knew little about mining but a lot about funambulism nearly 40 years earlier, as the Great Farini, he walked over Niagara Falls on a tightrope. An avenue in the Oro townsite was named after him. (There was also a Farini St. in the phantom townsite of Vevey on Slocan Lake, which we’ll get to later in this series.)

Oro had some other interesting street names, mostly after local mines and claims: Athabaska, Silver King, Lucky George, Black Prince, Maple Leaf, Two Friends, Cold Blow, Caledonia, and St. Louis, plus Oro, Alpine, Wing, Bank, and Forty-Five.

While Oro never grew very big, for a couple of years it did have a sawmill, stamp mill, mine office, and assay office. An application for a post office was referred to the postal inspector on Feb. 16, 1899 but rejected for lack of a postmaster.

The Slocan Drill of March 27, 1903 reported: “J. Fred Ritchie, of Rossland, has staked three timber limits at the head of Lemon creek, taking in the Oro townsite and stamp mill.”

The same paper announced the town’s demise on Oct. 21, 1904: “As a result of the recent sale of delinquent lands the Oro townsite as well as that owned by J. Lawrence, both on Lemon Creek, have reverted to the government.”

A late mention of Oro and an apparent alternate name appeared in the Nelson Daily News of Aug. 7, 1937: “Five miles farther down the trail at Oro or Lemon City a Mr. Malcolm is continuing the road construction to the Golden Wedge property which he has bought.”

Oro is sometimes confused with another townsite at the confluence of Lemon and Summit creeks, known as Summit or just Lemon Creek.

For links to all previous installments in this series, find this story at nelsonstar.com/community

 

Just Posted

Kootenay unemployment rate down in April

Jobless figure stood at 5.4% last month

Rain, storms to hit Kootenays, Boundary amid flood crisis

Environment Canada is calling for 20 to 40 mm of rain by Friday

IH issues drinking water precautions

Be careful during and after floods

Thunderstorms headed to the West Kootenay

Environment Canada re-issued their special weather statement this morning,

Redfish Elementary ready to celebrate outdoor classroom

Timber structure officially introduced on June 8

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Canada, U.S. to begin Columbia River Treaty negotiations on May 29

B.C. MLA Katrine Conroy will represent the province in the talks

VIDEO: How to use naloxone to stop a fentanyl overdose

ANKORS’ Chloe Sage shows what to do when someone is overdosing

UPDATED: BC Ferries freezes plans to nix fuel rebates pending government funds

Claire Trevena says she is ‘extremely disappointed’ by a plan by BC Ferries to remove fuel rebates

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

Most Read