The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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Category Archives: Local Industry

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

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  CHAPTER FIFTEEN

RED MOUNTAIN: BOOM AND DECLINE 1900 – 1997

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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.

 

Frank Appleton – The Story about the Pioneer and Brewmaster of Canadian Craft Beer

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Brewing Revolution

Pioneering the Craft Beer Movement

 

This post is another addition to the growing list showcasing our local celebrities, who through their outstanding work within their own field of specialty have made invaluable contributions to our country. The following is the story of Frank Appleton.

“I was just one of the first to write an article that became a revolutionary pamphlet, it said something that many had thought—that good beer, flavorful and nutritious beer, had become debased. It had lost out to a mass-produced pale imitation of itself. The reaction was an idea whose time had come.”

THE INSPIRING STORY BEHIND TODAY’S CRAFT BEER revolution is the subject of this lively memoir by Frank Appleton, the English-trained brewmaster who is considered by many to be the father of Canada’s craft brewing movement. Appleton chronicles fifty years in the brewing business, from his early years working for one of the major breweries, to his part in establishing the first cottage brewery in Canada, to a forward look at the craft beer industry in an ever-more competitive market.

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Frank Appleton

Disillusioned with the Canadian brewing scene in the early 1970s, where three huge companies controlled 90 percent of the market and marketers and accountants made the decisions on what products to make, not the brewmasters, Appleton decided to “drop out” and brew his own beer while homesteading in the interior of British Columbia. He made a meager living as a freelance writer and his article entitled “The Underground Brewmaster” sparked the interest of John Mitchell, co-founder of the Troller Pub in Horseshoe Bay, bc. Their partnership launched the Horseshoe Bay Brewery in June 1982, the first of its kind in the country, serving the iconic Bay Ale brewed from Appleton’s recipe.

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The entire Appleton family in Hoyne’s brewery, Victoria, BC

Covering a range of topics, such as the difficulty of steering beer drinkers away from the “Big Boys” breweries; and struggles with the bc Liquor Control Board, as well as brewing plant design and the complexities of the malting process, Brewing Revolution touches upon the foundation of what shaped the craft beer industry in Canada. Appleton’s passion and innovation opened the gates for the scores of brewpubs and microbreweries that were to follow in both Canada and the us, and his story is of interest to anyone excited by today’s craft beer revival.

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Frank Appleton and Sean Hoyne, one of Frank’s Protégés

FRANK APPLETON has been consultant brewmaster to twenty brewing operations, including consulting in brewery design, startup and brewer training. In 2009, Appleton received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Craft Brewing from CAMRA Chapter Victoria. He lives in Edgewood, BC.

Edgewood local and craft beer pioneer Frank Appleton, author of Brewing Revolution: Pioneering the Craft Beer Movement (Harbour Publishing, 2016), is one of the front-runners for a prestigious national book award. Brewing Revolution is on the long list for the National Business Book Award, a $30,000 prize, which is given to the author of the most outstanding Canadian business-related book published in 2016.

Signed copies can be bought from the author for $25 plus $5 postage: Frank Appleton,’455 Robinson Road, R.R.#1, Edgewood BC V0G 1J0. The book is also available through the online bookstore amazon.ca.

 

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

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STEEP AND CROOKED: THE MINING RAILROADS OF THE CANADIAN BORDER

 By Bill Laux

Rossland, BC 1910 – Photo Credit: wikimaedia.org

CHAPTER TEN

EUREKA CREEK 1896 – 1902

Responding to the urgings of Spokane mining men, the American Congress opened the north half of the Colville Indian Reservation to mineral entry on February 21, 1896.   Among the prospectors quietly leaving Rossland for the newly opened lands in the Colville Indian Reservation, were Phil Creaser and Tommy Ryan, both grubstaked by James Clark.   By grub staking the prospectors, Clark would receive a half interest in whatever the prospectors should find.

Creaser and Ryan bought horses and supplies at Bossburg, on the SF&N line, the jumping off place for the Boundary country.   They traveled up the Kettle River trail into Canada, and west to Carson, where the Kettle flowed out of the U.S.   Here, beside the river, they found the Welty Brothers, George and John, who had come north from their illegal camp in the Reservation to get news of the expected mineral opening.   Creaser and Ryan gave them the welcome news and were invited to join the Weltys who now could stake the mineralized outcrops they had found near the headwaiters of the San Poil River.

On February 28, 1896, Creaser and Ryan, following the Weltys, came into an area of rolling hills covered with ponderosa pine. Here they found long, dyke-like outcrops of a crumbly, white rock they identified as “porphyry,” a massy rock enclosing many small rocks of differing composition.   Veins of quartz ran through these crumbly outcrops, and in the quartz veins, tell-tale black streaks of some heavy mineral.   Creaser and Ryan knocked off some chunks, licked the samples shiny, and brought out their hand lenses.   Through the lenses they could see gold in minute specks in the black streaks.   All around them were more outcrops and all of them showed gold.   Creaser and Ryan, picking what looked to be the richest of the outcrops, staked the Iron Mask, the Copper Belle, and Lone Pine, and took samples from each. John Welty, naming the draw he was prospecting, Eureka Creek, staked the Black Tail.

The men continued to prospect the ground around Granite and Eureka Creeks. On March 5, Creaser and Ryan staked the Republic and Jim Blaine, and then headed back to show their samples to James Clark and have them assayed.

In Rossland the assays were disappointing.   Only a trace of gold in most of them, just $ 2.06 in their best specimen.   Clark sent Creaser and Ryan back to Eureka Creek to begin digging on their claims and bring back deeper samples.   The two men dug on the Republic, the Iron Mask, and the Lone Pine. This time the assays turned out much better: $4.00 to the ton from the Iron Mask, and $35.00 from the Lone Pine.   As they went deeper, the values continued to increase.   In August, James Clark came himself.   He looked, he approved, and went away convinced that a significant mining district had been discovered.   He went to Spokane and shared the news with his brother, Patrick, or “Patsy” as he was called.

Patsy Clark came to the Eureka Camp at once and began developing the Republic claim, the biggest of the visible ledges.   Soon it began to show values in hundreds of dollars per ton from a large vein fifteen feet wide.

With the Republic producing paying ore and shipping it out by wagon to the Northport smelter, Patsy Clark incorporated the Republic Gold Mining Company and bought out Creasers and Ryan’s interests for $55,000, while investing $70,000 of his own money.   Creaser and Ryan used the money to develop their Lone Pine and Iron Mask mines.   They were successful and a few years, as the town of Republic began to take shape on the low hog back ridge across Granite Creek from the Republic mine, Phil Creaser built the Hotel Creaser there.

When rich pockets of ore were discovered at 60 feet, James Clark came to take over the Republic mine while brother Patsy went to Toronto to negotiated the sale of their War Eagle mine in Rossland to the Gooderham-Blackstock syndicate for $700,000 cash.   With that money, he came back to the Republic Camp in 1897 to develop the Republic mine into a property equally valuable.

Patsy Clark was the monarch of the camp.   He was a popular man, running the biggest mine, a mill, and a boarding house where he played accordion for the miners’ dances.   At his urging, a townsite was platted on the low ridge opposite his mine, to be called Republic with its main street named Clark Avenue. Still, in 1898, most of the miners lived in the Eureka Creek camp at the mouth of that creek.   It was a wild place in those early years when the district was not organized. Legally, it was still the Colville Indian Reservation and the nearest sheriff was in Colville, two days away by horseback.   This allowed a certain amount of lawlessness.   An entry in the Boundary Creek Times of Greenwood, B.C.., dated January 8, 1898, reads:

“Bad whiskey, the absence of officers of the law and the general looseness which  prevails in the vicinity of Eureka, Wash., were responsible for a serious shooting affray in the mining camp on Friday last.   Three men were wounded, and one of them, Frank Gottfriedsen, is in the Greenwood hospital with his elbow splintered by a rifle bullet and a  flesh wound in the other arm.   Gottfriedsen was brought to the hospital in Sunday.  “It is a difficult matter to learn the particulars, but it appears that early Tuesday  morning Gottfriedsen, La Fleur and others were in Bennett’s saloon in Eureka.   Bennett and  Gottfriedsen got into a dispute about claim jumping and words led to blows.   Bennett got the better of the fight, and then Gottfriedsen pulled out a six shooter and opened fire. Before the gun could be taken from him he succeeded in wounding his antagonist in the cheek.  Bennett went off to get the wound dressed and Gottfriedsen left the house at the same time.   Later in the day Gottfriedsen returned for his coat and the quarrel was started  anew.   This time Bennett used a repeating Winchester, and opened fire.   Gottfriedsen grabbed the barrel of the the Winchester, but Bennett continued firing and almost shot the clothes off Gottfriedsen’s body.   He appeared to have a charmed life, however, for he escaped with the two wounds mentioned.   La Fleur tried to stop the shooting and was  rewarded with a bullet from the Winchester.   His wound is not dangerous.”

The ores from the Eureka Camp were not free milling.   The gold and silver they contained were encapsulated in lime and silica, and required treatment in a mill to break down that coating.   Costly processes were tried in Clark’s “Big Red Mill” and the Mountain Lion Mill, north of town.   None were entirely successful.   The coarse particles of gold and silver were recovered, but the fine ones were lost.   As well, the lack of cheap transportation was a serious drawback.   The wagon haul to the Spokane Falls and Northern was costing $25 per ton.   Rail freight to the Northport smelter was another $6.00, and the smelter charges were $10.00 per ton.

This meant that only $40.00 ore ore better could be sent to the smelter. The Republic had such ore, and their shipments ran as high as $12,000 per carload at Marcus, with an average of $4,000 per car. Railroads were projected.   One was to come up the Columbia and San Poil Rivers from Jim Hill’s Great Northern at Wenatchee.   Another was to come down the Spokane and Columbia Rivers from Spokane and turn up the San Poil to Republic. Everyone with a map and a pencil played at paper railroads, but investors could not be found.

Patsy Clark went to Montreal again in 1899 and negotiated the sale of the Republic mine and mill, plus the Surprise and Lone Pine mines, for an extraordinary $3,500,000 to a Canadian syndicate.   The Canadians moved in, bringing their own bank with them, the Halifax Trust and Guarantee (later the Royal Bank).   This was to last as long as the Republic mine operated, the only American branch of the Royal Bank outside of New York at that time.

Patsy Clark was extremely fortunate in selling the mines.   The Petalan-Clerici process he was using in his mill to release the fine gold from the ore was costly and only partly successful.   It involved a preliminary roasting of the ores to break down the silica coating on the gold and silver.   Wood was the only fuel and the Republic Mill was firing six boilers of 500 total horsepower.   The hills around the Eureka Camp were being rapidly depleted of firewood.   Patsy Clark had build a five mile flume up Granite Creek down which firewood was floated to the mill, and the water used to generate electricity.   Up at the headwaiters of Eureka Creek, the Mountain Lion Mill, firing three 100 horsepower boilers, had strung a half mile cable across the Swamp Creek valley and was bringing in wood on this overhead cable tram from the mountains beyond.   The camp could not last long with these pioneer methods.   If a railroad would build in, the costly milling procedures could be dispensed with, and the ore could go directly to the Granby smelter.     Jay Graves in Phoenix realized this, and bought into a number of Eureka Creek mines, developing his plan for a custom smelter in Grand Forks to treat non-Granby ores.

As the new Century began, the town of Republic took shape, Ferry County, Washington was organized, and a sheriff and deputies hired to keep the peace.   As well, a railroad was surely coming.   Jim Hill had promised one.   But so had an unknown, Tracy Holland, a bank manager in Grand Forks.   Two railroads building to the mines.   It began to sound like Red Mountain all over again.

 

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

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STEEP AND CROOKED: THE MINING RAILROADS OF THE CANADIAN BORDER

 By Bill Laux

CHAPTER NINE

  GRANBY 1895 – 1902

Granby-Smelter

Jay P. Graves at the California mine on Red Mountain had held his breath in 1895 and taken the plunge.   He bought into a pair of copper prospects on Knob Hill in the Boundary range of the Monashee Mountains a few miles north of the border.   An old and trusted acquaintance, H.P. Palmerston, had come to him with a proposal.   Palmerston had been offered one quarter of their claims on Knob Hill by the Greenwood prospectors, Henry White and Matthew Hotter, on a promise that he would raise development money.   Palmerston was ill and unable to interest anyone in these remote claims.   He sold his interest in them to Jay Graves.

Graves put his Spokane boarder, Aubrey White, a bookseller, to peddling stock in these claims to Spokane mining speculators in 1896.   White could get no more than 10 cents a share; on the Spokane Mining Exchange they traded for just 5 or 6 cents.   This was failing to raise enough capital to begin work, so Graves sold his house and moved his family into the Spokane Hotel. With the money from this sale, he hired Henry White, the original locator, to begin to clearing the forest from the claims and digging a trench to expose the top of the ore body.   When the extent of the deposit had been established by trenching the shallow overburden of soil, Graves bought a boiler, a steam powered hoist and a steam pump to begin sinking a shaft into the ore. This machinery had to be hauled by wagon from Bossburg on the SF&N line to Grand Forks.   Then a road had to be brushed out up to Knob Hill on the ridge top west of town. The claims that Graves had bought did not contain the rich, narrow veins plunging steeply into the mountain, as at Rossland.   The trenching had showed that the copper was a large, saucer-shaped ore body just below the surface.   How thick it was, no one knew.   It was only 1 or 2 percent copper, but there was a great deal of it, and it contained minor amounts of gold and silver.   A pit could be opened and the ore quarried cheaply out of the hillside.   Still, more development money would have to be raised to determine the full extent of the ore body.

Graves had incorporated the two claims with 1,500,000 shares for the Knob Hill and 1,000,000 shares for the Old Ironsides.   In 1899 he sent out Frank Hemmenway, a Spokane bank teller who doubled as a miner in the summer, to work with Henry White, trenching and taking samples for assay.   Hemmenway had a sound reputation with Spokane mining investors, and his favorable report boosted the stock price on the Spokane Exchange. It also started a rush of prospectors and promoters to the Knob Hill discoveries.   All those who had been too late to cash in on the Red Mountain bonanza now swarmed over Knob Hill, and claims were staked for several miles in all directions. The trenching White and Hemmenway had done on Grave’s Knob Hill claims suggested the presence of a very large ore body, much large than the original 600 by 1500 foot claims.  Graves used the money stock sales were bringing in to buy the adjoining claims and acquire the entire ore body.   Encouraged by reports of other ore bodies in the district, other serious investors were moving in.   In 1897 the Dominion Copper Company was formed to acquire the Idaho, Brooklyn and Stemwinder claims across the valley of Twin Creek from Graves’ developments.   All of the deposits found, while large and close to the surface, were of low grade.   None of them would pay for the long wagon haul to the railroad at Bossburg or Marcus.

Railroads were coming; Dan Corbin was surveying his line from Marcus to Greenwood.   Fritz Heinze was surveying his route over Mc Rae Pass.   The CPR was, with agonizing slowness, creeping in from Alberta.   The railroads had made Rossland, and Jay Graves was confident that when one reached his mines, there would be a boom bigger than had yet been seen.   A smelter would be required.   To raise money for it, Graves and Aubrey White went east to enlist Montreal investors.   Their pitch to the Montreallers was that it was a patriotic duty for Canadians to invest in these British Columbia mines, and not let them fall into the hands of the greedy Americans. The spectacle of a couple of Americans, Graves and White, glibly promoting Canadian patriotic sentiment was a replay of Captain Ainsworth’s arguments to the B.C. Legislature, twenty years before.   Graves and White were helped by the fact that Canada was in the midst of its great Free Trade Election and the issue of American domination of Canadian business was being fought out at the polls.   The anti Free Trade forces won and so did Graves. He enlisted the support of Stephen Miner, a Quebec industrialist with connections to the Montreal banking community.   Miner wanted a recognized mining engineer to submit a report on Graves’ to circulate to his wealthy friends.   Graves sent out another Spokane Colonel, Nelson Linsley, the head of the Spokane Mining Bureau, and a respected mining engineer, to assess the value of his claims on Knob Hill.

The report was favorable.   In Montreal, Stephen Miner showed it to his friends, and introduced them to Graves who, with his tongue stuck solemnly in his cheek, warned them of the dangers of Americans getting control of this valuable Canadian resource.   Might not even political annexation follow? he asked with a melodramatic shiver.   Miner’s friends were impressed.   The combination of patriotism plus profit was irresistible.   There is something embarrassingly familiar about this to Canadians.   It seems it always takes an American to arouse Canadian patriotism.            With a group of wealthy Montreal investors behind him, Graves went across town to the CPR.   He began lobbying the CPR directors to lay rails to his mines.   The directors were skeptical.   Three mountain ranges would have to be crossed, and they doubted that Grave’s low-grade copper would pay for the construction costs.   Jay Graves was at an impasse.   The railroad was essential to his mines.   Without a firm promise of one, he and Miner could not sell stock in the Old Ironsides and Knob Hill.   And until his mines demonstrated their profitability, the CPR would not move.            And just as it was the threat of American control that brought the Montreal investors into Graves’ scheme, it was Dan Corbin, lobbying for a charter for a railroad to the Boundary mines, that aroused the CPR.   They easily blocked his charter application in Parliament, but when Jim Hill bought Corbin’s railroad, the CPR had to act.   Almost in a panic, they sent their engineers and surveyors into the Monashee snows to rush a line to the Boundary Copper camps.

The arrival of Canadian Pacific rails in Grand Forks in 1899 was marvelous luck for Jay Graves and Stephen Miner.   With the CPR laying track toward their new mining camp of Phoenix, the future of their Granby Company was assured.   However, Graves knew very well the CPR’s intention to create a transportation monopoly in the Boundary district, just as they had attempted in the Kootenays.   And with the knowledge that only a second and competing railroad could bring the CPR ore hauling rates down to the lowest possible figure, Graves went to Jim Hill in St Paul.   He showed him Colonel Linsley’s reports on the Old Ironsides and the Knob Hill.   Would Mr. Hill build Dan Corbin’s line to the Boundary?   Jim Hill said nothing.  His game was bigger.   If Grave’s ore body was as big as Colonel Linsley said, and as cheap to mine, a rail haul, while profitable, would not be enough.   Jim Hill wanted the mines and the smelter as well.   Very quietly, he began buying stock in Graves’ and Miner’s companies. Graves and Miner had organized three companies in 1899, the Old Ironsides, the Knob Hill, and Granby, to control the properties they owned on the ridge between Grand Forks and Greenwood.   Graves brought Yolen Williams over from the California mine at Rossland, made him a director, and hired him to work out plans to extract the ore. Then, at the head waters of Twin Creek, just below their claims, Graves and Miner preempted a town site, called it Phoenix, built a water system, and began selling lots to merchants, saloon keepers, hotel men, and others moving to the new camp.            The town site was a huge success.   Buyers flocked in, scenting a new Rossland.   Within 24 hours of going on sale, nearly every lot was sold for between $500 to $600.   It was said that the town site sale brought in $100,000 to Granby.   Graves and Miner now had enough for a down payment on a smelter, and began to build one on the North Fork of the Kettle River, just over Observation Mountain from Grand Forks. Breathlessly, miners, businessmen and investors, watched the CPR’s branch line to Phoenix being graded around the eastern slopes of Deadman’s Hill toward the mines.   With the CPR laying tracks to their ore, and with directors, Miner and Gault, handling stock sales in Montreal, Aubrey White moved to New York and began selling shares there.   They began moving briskly in the range of 80 cents.   This was delightful news to the Spokane speculators who had bought their shares for a nickel.   And at 80 cents, Jay Graves was now a rich man.

The Guggenheim brothers at that time dominated American metal smelting and refining.   Walter Aldrige at Trail had served in one of their Colorado operations.   Now Graves hired another one of Guggenheim’s smelter engineers, Abel Hodges, to put up a first class smelter on the North Fork site.   With all this activity, the CPR queried Walter Aldridge, whether the Phoenix development was serious. Aldridge, who badly wanted the Phoenix ores for his Trail smelter, told President Shaughnessy that it was quite serious, and that the Old Ironsides held enough ore to support a small smelter.   Shaughnessy was asked by Graves to build a 2-mile CPR spur into the smelter site from the C&W main line at Ward Lake.   It was needed as quickly as possible, Graves emphasized, as the smelter machinery to be installed would be much too heavy for freight wagons.   Aldridge and Shaughnessy wanted the Phoenix ore for the Trail smelter, and were in no mood to facilitate a competing smelter.   They told Graves Granby would have to pay for the smelter spur itself, but the cost would be refunded if the smelter production should reach 100 tons per day.   Aldridge underestimated Granby.   The Phoenix ores were lean, averaging only 1-1/4 percent copper, and would require several smeltings to concentrate them enough for refining.   Abel Hodges assured Jay Graves that he could smelt 150 tons of Phoenix ore a day, and that the spur cost would be recovered. 

The CPR’s Phoenix branch left the main line at the Eholt summit and climbed up Coltern Creek on a 3.4 percent grade.   At the head of the creek a small side hill cut, exposed a mass of chalcopyrite, a sulfide of copper and iron.   An alert workman quickly drove stakes on it and sold it to the Dominion Copper Company as the Emma Mine.  Aldridge and Shaughnessy were in no hurry to serve Jay Graves’ interest, and at this spot they abandoned the climb to Phoenix and ran a 2-1/2 mile spur out to the B.C. mine.   Aldridge urgently wanted that mine’s ore, almost pure copper pyrites, for his Trail smelter, as its high sulfur content would only require enough coal to ignite it in the smelter furnace.   From then on the burning sulfur itself would smelt the ore.    Graves was furious.   The CPR was hauling Boundary ore to Trail before putting rails into his deposit.   If Jim Hill were only on the scene, the CPR would not be trifling with him in this way.   Angrily, he had to send his first ore shipments down the mountain by wagon to the Granby Smelter for its opening on April 11, 1900, exactly as the Le Roi had had to do from Rossland, four years previously.            Finally, the CPR sent its crews back to the Emma mine, and began grading up the east side of Deadman’s Ridge toward Phoenix.   Not a quarter mile from the Emma, their grading exposed another mass of copper ore, and with no Trail engineer present, it was staked as the Oro Denoro, and sold to the Dominion Copper Company.

From that point the graders carefully examined every stone for traces of copper, but no further bonanzas were uncovered in the steep climb to the ridge top flat at the Wellington Camp (later Hartford).   At the chaotic Wellington Camp the ground was covered with stores, tents and cabins whose owners demanded exorbitant prices for a right of way.   The CPR hastily put in a switchback on perfectly level ground rather than pay for the land needed for a loop.   (Later on, when the Wellington Camp declined, a loop was built.)   The switchback reversed the line north where it climbed through the Rawhide, Gold Drop, Curlew, and Snowshoe claims, and turned into a shallow pass at an elevation of 4500 feet to enter the head waters of Twin Creek, the new town of Phoenix and the Granby Company’s mines.

In June of 1900, the rails were spiked down, and the line was complete.   On July 11, the first trainload of ten 30-ton cars of ore from the Old Ironsides mine departed Phoenix behind CPR L class Consolidation No. 317.   At Smelter Junction, the train was split, with five cars set off to be forwarded to the Trail smelter, while the remaining five cars were trundled down the 2 mile spur to the to the Granby Smelter. They arrived at 5:30 PM and were received with elaborate ceremony. Jay Graves and his family, together with C.H.S. Miner, Abel Hodges, and their families, were present.   A local brass band played, and the whistle cords of the engines were tied down to express the jubilation of all present.   It had been a tremendous gamble, but Jay Graves had won.            The two smelter furnaces were fired up the next day, and another trainload of ore arrived, the beginning of daily shipments from Granby and the other mines in the region.   Jay Graves at once ordered two Thew steam shovels on flanged wheels for 36” gauge track.   Quarry faces were blasted into the ore bodies at the Old Ironsides and the Knob Hill, 36” track was laid, and the two shovels began digging out the broken ore and loading it into 4 ton mine cars.   Davenport 0-4-0 saddletanker locomotives hauled the mine cars out of the quarries to a loading platform where they were dumped into the CPR 30 ton ore gondolas below.   At least one of the Davenport saddletankers was a special model for underground use, cut down to a five foot height, and requiring its engineer to operate it and fire it from a sitting position.   This squat steamer could enter the caverns blasted into the quarry walls and pull out ore from underground.

All this mechanization was wonderfully efficient.   Jay Graves boasted accurately to reporters that the Granby ores moved from quarry to smelter untouched by human hands.   Dumping the mine cars was mechanized a few years later when a Granby employee invented the self-dumping Granby mine car.   A wheel on the outside of the car would ride up on a slanting rail fixed to a vertical bulkhead in the dumping shed and tip the car as the Davenport pushed it over the chute.   This “Granby Car” was sold all over North America in subsequent years. As soon as the CPR tracks reached the mines at Phoenix, production went on a six-day week.   The ores rolled in short trains down the steep 12 mile grade to Eholt where they were made up into trains for the Granby smelter and cuts of cars for Trail to be picked up by the next way freight.   A second Shay locomotive, No. 112, identical to the 111 working the Rossland hill, was ordered and put to work on the Phoenix line hauling ore down the hill, and bringing coal and freight up to Phoenix.

With the completion of the Phoenix line, the CPR shifted its crews to Greenwood to build another steep and crooked branch up Motherlode creek to serve the Deadwood, Sunset and Motherlode mines.   The branch left the main line just a few hundred feet north of the C&W station, and climbed the rock bluff above Boundary Creek on a 3.8 percent grade to enter Motherlode Creek above the new smelter being built by the B.C. Copper Company.   From the smelter, the line climbed the left bank of Motherlode Creek to the town of Deadwood, and the Greyhound and Deadwood mines, also open quarries like the Phoenix mines.   From Deadwood the line was built on that same 3.8 percent grade up Castle Creek to a switchback (later replaced with a loop) which reversed it out of Castle Creek and up Motherlode Creek again to the huge Sunset open pit, or “glory hole,” as they were then called.   A quarter mile farther on it reached the Mother lode mine and its even bigger glory hole.   Shay 113 was purchased in 1903 to work this branch.

The CPR surveyors had continued past the Motherlode mine, locating a line winding in and out of creek valleys and looping around the noses of ridges to Dan Corbin’s King Solomon mine.   This location was known as Copper Camp, at 4400 feet elevation, with the King Solomon and Enterprise as the major producing mines.   The line past Motherlode, however, was never graded or built.   Probably because the CPR demanded the mine owners pay for it, with reimbursement after a certain tonnage had been shipped.     Agreement was evidently never reached, and the end of track remained at Motherlode with the King Solomon and Enterprise ores coming down to that point on wagons.

From the Canadian Pacific’s point of view, the building of the Columbia and Western with its spurs and branches was more a defense against Jim Hill than a profitable investment.   They had spent an estimated 7 million dollars to put rails into the Boundary country from Robson West, and yet the mining companies had spent but 4 millions in their developments.   Worse, the startling news came that Jim Hill had bought the supposedly defunct charter of the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern and his surveyors were staking grades into the Boundary country and up into Phoenix itself.

The CPR built a further spur from the Eholt-Phoenix line to serve the Jackpot and Athelstan mines, and surveyed two more grades long the spine of the Midway range across the border to reach the City of Paris and No. 7 mines at White’s Camp, and the Washington and Lone Star at the head of Big Goosmus Creek in Washington.These two last branches were never built; again, the owners would not pay, and found they could build a 5-mile aerial cableway to transport their ore back across the border into Canada and down to a second Boundary Creek smelter being erected by the Dominion Copper Company.   It went into operation in 1901.   With three smelters competing against him for Boundary copper, Walter Aldridge was finding it difficult to obtain sufficient ore for his Trail smelter.   His Canadian Mining and Smelting Company was obliged to buy or lease producing mines to secure a dependable supply of smelter feed.

By 1902 the Granby smelter was operating at capacity, and still more ore was coming down from the huge Knob Hill and Old Ironsides pits.   Graves and Miner merged all their Companies into Granby Consolidated Mining, Smelting and Power Company, Ltd. and issued $15 million in stock.   $11 million went to the stockholders in the old syndicate; the rest was put on the market to raise funds for enlargement of the smelter, the installation of a converter to produce nearly pure copper, and for a hydroelectric plant at Cascade, on the Kettle River, to furnish additional power for the smelter and to electrify the mines at Phoenix.   This enormous capitalization looked suspicious to many.   No one knew how deep the Old Ironsides and Knob Hill ore bodies were.   Did they really have $15 million dollars worth of ore?   Neither Graves nor Miner could answer this question definitively.   Speculators wondered if Graves and Miner were preparing to sell out at this inflated value before the ore bottomed out.

For his part, Graves had a new scheme.   This minor real estate developer from Spokane was going to try to play the two hostile railroad barons against each other for his own interests.   Graves was never shy; he approached Thomas Shaughnessy,  President of the CPR, with a plan to keep Jim Hill out of Phoenix.   He proposed that Granby should continue to smelt its own ores in its own smelter.   But since there was more ore now coming out of the ground on the heights around Phoenix than the Granby smelter could handle, and the cost of transporting ores to Trail over McRae pass was uneconomic, the CPR could build a second Grand Forks smelter, a custom smelter to handle all the ores from the mines not owned by Granby, B.C. Copper, or Dominion.   These ores could not stand the shipping charges to Trail and were going begging for treatment.   If the CPR would build this custom smelter, Graves promised he would offer as security for loans to build it, 28 options he held on mines in both the Phoenix area and also down in Republic, Washington in the new Eureka Creek mines.   If the CPR accepted his offer, he would guarantee them the haul from all these mines to the custom smelter as well as the Granby haul to its smelter.   Graves estimated revenue from these hauls to be $800,000 per year.   It was not unreasonable; CPR was already getting $380,000 a year from its haul to the Granby smelter alone.   It was a clever scheme; by using the capacity of a second Grand Forks smelter to contract for all the Boundary ores offered, nothing at all would be left for Jim Hill to haul.   He might run his rails up to Phoenix if he wished, but when he got them there, there would be nothing to load into his cars.

If the impetuous Van Horne had still been in charge, he might well have agreed.   But the cautious, conservative Shaugnessy was now President.   He sought advice from Walter Aldridge.   Aldridge told him the Boundary mines were overrated, that they were shallow deposits that would soon play out, that Graves could not demonstrate proven reserves of ore.   Shaugnessy turned down Graves’ offer.   As it turned out, this was a spectacular mistake.   Copper prices would soar during World War I making even the poorest Phoenix ores profitable.

Undismayed, Graves turned around and sounded out Jim Hill.   His new scheme, which he put to Hill, was nothing less than a proposal that the two of them should buy Granby outright.   He asked Jim Hill for a loan of $2 million to buy 500,000 shares of Granby at $4.   With the 150,000 shares he owned or controlled through relatives and employees that would give Hill and himself control. With control of Granby, Hill, when his rails reached Phoenix, could then take all of the Granby traffic and the CPR would be starved of ore.   After promising funds, Hill had second thoughts.   His suspicious nature which George Stephen had played upon so successfully, asserted itself.     He could not bring himself to participate in another man’s scheme.   When Graves got to Montreal to make his stock purchases, there was no money waiting for him.   He found the Granby directors ready to sell, as he had predicted to Hill.   They thought the future for copper was speculative, and wanted to get out while the stock price was favorable.   They were selling, however, to William H. Nichols, a New York copper refiner.   Frantic letters to Hill produced no result. Graves’ scheme was slipping away from him.   When the other directors, unaware of Graves’ intentions, invited him to go along with them and sell to Nichols, he had to agree.   Hill eventually sent him a stingy $25,000 in New York in case Nichols should change his mind, but it was too late.   Nichols and his New York associates had bought Granby outright.

One has to wonder at the eagerness of the Canadian stockholders to sell out to the Americans when it had been appeals to their patriotism that had brought them into Granby in the first place.   Emotionalism is probably much more a factor in business than most will admit. In 1902 Jim Hill’s men crossed the border into Canada at Cascade and began grading toward Grand Forks.   There they were halted by an injunction obtained from the court by one of the most preposterous railroads ever to run a train, Tracy Holland’s “Hot Air Line.”   Jim Hill had encountered his newest and most pestiferous adversary.

 

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

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STEEP AND CROOKED: THE MINING RAILROADS OF THE CANADIAN BORDER

 By Bill Laux

CHAPTER EIGHT

A CLASH OF CAPTAINS:

HILL, VAN HORNE, AND “THE ASSOCIATES”

James Jerome Hill, of St Paul, Minnesota and the Great Northern Railway, was at home on both sides of the border, and saw no reason why his railroads should not be as well.   In 1870, as a Canadian living in St Paul, he was asked by Canadian Parliamentary Secretary, Joseph Howe, to travel north to Fort Gary (near present Winnipeg) to report on the Riel Rebellion.   So isolated was the Manitoba territory from the rest of Canada by the trackless 800 miles of rocky wilderness north of Lake Superior, that St Paul was the nearest source of information, and the place through which travel to that remote region passed.

Hill traveled in March of that year by railroad, stagecoach and, dog sled over the snows.   On the trail  with his dogs, he encountered Donald Smith, of the Hudson’s Bay Company, returning from his own investigation of the rebellion.   Their campfire talk led them to agree that the Red River Valley, as both prime agricultural land, and as the surest route from St Paul to Fort Gary,. Manitoba, and the Canadian West, would some day support a very profitable railway.

In the following years Hill enlisted the support of Donald Smith and his equally wealthy cousin, George Stephen, of the Bank of Montreal, in getting control of the steamboat business on the Red River, the route to Winnipeg.   Their syndicate, “George Stephens and  Associates,” comprised Stephen and Smith, as the financiers, Norman Kittson, The Hudson’s Bay Company’s Minnesota agent,  operating the steamboat line, and Hill, their St Paul freight forwarder.    Once in control of steam navigation on the Red River, the Associates then went after the bankrupt  St Paul and Pacific Railroad which they intended to complete to the Red River and a connection with Kittson’s steamboats.

  It was the mephistophelean George Stephen who devised a way to buy the incomplete and bankrupt St Paul and Pacific Railroad from its Dutch bondholders with their own money.   The Dutchmen had invested $11 million in the railway to get its valuable land grant, and so far had received neither land nor a penny of interest.   George Stephen offered to take their bonds in exchange for bonds in a new railway company which the Associates would form.    The Associates were gambling that J.J., Hill could complete the railroad before the deadline, eight months away, and earn for them the huge land grant that went with it.    

  The new company’s worth, in five equal shares, was divided among Stephen, Smith, Hill and Kittson.     The concealed fifth share was kept by George Stephen who passed it clandestinely to New York banker J. S. Kennedy who had been the Dutchmen’s representative and who had, somewhat unethically,  persuaded them to accept  Stephen’s offer.   Stephen became president of the Associates’ new company, Smith became vice-president and Hill, the man on the ground, General Manager.  When the original bonds received from the Dutchmen could not pay their interest, the Associates foreclosed, and became instant owners of the bankrupt railway.    It was an extraordinary bargain; the Associates had put up but  $280,000 to acquire a railroad with assets of 11 million.    At once, Hill, with tremendous energy, pushed the railway to the Red River within the deadline, and the land grant was handed over.    Sale of those lands brought the Associates $13 million over the years, but more importantly, they now had a railway to the Red River and the exclusive steamboat transportation along its waters to Winnipeg.     The Associates, with this one coup, now controlled absolutely Canada’s only land transportation to its west.

The Associates renamed their railroad the St Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba and capitalized it at $15 million.   The railroad and the steamboat company became  instantly profitable.   Stock was quickly bought up by the public and the proceeds were used  to pay off the construction debt. 

Through another of George Stephen’s manipulations, the Associates were able to buy back $11 million of the bonds they had given the Dutchmen for $1 million.    Hill, on Stephen’s instructions, refused to redeem the interest coupons on the bonds with the railway grant lands, alleging that the Dutchmen had violated the terms of the bond exchange agreement.   The bamboozled Dutchmen, who were primarily interested in land, sold out in disgust.  

The new Canadian government had been seeking a way to build the transcontinental railway which it had promised British Columbia and the rest of Canada from its inception.   The only syndicate sufficiently strong to undertake such a project was The Associates with George Stephen in charge.     

The Canadian government courted George Stephen.    But Stephen was wary.     Hill and Angus (of the bank of Montreal) pointed out to him that if some hostile syndicate, such as the NP or the Milwaukee built the Canadian transcontinental, their St P M &M would lose its international value and become but one more prairie granger line.   If George Stephen accepted the offer of substantial land grants and a cash subsidy the Canadian government was offering, Hill and Angus promised, they  would build the line.     Hill, Angus and Stephen at that time saw the Canadian transcontinental as a valuable feeder line to the St Paul and Manitoba and felt its only rational route would be to dip into the U.S. at Sault Ste Marie and run via their SPM&M to Canada at Emerson.    It would be madness, Hill thought to build a railroad across the Canadian Shield where no one lived and no agricultural land existed.  Thus, from its inception, The Canadian Pacific Railway was paradoxically conceived by its builders and owners as an international extension of their American railroad.     

George Stephen was more than naive in taking on the building of the Canadian Pacific.  As with the St Paul and Pacific, he would find the financing,  J.J. Hill would build the line, and they would all profit from the truly enormous land grant to be earned, in this case, 25 million acres.   But  the St Paul and Pacific had required but 87 miles of line to complete.   This time the distance  was 1900 miles, over unknown territory, and through two mountain ranges where no railroad passes had yet been  located.    George Stephen was able to wring concessions from the Canadian government: a monopoly on all rail transportation west from Winnipeg, and a further guarantee that the builders would own and run CPR forever.   With these, Stephen thought the thing could be done for $45 million, of which the Government would advance half.    It was an enormous and nearly disastrous underestimate.

Hill built the Associates’  SPM&M to the Canadian border at Emerson.   The Canadian Pacific built from there to Winnipeg.   George Stephen named J.J. Hill managing director of the CPR, and Hill moved to Winnipeg to direct the building of the line west to the Pacific.  He discovered at once that the CPR was a swamp of confusion, ineptitude, and graft.   In its first year,1881, it had spent $10 million and only built 130 miles of track.   The chief looters were former Confederate General, Thomas Lafayette Rossiter, and his superior, Alpheas B. Stickney, who later would become president of the Chicago Great Western.  The pair  were working an outrageous scam, selling privileged information as to the line’s location to land speculators.   The speculators could then buy up raw prairie land for $1.25 and acre and sell it as track-side locations a month later, for 50 times that amount.    Hill still had the Mantoba road to run; he desperately needed a supremely tough superintendent to clean out the deadwood and grafters in the CPR, and to drive its grading crews ahead at top speed.    

The man he hired was William Cornelius Van Horne, a hard-driving American whom he had met when Van Horne was resurrecting the Southern Minnesota line out of La Cross, Wisconsin.   Van Horne was exactly Jim Hill’s kind of man, one who eagerly sought every possible responsibility, and when given it, produced solid results.   Hill first offered Van Horne the presidency of his own St Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba railroad.    When Van Horne laughed in his face at the proposal, Jim Hill knew that here was a man with enough self-confidence to take over the chaotic CPR whose current managers were more interested in organizing pheasant hunts and champagne parties than building track.   

Van Horne accepted, and brought along with him from the Milwaukee, Thomas Shaugnessy, to act as his purchasing agent.   The team of Van Horne and Shaugnessy, the blustering, belligerent “Terror of Flat Crib,” and the suave, meticulous Chief Clerk ingeniously stalling every creditor of the nearly insolvent line with exquisitely polite requests for more detailed invoices, completed the Canadian Pacific and successively held its presidency until 1918.

Van Horne at once took the CPR by its ears and shook it thoroughly, earning his title, “The Terror of Flat Crick.”    Van Horne’s arrival at any of the hundreds of end-of -track camps was described by R.K. Kernighan,

  “…when manager  Van Horne comes to town there is a shaking of bones… He is the Terror of Flat Crick… they are as frightened of him as they are of the old Nick himself.

“Yet Van Horne is calm and harmless looking.   So is a mule and so is a buzz saw.   You don’t know their inwardness till you go up and get the feel of them.   To see Van Horne get out of his car and go softly up the platform, you might think he was an evangelist on his way to preach temperance to the Mounted Police.   

“But you are soon undeceived.    If you are within hearing distance you will have more fun than you ever had in your life before.   He cuffs the first official he comes to just to get his hand in and leads the next one by the ear, and pointing eastward informs him that the walking is good as far as St  Paul.   To see the rest hunt their holes and commence scribbling for dear life is a terror.

“Van Horne wants to know.   He is that kind of man.   He wants to know why this was not done and why this was done. If the answers are not satisfactory there is a dark and bloody tragedy enacted right there.   During each act the all the characters are killed off and in the last scene the heavy villain is filled with dynamite, struck with a hammer, and by the time he has knocked a hole plumb through the sky, and the smoke has cleared away, Van Horne has discharged all the officials and hired them over at lower figures.”   

Hill was at first pleased with his choice; he had both found the man to terrorize  the CPR into order, and also very cleverly removed a dangerous rival from the competing Milwaukee Road which was by then invading what Hill considered  St Paul and Manitoba Road territory.

  Hill’s pleasure was not to last long.   As 1882 began, Van Horne had boasted that he would lay 500 miles of track that year, an unheard-of feat.  Moreover, he had ordered in advance, every tie, bridge timber, rail and keg of spikes for 500 miles of railroad.   His orders, filling 500 rail cars, choked Hill’s St Paul yards.  The Manitoba found itself unable to move its trains until Van Horne’s cars were removed.    Hill threatened to have his own men dump the cars where they stood.   Van Horne, choosing his own time, eventually sent his own men down to offload the cars and permit Mr. Hill to run his railroad.   But by the end of the year, Van Horne had laid an astonishing  548 miles of track, a record never bettered. 

Hill constantly complained to Van Horne that he was not sufficiently concerned

for the well-being of the Manitoba Road, for in Hill’s mind the Canadian Pacific was to make the Manitoba Road thrive.   But Van Horne had no intention of being the Associates’ pawn.    Almost from the beginning he became a thorough CPR man.   When the Canadian Pacific completed its line east from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, George Stephen promised a worried J.J. Hill that it would not be opened for another year so that their Manitoba Road would have all the haulage of CPR materials.   Van Horne, however, instructed his traffic officials to bring in materials via the Great Lakes and the Thunder Bay route, a considerable cost saving, but cutting the Manitoba line out of the traffic.     Hill protested Van Horne’s attitude, “…there is I know a feeling…of ill concealed hostility toward this company.” J.J. Hill had picked the one man thick-skinned enough to see the CPR through to the Pacific.   But he had failed to realize that  Van Horne was a man just like himself, stubborn, headstrong and supremely ambitious.   It was inevitable they would clash.    As well, Hill failed utterly to take into consideration that the Canadian Government, which was subsidizing the CPR construction by loans and grants,  would absolutely insist on an “All Canadian” route to the north of Lake Superior.    No matter that it made no economic sense, that it would not furnish a single carload of freight.  Canadian nationalism demanded it.    Canadian taxpayers would never permit their government to subsidize a railway through the United States. 

George Stephen and Associates were not going to be able to construct the Canadian Pacific as an extension of the St Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba;  they were going to have to build an “All Canadian” route or forfeit government support.   Hill, his advice ignored, his protests unheeded, found his position on the Canadian Pacific board untenable.   He angrily resigned his position on May 3, 1883, and began selling his CAP stock.   In a note to Kennedy, the clandestine fifth Associate, on the following day,  Hill explained, “Mr. Van Horne… is inclined to take the view that the St Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba are powerless to help themselves and must simply accept any situation that may be assigned to it by the Can Pac.”

Van Horne, seeing the CPR in a  wider perspective than J.J. Hill, realized that his line could never fulfill the destiny he saw for it as long as it operated as a feeder to the St Paul and Manitoba.   In an act that would render Hill an enemy forever, he declared the CPR’s independence by signing a preferential traffic agreement with the Northern Pacific, rather than with the Manitoba Road.  When  Hill discovered this, he sold his final 10,000 shares in the CPR in utter disgust, and became Van Horne’s implacable foe.    “I’ll get even with him if  I have to go to hell for it and shovel coal!”  Hill swore.

The position of George Stephen in all this is curious.   He was president of both the Canadian Pacific and of the St Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba, now rival lines.   Van Horne’s disregard of Hill’s interests had to have the President’s sanction, yet Hill, mesmerized by the aristocratic presence of George Stephen, never blamed him for the rift.   

Stephen’s manipulations continued.   In 1886, with the Canadian Pacific completed, George Stephen and Donald Smith secretly bought control of the Minneapolis, St Paul and Salt Sate Marie (the So line), railroad, a line charted by Minneapolis millers to bring wheat from the Dakota prairies to the Minneapolis mills and carry their flour to the year round port of Salt Sate, Marie.   This line, a rival to both the CPR and the Manitoba Road, had been looked at by both Hill and Van Horne and rejected as  weak line, unfinished and no threat.   However, Stephen and Smith put $750,000 into it to complete it.   Once finished, they intended to sell it to either the CPR or to Hill, whichever would bid highest for it.   Hill discovered that the money had come from the bank of Montreal, and queried Stephen as to who was involved.   Stephen mendaciously denied that he or Smith had advanced the money.    With Hill still in the dark, Smith and Stephen went bargain hunting again, and bought the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic, another line running from Duluth to Salt Sate Marie.   Their purpose was the same, to sell it to either the Manitoba or the CPR.    Hill began a savage rate war with both lines in an effort to drive them into bankruptcy.   But from some unknown source, money kept being poured into these competitors.   Eventually, Stephen had to confess to Hill that he and Donald Smith were behind the rival lines.   Hill then questioned Stephen’s anomalous position as President of both the CPR and the Manitoba.   In 1888 George Stephen sold the So line to the Canadian Pacific and resigned as CPR president.  His place was taken by Van Horne who began to pour money into the So, as a “defense” against the Manitoba line.

Hill responded with a campaign against the CPR, delaying his passenger trains so that travelers would not make their connections at Winnipeg, and on one pretext or another, blocking freight cars a the border, tying up the CPR line.

The anxiety Hill felt about the So line which paralleled the Manitoba on the south was doubled when in 1893, Van Horne bought the Duluth and Winnipeg for the CPR, a line, that would when completed,  parallel the Manitoba on the north.   This put Hill in vice, and Van Horne, it seemed to him, was twisting the handle.    For, if  Van Horne could complete the Duluth and Winnipeg north to the border, the CPR, using D&W and So tracks would have its own line into St Paul and connections to the Chicago roads.  Hill had to have the Duluth and Winnipeg, or he would be squeezed out of  the Canadian traffic.    Realizing at last that  the CPR was now never going to use his Manitoba road as an American connection, he changed the name of the St Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba to the Great Northern, and encouraged by George Stephen, struck out for the Pacific Coast on his own. 

George Stephen had no intention of letting Van Horne destroy the Great Northern, which he could have done with the So and D&W.     Stephen now  began a treacherous campaign to get rid of Van Horne.   In 1897 he forced Van Horne out of the Presidency of the CPR, took over himself,and sold the D&W to Hill.   

George Stephen’s ambiguous position as President of the CPR from 1880 to 1888, and Chairman of the Board of the Manitoba Road from 1878 to 1886 gave him almost unlimited power to play with both lines for his own profit.   He played the deluded combatants,  Hill and Van Horne, shamelessly against each other, sliding adroitly from one camp to the other in his letters  to them.   Here he is to Van Horne on J.J. Hill,

“…he is the most ‘shame faced’ grown man I ever met, more like a very shy boy of 10 or 12 years than a full-grown man of 50.

“In dealing with him it is necessary to keep his odd ways in mind & to treat him rather as a spoilt child brimful of ridiculous suspicions of everybody he comes in contact with.”

Here he is to Thomas Shaugnessy on William Van Horne,

“It is quite evident that Sir William, either from failing health or from allowing other things to occupy his mind, is no longer able to give the affairs of the Company his undivided attention…  His actions gave me the impression that he felt like a man who knew he was in a mess and had not the usual courage to look his position in the face.”

Manipulated by the Machiavellian Stephen, the two former farm boys, Hill and Van Horne charged at one another like maddened bulls, creating a bitterly hostile relationship between the Great Northern and the CPR which was to last for their lifetimes.   Hill seems to have conceived the idea that by invading the CPR’s British Columbia territory with his profitless lines, he could trade them to the CPR for its So Lines in the U.S.   He made the offer in 1897 and was refused.   Rebuffed, he continued to build Canadian lines.   When, in 1906, the CPR acquired Dan Corbin’s Spokane International and trackage rights with the UP to Portland, Hill responded  with a threat to build a new Canadian transcontinental which would run from Winnipeg through Brandon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and the Peace River country.   

Near the end of his life, with his “Third Main Line” (the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern route) in its final stages of construction, Hill made one more move to confound the CPR in British Columbia.   He conferred with the builders of the Grand Trunk Pacific who were building a  second Canadian transcontinental on the Edmonton to Prince Rupert route, about extending a link northward from his VV&E to link up with both the GTP and the Canadian Northern.  This link, if built, would have enmeshed the CPR in British Columbia, in a choking web of Hill lines. 

Hill died in 1916, but in his last years the GN board withdrew support for any further construction in Canada.    The defeat  of the Liberals killed the Free Trade policy which Hill has supported and counted on.    Without  Free Trade, the GN would always be at a disadvantage in Canada.   Hill’s son, Louis, taking over the Great Northern in his father’s last years, immediately stopped work on the VV&E and negotiated a joint trackage agreement with the CPR for that route.    It was never used.   Louis Hill and his successors began a slow withdrawal of the profitless GN lines from B.C.   Today only a hundred miles of ex-GN track remain in B.C., the steep and crooked line from the border to Nelson, the 12 mile arc into the Kettle Valley on the Republic line, and the route from the border at Blaine to the Vancouver terminal.

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

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train

STEEP AND CROOKED: THE MINING RAILROADS OF THE CANADIAN BORDER

 By Bill Laux

CHAPTER FOUR

THE RED MOUNTAIN RAILWAY

1896 – 1922

Daniel Corbin’s Columbia and Red Mountain Railway was chartered to run from Northport to the Canadian border at Frontier. A Canadian charter covered the rest of the line from Patterson, on the Canadian side of the border, to Rossland under the title, Red Mountain Railway. The line was operated by Corbin, and later by the Great Northern, as a branch of the Spokane Falls and Northern. Red Mountain mileage are figured from the Northport station, which adds .6 miles to the actual distance, since trains departing from Northport had to back .6 miles to the junction, south of town. There, taking the switch, the trains climbed out on a long trestle approach to the Columbia bridge.

The construction of the great, six span Columbia bridge delayed completion of the line. To get a share of the Rossland ore traffic, Dan Corbin began operations before the bridge was complete. For the first six months, from December, 1896, the trains were run down a steep track from the Northport station to the water’s edge and a reaction ferry. There, the cars would be ferried across, two or three at a time. On the right bank the cars were hauled off the ferry and up a steep track to the permanent line near the southeast end of the present Lowry landing strip. A curving section of macadam pavement from the present gravel river road, leads to the original ferry landing which was also used briefly for an auto ferry in 1947 after the bridge collapsed.

Coming off the west end of the bridge, the Columbia and Red Mountain grade climbed on a 2-1/2 percent grade across the delta of Big Sheep Creek . A mile and a half (2.4 km) from the river it entered Big Sheep Creek canyon on its west wall, opposite the St Crispen mine. The tracks clung to a narrow ledge, sometimes 100 feet above the water, and passed above Sheep Creek Falls at mile 3 (km 4.8). A half mile (.8 km) farther upstream, Upper Sheep Creek Falls poured through a narrow cleft in the rocks. Here at the falls, the line crossed the creek on a single Howe truss span, 75 feet above the tumbling water. This was a favorite spot for photographers, the train pausing while they exposed their glass plates.

On the left (east) bank of the creek the grade steepened to 3 percent, and the line crawled out of the dark canyon to enter the valley of the tributary, Little Sheep Creek, at mile 6 (km. 9.6). At Velvet, mile 7(km. 11.2), a water tank was built and a siding laid out to receive ore from Olaus Jeldness’ Velvet mine. A wagon road led from the siding up Big Sheep Creek to Jeldness’ mine, across the border in British Columbia.

At the border, mile 8 (km. 12.8), the Great Republic and the Double Standard mines were developing ore on the slopes just above the track. Their waste dumps can be seen today, immediately south of the U.S. Border Station. On the Canadian side, at mile 8.4 (km. 13.4), was Patterson, with a depot and a 26 car siding for customs inspection. Ahead the valley steepened, so engineer Roberts had to swing his grade in a wide loop to the east to gain enough elevation to reenter Little Sheep Creek canyon at Silica, mile 13 (km.20.8). The OK mine, just beyond Silica, had ore ready to ship when the rails arrived. Here, for a short time, a transfer station existed where Rossland freight and Le Roi ore, coming down the wagon road, could be put on the cars while the slow work of blasting a grade through the granite bluffs ahead proceeded. Back of Silica, quarries were opened in a quartz deposit, and the product shipped as flux to the smelters at Trail and Northport.

In 1898, the imposingly named British Columbia Bullion Extraction Company built a large mill stepping down the slope from the Red Mountain rails north of Silica to Little Sheep Creek. Its developers planned to use the power from the West Kootenay Power and Light Company’s lines which crossed the canyon at this point, to extract gold from the Rossland ores by a patented electrochemical process. This was just one of the “secret gold saving devices” being hawked to naive investors. All promised to recover the gold and silver the smelters were allegedly “losing.” Like most “secret processes,” the B.C. Bullion Company’s process was not commercially successful, and the great mill was eventually closed.1

Past Silica, at mile 13.5 (km. 21.6), the line crossed the canyon to the west wall on a high, 21 bent trestle at the Midnight mine. The grade, even at 3 percent, could not stay above the even steeper grade of the creek, and Roberts was obliged to reversed it on a 22 degree loop over Little Sheep Creek to ascend the east wall of the canyon. Just above the stream-spanning trestle at the Midnight mine, the line crawled out on another high, curving trestle of 26 bents to loop around a handy granite knob and head upstream again. From here a ledge to carry the rails had to be blasted out of the sheer granite wall of Deer Park Mountain. This ledge brought the rails around the nose of the mountain and into the shallow pass leading to Trail Creek and Rossland.

With the extensive blasting and rock-work, the track layers did not get into Rossland until December, 1896. A box car was set off at mile 17 (km. 27.2) as a temporary station from which the first passenger train departed on the 19th. In the pass, two spurs were run into General Warren’s White Bear mine and mill. Warren could now ship his lower grade ores which he had been stockpiling, awaiting the railroad. Originally, Corbin planned to have the White Bear spur extended around to the east slope of Deer park Mountain and the “South Belt” of the Rossland mines. But with the Trail Creek Tramway already in place, and serving those mines, this line was never built.

Across the flat from the White Bear was the Black Bear mine. Sidings, loading tracks and a wye were laid here. The Le Roi was high above the Black Bear, but the workings were interconnected, and Le Roi ores could come out through the Black Bear tunnel. From the wye at the Black Bear, the track was run diagonally northeast through the upper part of Rossland with a spur to the Nickel Plate mine and a trestle across Centre Star (Acme) Gulch ( the two railroads could not agree on a name). A station was built on the flat at Spokane Street and Third Avenue. The track continued northeast to the Great Western mine at the top of St Paul Street. A water tank was put up here and a short spur served the town wood lot. As the Trail Creek Tramway (Columbia & Western) was still narrow gauge, no connection could be made. Freight had to be transferred by hand and dray wagon from one railway to the other.

Down at Northport the great Columbia bridge was built at the south end of town. Its east approach climbed on a long trestle to carry the line to the height required to clear steamers on the river at high water. The bridge was of composite construction, two 3/4 inch iron plates bolted between three 4 x 16 inch wood timbers. The iron carried the tension loads, the wood the compression loads. The bridge was 1200 feet long, six Howe truss spans, supported on iron cylinder piers filled with rocks and concrete. The cylindrical filling of these piers lies on the beach today, the iron casings having been sold as salvage. During construction the high water of spring, 1897, swept away some of the false work, and completion was delayed until October, 1897. At its west end, the track was carried off the bridge by a short trestle to the top of a gravel bench where several summer homes are now located.1

During the eleven months while bridge was under construction,the small reaction ferry carried locomotives, and freight and passenger cars across the river. The ferry was slung from an overhead 1-1/2 inch steel cable, 1500 feet long, that was made fast to wooden towers on each side of the river. Cables, from bow and stern ran up to a sliding sheave on the overhead line. By slacking or tightening these cables with a hand winch, the hull of the ferry would assume an angle to the current, and the fast running water would push the vessel across the river. Rail traffic on this ferry began on September 3, 1896.1

The Red Mountain Railway owned one locomotive, possibly two. No. 9, the engine most often seen on the line, was a powerful Baldwin 2-8-0 of 1896, with 19 x 24 inch cylinders and 47 inch drivers. It weighed 56 tons and was able to exert 26,000 pounds of pull. After the Great Northern takeover, it was classified GN Class F-4, and renumbered 1094. In 1925 the GN sold it to the McGoldrick Lumber Company of Pe Ell, Washington, and it disappears from the record.

In addition to No. 9, one passenger coach and twenty box cars were lettered for the Red Mountain Railway. All other locomotives and cars were leased from the parent Spokane Falls and Northern. To judge from early photos, SF&N 4-4-0 No.7 frequently worked passenger traffic on the line. No. 7 was the SF&N’s fastest engine. It was an 1883 Baldwin machine with 63 inch drivers, 18 x 24 inch cylinders, and was capable of 14,000 pounds of pull. 2

With the Red Mountain boom in full flower in 1900, the wealthy mine owners persuaded the Great Northern to put on a first class sleeping car service to Spokane.

The train left Rossland at 11:00 PM, just after the CPR train from Grand Forks and Robson West arrived at the CPR station a block away, down Second Avenue. The sleepers got into Spokane at 6:00 AM. Travelers had a full day for business, and an evening for recreation. They could then board the departing sleepers for Rossland at 1:00 AM, and arrive at the mountaintop city at 7:00 AM, jut in time to catch the departing CPR train for Trail, Robson West, Grand Forks and Greenwood. The extra fare for the sleeping car berths was $1.50, and, at the request of the passengers, speed was slowed to ten miles per hour over the rougher sections of track so that travelers did not need to be strapped into their beds.

James J. Hill bought the Spokane Falls and Northern Railway with its Red Mountain subsidiary in 1898, and dismissed Daniel Corbin. In 1907 Hill folded the SF&N, the N&FS,and the RMR into the Great Northern, with all equipment renumbered and re-lettered for the GN. D. C. Corbin went on to build another railroad with CPR financing, the Spokane International, to give the Canadian Pacific an entry into Spokane.

By 1909, the majority of Red Mountain mines had passed into Canadian/British ownership, and ore traffic to the Northport smelter was dwindling. It sought ore from Phoenix, B.C. and from Republic, Washington to make up the shortfall, bu it was not enough. With six smelters operating in the great Boundary-Kootenay boom before WWI, competition was vigorous. But at the end of the war metal prices slumped and in 1921 it was closed. As Rossland and its mines gradually became more and more Canadian, the important and bibulous comings and goings of the Yankee Colonels and the Canadian Honourables ceased, and the night train was withdrawn. Still, the families and ordinary working residents of Rossland and Trail took the day train to Spokane on regular shopping trips. Until the completion of the Kettle Valley Railway in 1916, linking the Kootenays with Vancouver, Spokane continued secure as the metropolis of the Kootenay – Boundary country.

After the Great Northern’s takeover of the SF&N with its Red Mountain branch, GN Class D-5, No. 471, a Brooks Mogul of 1896, usually handled the passenger run. F-4, No 1094 (ex RMR No. 9) which was the heaviest locomotive permitted on the increasingly shaky trestle loops, continued to take the freight runs, often with a snowplow on its pilot.1 Traffic up to Rossland included coal from Jim Hill’s Crowsnest Pass mines, coke from Michel, and limestone flux from the Evans quarry south of Northport for the Trail smelter.

In 1897 the morning freight of fifteen cars, leaving Rossland for Northport, derailed two of the cars on the trestle at the OK/Midnight mines. Luckily the cars did not fall off the trestle and a crew of men unloaded the heavy ore with shovels enabling the cars to be re-railed again.

After the Trail Creek Tramway (C&W) was standard gauged by the CPR in 1898, the lack of a physical connection between the two lines in Rossland was frustrating for the local population. Although the two stations were just a block apart, the unremitting hostility between Jim Hill of the GN and Shaughnessy of the CPR, prevented any joining of the tracks until the Rossland business community and mine managers forcibly agitated for one. The CPR did not want a connection that would permit mines on its rails to ship their ore out via the GN. And, the GN, of course, had identical considerations. Finally, after persistent public outcry, the two corporations gave in, and a single line of track was laid down Third Avenue from one station to the other. When the Northport smelter got contracts from some of the mines along the CPR “Highline, ” the GN laid a pair of switchbacks up from present Jubilee Park to connect with the CPR line on Mc Leod Avenue. Ore then came down the connecting switchbacks, avoiding the passenger stations.

Corbin’s Red Mountain line had cost him half a million dollars to build, a quarter of which went for the big Columbia bridge. When the Northport smelter went into operation on January 1, 1898, more and more of the ore traffic began to move out via Corbin’s line, attracted by J.J. Hill’s lower freight rates. High grade ore could be contracted to the smelters at Butte, and at Everett and Tacoma as well, and moved on GN rails. With horses and mules rawhiding the ore down the snowy trails in 1894, the mines had shipped 2000 tons. In the following year, with the wagon roads open, they shipped 19,600 tons. With the Tramway open for just half of 1896, 38,000 tons went down to the smelter. When both railroads were operating in 1897, 60,000 tons went out. The next year, shipments soared to 111,000 tons.

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