The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Monthly Archives: April 2017

Chapter 27 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part V

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          A Mysterious Thing Called Love

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The Ryndam Approaching Canada

      We had already set back our time on board by three hours, which meant that we had covered more than half of the total distance of our route to Canada. Like a giant magnet the approaching American continent channeled and directed my thoughts and feelings towards it as to make me feel at home before we even arrived at the port of entry. At Adolf’s portable radio, which he had bought on board at the duty-free shop, we picked up the first Canadian stations and eagerly listened to music and news from the island province of Newfoundland. Yet, in spite of my joyful anticipation of soon setting foot on my new homeland, there were also moments, when being alone in our cabin I began to examine in a critical manner my motives for leaving Germany.

     For my brother Adolf the voyage was simply a return to where he belonged after the successful completion of his journeyman program as a machinist. My sister Erika, a fully trained and certified nurse, wanted to escape the deplorable working conditions in the German hospitals, where she was overworked and underpaid.

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My Brother Adolf Chatting with a Butcher’s Couple

       But what about me? Wasn’t I a fool to leave Germany, where I could have enrolled in any of the post-secondary programs leading to a diploma in my favourite field in high frequency technology? The words of the kind army major at the basic training camp were still ringing in my ears and entered my thoughts about a great opportunity I may have missed. He had urged me to consider a career in teaching at the technical army schools as a high-ranking and well-paid officer. I could have also gone into teaching with excellent prospects in Germany. Seeing all these real opportunities I realized the painful irony of my situation. Even though I had never met Biene’s parents except for a brief encounter at the Baldeney campground, I was unknowingly sharing their conservative – we would say old-fashioned today – expectations for their future son-in-law. I felt like they did that to be acceptable to marry their daughter I would have to be able to support her. To achieve this goal, I needed a minimum of six years at a German university in order to become a high school teacher or an engineer in electronics. At the time of my immigration to Canada, there existed a two-years teachers’ training program. This would have been a crash course, which upon successful completion allowed the student to go out and teach as long as he or she was willing to put in the extra course work in summer sessions to complete the diploma requirements. So the main reason for me to emigrate was not to seek better jobs, to enjoy a greater sense of freedom, or to experience the grandeur of the Canadian wilderness, albeit very appealing in and of themselves, but that it was a means to an end, i.e. to get married to Biene as soon as possible. It was truly paradoxical that in order to be close to Biene in the future, I had to be far away from her, At this point in time we couldn’t even dream of meeting in the next couple of years.

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Adolf in his Tiny, but Cozy Bunk

          It is a strange thing about love. We feel its power, yet we cannot describe it. It has no physical location, even though we assert we feel it in our hearts. It has no substance, yet we say metaphorically love is in the air. However, we know it exists whenever we are in it and feel its tug at our heartstrings. We begin to see things associated with our beloved that we did not see before. So it was the case with Biene and me. I was on my way to Canada. All of a sudden this relatively unknown country from a German perspective had taken on an entirely new meaning for Biene. If love had not established a connection to this alluring country across the Atlantic, she would not have cared much about it, when her sister Elsbeth in Gotha romanticized about Canada and the wonderful things she had seen on TV. But now the floodgate of associations was wide open. Anything that had even remotely to do with Canada filled her heart with joyous anticipation. Somehow its name had taken on an auspicious meaning for her. She bought travel books on this second largest country in the world. Soon she described herself tongue-in-cheek as an expert on Canadian affairs. Whenever something related to this country came up on the radio, she perked up and eagerly listened to the news. On her daily trip to the teacher’s college in Wuppertal she walked by a large clock that indicated also the times in many other locations in the world. Of course, she would be interested in knowing the time in Calgary, where I would soon arrive by car with Adolf. When a seminar with slide presentation on travels in North America was offered to the general public at a community college, Biene attended the session. The presenter Martin Winter had traveled across all the Americas. He showed his slides of the Canadian wilderness, the majestic Rocky Mountains, serene lakes and raging rivers. When he talked about Calgary and the Stampede, the greatest rodeo spectacle on earth, Biene was so thrilled, she went to see him after the presentation and told him that her fiancé was just then on his way to Canada. ‘One day’, she wrote me in her enthusiasm for this wild and beautiful country, ‘you must take me camping to one of these glorious mountain lakes.’

STEEP AND CROOKED … by Late Writer, Artist & Castle Builder Bill Laux

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

SLOW DEATH:THE DEMISE OF THE HOT AIR LINE 1902 – 1921

CPR Logging Train

        After the arrival of the W&GN rails in Republic in 1903, the production of the mines was split between the two railroads.   Approximately 1000 tons per week was going out, with the GN taking the largest share.   Most of this ore had been stockpiled at the mines awaiting the rails.   Almost all of the 30 carloads a week being shipped, went to the Granby smelter.   Very high grade ores went to Everett and Tacoma, Washington where the smelters were willing to pay premium prices for Republic ores with their high silica and lime content, to blend with their “wet” (high in sulfur) ores to make a desirable slag in the furnaces.

        Once the stockpiles of ore had been shipped, traffic began to dwindle from 35,000 tons with a value of $350,000 in 1903 to a mere 195 tons with a value of $9,000 in the panic year of 1907.   It was not an indication that the mines were exhausted.   Recovery of the gold values was the problem, not exhaustion of the deposits.   When better concentrating methods were installed in the larger mines, production increased.

            With better concentrating machinery installed in 1908, shipments began to pick up with 584 tons shipped for a value of $20,000.     Shipments steadily climbed to 44,000 tons in 1911 with a value of $900,000. Meanwhile, the Hot Air line limped along, with Republic Agent O.E. Fisher, picking up what business he could.   He contracted log hauls to sawmills along the line, and organized rail excursions on Sundays to the popular picnic grounds on Curlew Lake  The Great Northern’s W&GN, however, with its direct connection to Spokane, took the majority of the the passenger business.

            Train No. 256 from Spokane dropped its buffet car at Curlew, and continued on west to Oroville where it terminated.   Return train, No. 255, originated there at 6:30 AM, and stopped in Curlew to board passengers bound for Grand Forks or Spokane, and to pick up the buffet car.   The 2-1/2 percent grades on the Midway – Oroville portion of the line made it prudent to leave the heavy buffet car at Curlew, since the locomotives assigned to this service were older machines from Dan Corbin’s SF&N with limited pulling capacity.   At Karamin, not listed in this timetable, but at Mile 163, passengers and freight were set out for the narrow gauge Belcher Mine Railway which pulled its single passenger car 8 miles up Lambert Creek whenever Conductor Ike Mc Clung had paying traffic.

            In the Teens and Twenties of this century, Marcus, Washington was the center of action for all these mining lines.   Daily, at noon, the town came to life with sudden energy.   No. 259, the morning train from Nelson would arrive at 12:40 with the passengers and express that had come down the Red Mountain Railway to board at Northport.   The passengers would hurry into the restaurant, a neatly panted two story building just west of the station, congratulating themselves on being the first to arrive with a choice of tables.   No. 259 would be quickly wyed by its crew and set out beside the station on the north leg of the wye to return to Northport and Nelson as No. 260 after lunch.   Once parked on the house track, its hungry crew would make their way to the table in the restaurant reserved for GN employees.

               At 12:50, No. 255 from Oroville, Curlew and Grand Forks would come rumbling across the great Columbia River bridge to halt on the west leg of wye opposite the restaurant and its passengers would pour off and crowd into the building.   At he same time, 12:50, No. 256 was arriving from Spokane and its passengers were on the vestibule steps ready to make a run for the restaurant, shouting their orders as they crowded through the door.

              No. 255 was due to depart for Spokane in ten minutes, so its passengers had time only to pick up their box lunches ordered by telegraph from Laurier.   At 1:l0, both No 260 for Northport and Nelson, and No. 256 for Grand Forks, Curlew and Oroville were whistling for departure.   The diners cursed, shoving last mouthfuls of food into their faces, put down their napkins and hurried out to their trains, suffering the first pangs of heartburn and damning Jim Hill for his belief that twenty minutes was ample time to order and consume a noon meal.   The trains, probably a few minutes late, chuffed off, leaving the restaurant employees time to sit down, put their feet up and enjoy a smoke.   The whistle blasts from the three trains, resounding from the mountains, died away, the long rumble from the Columbia Bridge was silenced, and the sleepy, riverfront town of Marcus relaxed into a quiet afternoon snooze.   It would all happen again at noon the next day.

           In Grand Forks, the Hot Air management, defeated by Jim Hill’s competition at Republic, had turned to their North Fork line.   They had built 18 miles up the river and then stalled for want of funds at Lynch Creek.   An arrangement with the CPR allowed the Canadian Pacific’s trains to use the Hot Air track through town, and its station on 4th Avenue in exchange for Hot Air trackage rights from Westend to Smelter Junction on the CPR line.   The North Fork line then ran alongside Smelter Lake, serving a sawmill there, and on up the valley through the settlements at Niagara, Troutdale and Humming Bird where ore from nearby mines was loaded.   At two places north of Humming Bird, the wagon road was side by side with the tracks, and to keep the locomotives from frightening horses on the road, a high board fence was erected to separate the track from the road.   The road was frequently impassable in bad weather and couples would then resort to pumping a hand car down the Hot Air rails to attend dances at Volcanic Brown’s Camp.   The Hot Air was a home town railroad and when locals needed transportation, borrowing a railroad hand car and pumping down the line was customary practice.

             The Franklin Camp gold mines, 40 miles to the north were the line’s immediate goal.   An ambitious extension was planned to cross Monashee Pass and reach the Okanagan at Vernon, and beyond to the coal mines of the Nicola Valley. However, no one wanted to risk investing in a line Jim Hill had publicly announced he would destroy.   A hotel was built at Lynch Creek, the jumping off place for prospectors and miners, and a wagon road to Franklin Camp brought out its ore to be loaded on the Hot Air cars for the Granby smelter.

               In 1919, the Trail smelter was interested in getting fluorite from the Rock Candy mine to use as flux.   The CPR built the Lynch Creek bridge and extended the Hot Air rails two miles to Archibald where an aerial cable way brought the fluorite to a loading bunker.   This, together with log shipments to the sawmill and cedar utility pole shipments, allowed the Hot Air to maintain a weekly service, since the copper mines along the line had shut down with the closing of the Granby smelter.

               In the 1930s, the Hecla Mining Company, of Wallace, Idaho, bought the Union mine at Franklin Camp.   They built a concentrator and mill, and shipped their concentrates by truck to the Hot Air at Archibald, staving off the line’s abandonment for a few more years.  In 1921 the Hot Air’s wooden bridge over the Kettle River between Cuprum and City Station was damaged and there was no money to repair it.   That part of the line was abandoned and the CPR trains backed and out of City Station.   That accounts for the mileage on the timetable above being figured from Westend, which was the CPR interchange.   By 1935 mine traffic on the North Fork line had ceased and the sawmill at Lynch Creek had closed.   With no remaining traffic, the CPR pulled the rails.   The present steel highway bridge across the North Fork at Bumblebee is the only remaining artifact of the North Fork branch.   In September, 1952, the CPR ceased backing its passenger trains into the downtown station and those tracks were pulled. The Great Northern pulled out of Grand Forks on June 15, 1943, closing its station, and pulling its tracks back across the Kettle River to the “Big Y”, three miles south of town where a tiny station was maintained for passengers.             Ever since the Hot Air lost most of the contracts for hauling ore from the Eureka Creek mines to the Great Northern, the managers of the Trusts and Guarantee Company back in Ontario had wanted desperately to unload this ailing railroad.   In 1906 they sent out James Warren, the former manager of the White Bear mine at Rossland, to either make the Hot Air profitable, or abandon it.

            Warren saw at once that the Republic line, in direct competition with Hill’s Great Northern branch, was a loser.   It’s only salvation could be as a Canadian Gateway Line for one of the four American transcontinentals in Spokane.   Accordingly, the Hot Air had been reorganized in 1905 as the Spokane and British Columbia Railway with lawyer, W.T. Beck, of Republic as president.   The line claimed three locomotives, two passenger cars, and sixteen freight cars.   These, lettered for the Spokane and B.C.., ran on all Hot Air branches, from Eureka Creek to Lynch Creek.               Beck and Warren sent out surveyors to stake out a grade from Republic to Spokane.   The location survey ran down the San Poil river to the Hedlund Lumber Company Mill at West Fork which was expected to provide substantial traffic.   To encourage investors, a short length of isolated track was laid here, just as had been done on Clark Avenue in Republic in 1902.   The survey followed the San Poil south to the Columbia at Keller where the Indiana corporation was planning to build a smelter to process ore from the Keller mines.   The Granby company, as well, had issued bonds in 1902 to finance the extension of the Hot Air to the Keller mines so that it could bid for their ores.   From Keller, the S&BC was to run along the north bank of the Columbia to the mouth of the Spokane River.   A bridge was to cross the Columbia here and the line was to ascend the Spokane River and enter Spokane across the flat prairie north of town.   The line was announced with great fanfare in Spokane, and purchases of land were made, not so much for right of way, but as speculations on the development of north Spokane should the S&BC ever build track.   A further scheme was announced by which the S&BC would skirt the north edge of town and connect with Dan Corbin’s Spokane International which he had built to bring the Canadian Pacific into Spokane from Yahk, B.C.   The idea was to provide a water level coal route from the Crowsnest mines to the Granby and Greenwood smelters, bypassing the CPR’s costly barge route across Kootenay Lake with its “double dockage” charges on every carload of coal, and that costly haul, with double-headed freights, over Mc Rae Pass.   Such route, if built, would break Jim Hill’s monopoly on coal to the Granby smelter, something that the CPR dearly wished for.   Jim Hill, for his part, sent his surveyors to stake out a parallel line.   It was graded, Bluestem to Hawk Creek, and that was a sufficient message to potential investors.   The message was received, and the S&BC languished.

            Warren and the Hot Air were not alone in these schemes to bring cheaper coal to the Kootenay and Boundary industries.   Frederick Blackwell, who had completed his Idaho and Washington Northern Railroad from a Spokane connection to Metalline Falls, a few miles from the Canadian border, maintained a cutoff line from Blanchard to Athol on Corbin’s SIR, so that coal could come over over his line to Trail, B.C. if only the CPR would build a 35 mile connecting line from Trail, up the Pend Orielle River to tie into his rails at Metalline Falls.   CPR officials looked at the proposal.   It would give them an easy grade to Trail and bypass the awkward Kootenay Lake barge link. But in the end, they rejected the scheme.   For the same amount of money required to build up the Pend Orielle, they could put CPR rails around the south end of Kootenay Lake to Nelson, eliminating the barge line and having an All-Canadian line.   Having made this decision, they then characteristically omitted to build the Kootenay Lake Line, and barging went on until the 1930s.

            Meanwhile, the Milwaukee bought Blackwell’s Idaho and Washington Northern in 1912. Warren and the Hot Air approached the Union Pacific with their Spokane and B. C. Gateway proposal.   The UP considered, but in 1917, opted for 50% of Corbin’s SIR and an interchange with the CPR at Yahk. This American timetable gives times and mileage only from the border at Danville.   The Belcher mine had closed the previous year, though there are reports that the Mine Railroad still hauled logs for the sawmill at Karamin.

           As with the Canadians up the North Fork, the American residents of Danville used the railroad’s hand cars to attend dances in Curlew. Since trains did not run on Sunday, the baseball teams would use the handcars as well to get to games in Republic. With the destruction of the Hot Air’s Grand Forks depot and offices by fire in August, 1908, the early records of the line perished.   However, U.S. sources record that from the period March 1, 1909 until June 30, 1915, total revenues of the American segment of the line were $122,956, and expenses $292,461.   Possibly, revenues from the North Fork line may have offset this loss to some extent, but it is doubtful that the Hot Air ever operated in the black.   Certainly, the Republic line was always a loser.   One trip, related by Harry Lembke, illustrates the parlous state of the Hot Air line in its last years.   The Lembkes were buying logs from the Trout Creek area and having them brought to Curlew by the Hot Air train.   On one trip to pick up logs, the Hot Air locomotive began to lose water through cracked boiler tubes.   With the tank empty, they stopped on the Trout Creek Trestle and tried to dip water from the creek with a rope and bucket. But they found the engine was losing water from her boiler as fast as they could pour it in the tank.   The crew took the train to the siding just south of the trestle where all piled onto a flat car and coasted all the way back to Danville.   (More likely to Curlew, and pumped a hand car from there to Grand Forks.)   Another locomotive was fired up at Grand Forks and run down the line to bring back the leaking locomotive and its train.

            With the failure to peddle the Spokane and B.C. to an American railroad, J.J. Warren turned to the last remaining asset the Hot Air Line possessed, that charter authorization to build west to the Coast.   It was fanciful to believe that the Hot Air, a bankrupt railroad, barely able to run its trains, could be the corporation to accomplish that “Coast to Kootenay” railroad that British Columbians had wanted for so long.   But, astonishingly, Warren thought it could.   He somehow convinced the CPR that the way to beat Jim Hill’s “Third Main Line” to the Coast, was to lease the Hot Air for its charter, and then finance it to build the long hoped for line.   In 1913, the CPR agreed, and leased the Hot Air.   Warren and his directors renamed the corporation again (the Canadian part).   This time it became “The Kettle Valley Railway,” and with CPR backing, began building west from the Columbia and Western’s dead end at Midway.   Under Warren’s direction, and with CPR money, the Hot Air finally succeeded with a hair-raising mountain line through to Hope B.C. and a connection with the Canadian Pacific’s main line to Vancouver.

            The Republic line, under its U.S. charter as the Spokane and B.C.., was allowed to declare itself bankrupt in 1920, and ceased operations.   It was not worth saving; the CPR in 1921, allowed its assets to be auctioned off and its rails pulled up for salvage.   Washington State Highway 21 was built on its grade from Danville to just north of Curlew, and from the present Curlew High School south to Karamin.   The Karamin turnoff follows the grade to Trout Creek and the upper part of the Barrett Creek road is on its grade to Swamp Creek.

            The Great Northern trackage up Eureka Creek was seeing slight use in the 1930s as the mines were now using a cyanide process to recover the gold and smelting was no longer required.   When a sudden flood washed out the north approach to the great looping trestle over Granite Creek trapping a train up Eureka Creek, the railroad decided to pull its tracks back to the Republic station. A temporary fill was put in to rescue the stranded train, and in 1940, the tracks were lifted and an ore loading platform was built near the station to accommodate carload shipments to the Tacoma smelter.

           The Day Brothers of San Francisco, bought and consolidated a number of Eureka Creek properties in the 1930s, and kept them in production with modern concentrating machinery and methods. Hecla Mining Company acquired the Day Company’s Eureka Creek properties in 1981 in an unrelated transaction. Hecla engineers, in inspecting the Day properties in Eureka Creek, found them worth working.   Hecla worked the mines until 1995 when the Knob Hill mine was finally closed.   It had been an extremely long run; 99 years of nearly continuous production from a single mine, extracting 2 million ounces of gold, surpassing Phoenix and Rossland.

               Today, (1997) Echo Bay Mining operates several low grade properties on Cooke Mountain, not far from the old Belcher Mine.     Santa Fe Pacific Gold Corporation has leased the Golden Eagle claim from Hecla and is drilling on it to assess its value as a possible open pit mine.   Republic, the longest lived of the three Boundary Bonanzas, still thrives as a mining town.

                 Paradoxically, a fragment of the Hot Air Line has outlasted the Canadian Pacific in the Boundary District.   When, in 1995, just after completing a tie replacement program on the C&W Midway-Castlegar line, the Canadian Pacific, apparently suffering another panic attack, pulled its tracks back to Castlegar, the industries of Grand Forks were left without a rail connection.   The Burlington Northern was still running down its line to Republic, south of town and a surviving piece of Hot Air track still ran from Cuprum to Coopers’ Wye (“Big Y” locally), the BN interchange.   To serve the Grand Forks industries, the CPR stationed a diesel switcher at Cuprum and taxied a crew over from Nelson once or twice a week to perform industry switching and interchange cars with the BN.   This was wasteful and ridiculous.   The crew taxied over from Nelson had to be paid railroad mileage for the trip as union rules required, and the switcher, unprotected from the weather, had to be idled all winter long to keep the coolant from freezing.

            Pope and Talbot, operators of the sawmill undertook to form the Grand Forks Railway Company to take over the switching job.   Each morning the personnel of the Railroad, Dennis John, Manager, Mario Savaia, Conductor, and Miss Shelley Dahl, Engineer, switch the Grand Forks industries and run the loads down the 1-1/4 miles of Hot Air Track to the BN interchange at Cooper’s Wye.   Pope and Talbot provide a shed for winter storage of the switcher.   Headquarters is at Cuprum.

 

Chapter 27 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part IV

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Gale Force 7 in the North Atlantic

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The calm sea and the sunshine are deceiving (my sister and I relaxing on deck of the Ryndam)

After a few days of calm and sunny weather a violent storm broke out, which put an end to the leisurely lounging on deck and made most passengers withdraw into their cabins. I entered into my travelogue:

“ Today is an especially stormy day. Most passengers don’t dare to come on deck. They play cards instead or while away the long hours in some other way. But outside awaits the intrepid traveler an indescribable experience. I believe, if you fellow travelers were not afraid of becoming seasick, you would, like my brother and I, be eager to see what a storm Poseidon can whip up for you. At the stern of the ship we view how one of the most awesome spectacles are playing out in front of our eyes. Presently we have wind force 7 on the Beaufort scale, and the waves are piling up high threatening to engulf the Ryndam. In the dark all this takes on an all the more eerie appearance. The waves are bedecked with white foam. And it seethes and hisses like in a witch’s cauldron. When the crests reach a certain height, they seem to lose by the sheer wind force their support and dissolve into sheets of spray, which drift like blowing snow up against us. Feeling the mighty wind and tasting salt in our mouth, we are invigorated in body and soul. A great sea voyage turns into an inner experience.”

Storm zaujimavysvet.sk

Giant Wave – Photo Credit: zaujimavysvet.sk

World literature is replete with fascinating stories dealing with violent storms at sea. Confronted with the raw unbridled forces of Mother Nature man seems so small, so weak and insignificant. In the early days of exploration sailing ships were being tossed about like little nutshells by mountainous waves and hurricane-force strong winds. In ballads, short stories and novels the authors extol the indomitable human spirit that pushed man beyond what was thought to be possible. Standing with Adolf at the stern, hanging onto the safety ropes, and leaning against the wind that threatened to knock us down, we caught a glimpse of what it must have been like to be a sailor on a small sailing ship. On the other hand the Ryndam passengers hardly noticed the storm that was howling on the outside of the steel hull. The 200 m long vessel pitched and rolled just a little. None of the entertainment programs were cancelled. Most passengers continued to play cards, watch movies, danced, or sipped whiskey in the bar. They all missed out on the adventure of a lifetime.

          It was Sunday. I attended the church service provided by a Dutch minister in a large stateroom that served as church on this particular day. It was only a few months ago that I had bought a New Testament book in Latin with the twofold purpose of reading its message and keeping my ancient language skills alive. For similar reasons I felt attracted to the religious service. I wanted to hear God’s word and at the same time reinforce my English that had been getting rusty from lack of practice, since I graduated form high school. Was I ever into a treat on both counts! The minister spoke with a strong Dutch accent but very clearly. He explained how the Jews were devastated, after the Romans had utterly destroyed their temple in 70 AD. They believed that God had lost his dwelling place on earth and therefore could no longer live among them. The pastor emphasized that God had never lived in a temple. No man-made structure would be adequate to contain the glory of God. Instead he lives in the hearts of those who are seeking His presence and accept His Son Jesus as their personal savior. Hearing these words it felt like water was being poured on the parched soil of my impoverished soul and the seed that was once planted had just received the spiritual nourishment to grow and develop in the New World that I was about to enter.

 

STEEP AND CROOKED … by Late Writer, Artist & Castle Builder Bill Laux

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  CHAPTER FIFTEEN

RED MOUNTAIN: BOOM AND DECLINE 1900 – 1997

Trail_Smelter_in_Year_1929

Trail Smelter 1929 – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

When standard gauging its Rossland line, the CPR moved the Rossland yards to a flat between Second and Third Avenues, extending from Washington to Butte.   A commodious station was built on the site now occupied by the Rossland fire hall.   On the north side of the four track yard, a freight shed was erected, and at the east end, near Butte, a two stall engine house.   Alongside the yard tracks private interests put in a coal yard, a feed store, and a drayage warehouse.     Down in the lower town at Cook Avenue, a roofed platform for passengers was built at the water tower.   As in its narrow gauge days, this was still called “Union Avenue.”

 With both the CPR and the Great Northern in town, their bitter rivalry was not long in breaking out.     At the west end of Rossland, the Red Mountain Railway had a spur up behind the present museum which hauled ore from the Black Bear mine, delivered coal for its power plant, and timbers for mine props.  Further east and some hundreds of feet up Red Mountain was the second class dump of the great Le Roi mine.  The Northport smelter had installed a concentrating plant and now wanted that ore.

Accordingly, in the first days of November, 1900, the Red Mountain Railway sent out its engineers to stake out a line climbing west from the Black Bear spur to a switchback on the Annie claim.   Reversing there, the line climbed back east to the Le Roi second class ore dump and on to the end of the CPR track at the War Eagle ore bunkers.   This line would allow the Northport smelter to bid for both the Le Roi second class ore and for the War Eagle ores.

            For once in its long life, the CPR moved with dispatch. On the Ninth of November, the train from Nelson brought a full crew of workmen, engineers, and their tools.   The next morning, as the dawn sun was glimmering through the fog-shrouded town, the CPR men with teams and scrapers assembled at the War Eagle ore bunkers.     Running west and slightly downhill was the line of Red Mountain survey stakes.   After a careful sight through his instrument, the CPR engineer pronounced the Red Mountain grade suitable.   At once the CPR crew began to grade it with shovels, picks, wheelbarrows and horse drawn scrapers.  It was not until the next day that an outraged Red Mountain crew arrived from Marcus to find the CPR had graded their own line down to the Black Bear mine on the Red Mountain survey and were preparing to lay ties and rails

.               Howls of indignation went up, but this was Canada, and no pistols were drawn.   The Red Mountain telegrapher in Rossland sent out an SOS to Spokane.   Spokane wired Jim Hill in St Paul.   The mighty Empire Builder raged.   His Spokane lawyers were roused from their beds at midnight and bustled onto a hastily assembled special train at the Spokane depot.   They were to be in court in Rossland promptly at ten in the morning.   On came the Lawyers’ Special, storming up the hill to Rossland, and screeching to a halt at the Spokane Street station.   A squad of shivering and sleepless attorneys descended, and clutching their briefcases, hurried down to the courthouse on Columbia Avenue.

           But, as they were to learn, the CPR was a power in Canada.   The legal arguments were many, learned, and passionate.   Still, the owners of the mining claims over which the disputed rails passed, raised no objection; they were quite delighted to have rails at their mine mouths.   His Honour could find no injured party.

            On December 14, the judge upheld the CPR rails and the Spokane lawyers departed.   On the 16th, the Red Mountain capitulated, and connected its rails at the Black Bear with the CPR tracks.   Both lines could now compete for ore from the Black Bear, the War Eagle, and the Le Roi second class dump.   Belatedly, on the 23rd, the CPR published its “Notice of Application to Build a Branch Line to the Black Bear Claim.”   That closed any legal loopholes, and the Red Mountain Railway resigned itself to the interchange track.

                 With the end of regular sternwheeler service, the CPR removed the tracks from Bay Avenue and the Trail station to a more central location at Cedar and Farwell (where the Super Valu market now stands).   A wye was installed here to turn the engines. The War Eagle and Centre Star mines were bought in 1906 by the newly organized Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company (COMINCO) which began a policy of buying mining properties to assure the smelter of a continuous and predictable supply of ore.   The Northport smelter was still bidding for ores and faced uneconomic shutdowns when they were not forthcoming. As Rossland entered the present century, the results of the early high grading days became evident.   The Red Mountain mines had been opened in a virtual wilderness by the Spokane Colonels and Canadian Honourables when only the richest shoots of ore could pay their way to a railway siding by pack team or rawhiding.

              In 1896 the ore shipped out ran an average of 1.45 oz. in gold, 2.34 oz. silver, and 40.9 pounds of copper per ton.   That rich ore was worth $32.64 per ton.   The charges at the pioneer smelters were high, between $10 and $14 per ton, reflecting the high cost of getting coke and coal to the smelters by the roundabout rail and water routes.   Two years later, the average ore being mined contained only half as much gold, but owing to a doubling of the copper price, was still bringing a profit of about $20 per ton.

            The Le Roi, hoisting twenty six carloads daily in 1901, could claim ore values of only $13.16 per ton.   With the CPR bringing coal and coke directly from the Crowsnest fields, the smelter charges were more modest.   Combined mining, haulage and smelting charges averaged just $10.72 per ton.   This yielded a profit of $2.44 per ton, a tenth of what it had been three years earlier.   $2.00 per ton remained an average profit for the red Mountain mines for some years thereafter. High grade ore shoots were still being uncovered from time to time; each was announced with great fanfare in the mining press. But breathless publicity was largely a device to bolster stock prices and keep investors buying.   As the mines went deeper, the tenor of the ore steadily declined.   Smelter managers sent ore buyers into the field to purchase ores with a high sulfur content which would reduce the amount of coal required in the furnaces.     For this reason it was economic to bring in the bornite and chalcopyrite ores from Phoenix to blend with the lower sulfur Rossland ores.   The much lower mining costs at Phoenix where the massive deposits could be worked with power shovels from huge glory holes, more than offset the cost of hauling these ores over the Monashees to Trail or around by Marcus to Northport.

           With a progressive decline in the quality of ore as their mines went deeper, the Rossland mine managers blamed their inability to pay dividends on high labor costs.They refused to honor the legally mandated eight hour day, and instituted a change from an hourly wage to a contract system, paying their miners so much per ton or per foot of tunnel dug.   The Rossland miners refused and struck on July 11, 1901. The strike was long and bitter, but eventually failed as the local union broke away from the Western Miners Federation in Denver, uncomfortable with its openly Socialist ideology.   With the miners now on a contract system, the mine managers were no longer able to blame their failure to produce rich dividends on excessive labor costs.   The truth was was that the Le Roi, the Centre Star and War Eagle had been bought from the Spokane Colonels at vastly inflated prices in the speculative boom of 1898.   The ore being mined after 1898 could simply not pay the dividends demanded.     General informed belief was that the miners had been scapegoated.   The British Columbia Mining Record editorialized that the real reasons for the unprofitability of the Rossland Mines after 1898 were, “…the exaggerated anticipations on the part of investors; extravagance and incompetence on the part of the representatives of the investors” (the mine  managers); “over taxation… and extensive swindling on the part of company promoters.”

                To reduce mining costs Aldridge of the Trail smelter proposed uniting all the major producers into one company.   All were interconnected underground; amalgamation would allow all hoisting to be done through one shaft, and a single compressor station and lighting works would serve all the mines.   The owners refused, believing the proposal to be a CPR grab for monopoly control.   Aldridge was persistent; he believed that if the CPR did not buy the mines, the Great Northern would.[v]     Gradually, opposition weakened, except for Mc Millan, manager of the Le Roi.   He was especially obstructive, attacking the condition for merger that gave the CPR all the haulage of the combined ores, and the Trail smelter all the treatment.   Aldridge saw Mc Millan as representing Jim Hill’s interests.   This was true.   J.J. Hill, in far off St Paul, had been myopically buying shares in the declining Le Roi for the express purpose of preventing the CPR from getting hold of it, and denying Hill’s Red Mountain Railway of its traffic.

            In 1905 Aldridge was able to buy the War Eagle/Centre Star (already consolidated) from the Gooderham-Blackstock families in Toronto for $825,000. With these and other purchases, the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, Ltd. (COMINCO) was created in 1906.   Cominco was capitalized at 5 million dollars, a wringing out of the excessive capitalization which had hamstrung the separate companies.   It comprised the War Eagle,. Centre Star, the Trail smelter, The Rossland Power Company (an ore concentrating works), and the St Eugene mine, a lead-silver property in the East Kootenay which Aldridge optimistically expected to replace the Le Roi as the primary supplier of ore to the smelter.   The St Eugene was largely owned by the Spokane Colonels.   They had its manager, James Cronin, working his miners overtime in the months before the merger, a repetition of their 1898 stripping of the Le Roi, by removing as much of the high grade ore as possible to show a high valuation.   The St Eugene, as a result of the Colonels’ manipulations, was assigned 49.8% of the new Cominco stock, while the War Eagle-Centre Star got 33.2%, the Trail smelter, 15.8 % and the unsuccessful Rossland Power Company 1.2%.   Turning over their virtually depleted St Eugene mine to Cominco, the Spokane Colonels retired with half the Cominco stock, having fleeced the Canadians once again.

           Five years later, the worked out St Eugene was abandoned to a few leasers to pick its bones foe what they could find.   Cronin, when the deception was discovered, was unceremoniously removed from the Cominco board. Mc Millan of the Le Roi, doing Jim Hill’s bidding, refused to join the merger.   But Hill’s intransigence could not save his mine.   Five years later, in 1911, the Le Roi went into liquidation and was sold to Cominco for $250,000. As the supplies of copper-gold ores diminished in quantity and value, Cominco switched its interest to the huge deposit of low grade lead-silver ores of the Sullivan mine at Kimberly in the East Kootenay.

            This had been another of the Spokane Colonels’ properties, but here they had lost their shirts.   They had spent millions building a smelter to process its zinc-contaminated ores.   Then the usually shrewd Colonels became victims of their own exuberance.   Hiring by mistake, the brother of the engineer they had intended to employ, the smelter he built for them was an utter failure.   They sold out to the Guggenheims’ American ASARCO combine. Asarco as well was unable to treat the Sullivan ores successfully, and Cominco picked up the mine nobody wanted in 1910 for $116,000.  The separation of the troublesome zinc was finally achieved with a flotation process, and the Sullivan, together with the Bluebell (the deposit the Indians and Hudson’s Bay Company employees cast their bullets from in the 1840s) on Kootenay Lake furnished the bulk of Cominco’s ores until the 1970s.

         Still, copper-gold ores continued to come down the steep and crooked rails from Rossland, though, after 1916 in diminished tonnage.   By 1910, the CPR M4 series Consolidation locomotives were assigned to the Rossland run, and for these heavier engines the existing 60 pound rail was replaced with 85 pound steel.   Rails on the tight 20 degree curves had to be braced against the weight of these engines with ties wedged between the outside rail and the embankment.   On other curves the outside rail was cabled to an iron pin driven into bedrock.

               Braking on the downhill runs was always a problem.   The older cars with wooden brake beams often arrived at Smelter Junction with the beams so badly scorched they would need to be replaced before the car could be sent up the hill again. A judicious handling of the brakes was required so as not to burn off the brake beams and lose the train brakes.   In the Twenties all steel gondolas arrived with steel brake beams and the problem was eliminated.

           In the early years, the Rossland branch used tiny 4 wheel cabooses just 15 feet long.   These had been built in 1907 and 1908.   They lasted until the CPR banned 4 wheel equipment in the 1920s.   They were replaced by standard plan cabooses which had been shortened by ten feet.   A home made flanger, built on the single car truck, lasted well into the 1940s.

            After WWI the end was in sight for the Rossland mines.   They were following leaner and leaner veins down into the mountain, almost down to the level of the Columbia.   A plan was mooted to drive a tunnel from Warfield to intercept the deep workings and allow the ore to come out near present Haley Park.   This would have eliminated the need for trackage above Warfield.   The tunnel was begun, but too late.   The Red Mountain mines were nearing exhaustion and further expenditure was not justified.

               The Northport smelter had closed after the war for lack of ore.   On July 1, 1921, the last Great Northern train departed from Rossland and the Red Mountain Railway was closed.   In 1922, the rails were pulled and a one lane gravel road graded, most of it on the old railway line.   The great Columbia bridge at Northport was given a wooden deck for automobile traffic.   It served, an increasingly shaky structure old timers remember, until 1948, when one span collapsed and a ferry had to be put in service until a new highway bridge could be built.

               With the closing of the Phoenix mines in 1919 and the diminishing amounts of ore coming out of the deep levels of the Red Mountain mines, Cominco decided in 1929 to close its Rossland mines.   The next year it ended its copper smelting operations, and smelted exclusively lead-zinc-silver ores from the East and West Kootenay.   A good many of the Rossland miners found work in the Trail smelter, and a Rossland-Smelter Junction commuter coach was added to the 6:00 AM passenger train to Nelson.   The coach would be dropped off at Tadanac, as Smelter junction had been renamed.   On the return run from Nelson, the train would pick up the miner’s coach at 4:15 PM and haul them back up the hill to Rossland.

           When the great depression struck in the Thirties, the demand for metals dwindled and many smelter workers were laid off.   To assist these men, Cominco leased its Rossland mines from 1933 to 1940 to its laid-off employees.   A truck dumping facility was established on Washington Street.   The miners would truck their ore to the ramp and raise the body with a chain fall to dump the ore into the CPR gondolas.   The ore cars ran again in the three times per week service the CPR maintained to Rossland.

               A paved highway down the hill to Trail opened in 1937.   The miners then established their own commuting bus service to the smelter, a fifteen minute trip, as compared to an hour by train.   That year, all passenger service to Rossland was withdrawn.   Still, the freight climbed the hill three times a week, as Rossland, high above the smelter fumes, became the favored bedroom community for Trail employees.

           Conversion from coal to oil fired locomotives came in the late 1940s.   In 1953, diesel locomotives replaced steam.   In 1962 the line down the gulch to the Trail City station was lifted, and in March, 1966, the Rossland line was abandoned.   Track was lifted down to Warfield where the Cominco fertilizer plant still requires regular freight service bringing in phosphate and potash rock for conversion into fertilizer with the sulfuric acid formerly wasted up the stack.

            The Red Mountain mines and the steep and crooked line that served them, had outlasted Phoenix which had sunk into its own pits.   Rossland today remains a thriving community, and the Trail smelter, one of the world’s largest, processes ores brought from Alaska’s North Slope to Sayward up those historic Spokane Falls and Northern rails.   At the Sayward transfer facility, the ores are transferred to trucks for the remaining six miles to Trail. The failure of Fritz Heinze, in 1895, to keep his promise to Dan Corbin to lay track from Trail to Sayward is perpetuated today in that costly and irrational trucking operation.

            The inexplicable failure of the CPR to underbid BN for the Alaska ore traffic, has ended the procession of heavy ore trains from Cranbrook to Nelson to Trail, and the line from Yahk to Warfield has been sold to its employees.   The Canadian Pacific, reluctant in the beginning to enter the Kootenay-Boundary country, has hastened to leave it, abandoning its rail future to the always aggressive Americans.   BNSF trains still call at the old Great Northern points, at Sayward, at Salmo, at Grand Forks, at San Poil, and Curlew.   The departing CPR has sold the Trail Smelter, and pulled all of its track west of Castlegar.   Kootenay rail transport is back to where it was in 1899.

 

Biene’s Art Work – Part III

27

My Wife’s Art Work

Last week I published some paintings, which generated quite a bit of praise  and supporting comments in the blogging community, but they were somewhat dated and according to my wife’s opinion not all were worthwhile to be put on my blog. The lesson I learned from this experience is that I should always consult with my better half, especially when it comes to publishing  her art. To show that I am truly sorry I will present to you eight more additional wild life paintings and two portraits: one – a copy of a famous painting and the other – a copy of a photograph of the National Geographic magazine. Leave me a note in your comment if you can guess their origin.

Just click on any image to enlarge.

Chapter 27 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

7

Two Letters and a Poem

129

Meal Time on the Ryndam – Adolf, Eka and Peter at the Back

April 28th, 1965 Le Havre

           My dear Biene,

           We just left Le Havre and are heading towards England. Thousands of impressions hit me all at once. I feel as if I had already been on board  for a very long time. It is wonderful. Yet, I am restless, because you cannot experience all this with me. I would like describe to you how a typical day is panning out for us travelers. The tinkling of bells wakes us up in the morning. It also reminds us in this gentle way to show up for breakfast soon. Then I climb down the ladder. For I sleep in the upper bunk, while Adolf sleeps below. We can shower or take a bath for as long as we like.  Then we march off to the dining room. Never before have I seen a greater variety of food. When we return to our cabin, the steward has already made our beds. The cabin is very small, and if one had to share it with a stranger, it definitely would  not be a pleasant experience. We all have our own peculiar habits, which someone else would have to get used to.

124

Shuffle Board on the Sun Bathed Deck

          The entertainment program is so rich and varied that one does not know which item to choose first. You can watch English movies, go to the library, play all kinds of games. The big hit here is shuffleboard. After lunch you can attend a concert, go dancing in the evening or have a beer in the bar. And now I experience all this without you! That makes me a little sad and pensive. When I turn melancholic, I gladly withdraw from all these fun activities and write in my travelogue.

          Oh this heavenly weather! People are presently sun bathing and the sea is not rough, not even a trace of a swell. I want to experience a real storm. But my brother says that it will come soon enough, if I am really that keen on getting seasick.

134

Peter Strumming on his Guitar

          Your picture stands on my little desk. When at night I look down to you from my bed, I feel infinitely happy. I wished I could do the voyage all over again with you one day, when I have enough money to pick you up in Germany.

In a few days you will begin your studies, whereas I while away the time here onboard doing nothing. Tackle your academic work as if you had never applied for the stewardess program and as if you pursued a life’s career. You should know that you can help me also as a trained teacher, perhaps later assist me for a little while, in case my own studies should be dragging on.

          What would I give to be able to kiss you now! Until next time greetings to you and your parents!

          Your Peter

           On the same day Biene also wrote me a letter, which of course I was unable to read, until I arrived at my brother’s place in Calgary. I only included excerpts here to avoid breaking the chronological order of the family history.

April 28th, 1965 Velbert

           My dear Peter,

           Again you have made me cry. But don’t you worry, Peter. I did not have to cry out of sorrow (it was only lingering at the back of my mind), but from an overwhelming feeling of joy, happiness and unfathomable love. I listened to your guitar music  and to your voice on the record you had sent me. I could not grasp it! I just sat there, and tears were streaming down my cheeks. I once read that only a few people really understand how to say good-bye, and you knew how, Peter. Never will I forget this!

Dear Peter, now you have been on board for one day and with every minute you are getting closer to your destination. And when you read this letter, the long sea voyage and the road trip across Canada will already be behind you. Tell me Peter, isn’t it an incomprehensible feeling to be on the high seas and to experience the vastness and beauty of the ocean? When I experienced the sea for the first time, I was deeply moved. It was in the year we had met. My family and I were spending our vacation on the island of Corsica. Toward evening we had landed on the island. It was already night, when we reached our vacation village at the sea after an adventurous trip through the mountains. Completely exhausted we immediately fell into a deep sleep, from which I awoke unusually early in the morning. In eager anticipation to finally cast my eyes onto the sea, I quietly sneaked out, because my brother Walter was still fast asleep. Outside the air was cool and still. The sun had just risen above the horizon. The beach spread before me still completely untouched. I went a few steps down the slope and then I took in the full view of the sea! Somehow I was like in trance and could not move another step forward. Although the view was overwhelmingly beautiful, the infinite vastness also instilled in me a little bit of fear. I sat down very quietly in the sand and remained there, until the first beach guests, who frolicked in the water, broke the charm that had kept me spellbound. You alone, dear Peter, would not have dispelled the magic atmosphere.

          Inspired by her memories Biene wrote the following poem and entered it into the Book of Dreams.

The Sea

 I will forever love the sea,

Even when the gulls scream

Above thousands of storm-tossed waves.

I love the play of colors in the surf,

The billowing clouds, the sun, the warm sand, …

Oh Peter!

How much would I like to sit with you

On a lonely beach, at the sea

With its music

Rather than being

Separated from you

So infinitely far away

On the other side of the ocean.

On board of the Ryndam I also romanticized the sea as if in response to her letter that I had not even read yet.

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