Henry B. Smith laid out the Columbia Heights Addition to Trail in 1897. (Courtesy Regional District of Central Kootenay)

Henry B. Smith laid out the Columbia Heights Addition to Trail in 1897. (Courtesy Regional District of Central Kootenay)

PLACE NAMES: Columbia Heights

What was originally Columbia Heights became West Trail but then reverted back to Columbia Heights

A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

Trail has at least nine distinct residential neighbourhoods, plus a few bedroom communities outside city limits. One of the oldest is West Trail, also known as Columbia Heights. Richard T. Daniel and Eugene Topping teamed up to buy benchlands on Lookout Mountain in 1896 and the following year hired Henry B. Smith to lay out lots and streets, which included Green Avenue plus Ash, Ravine, Short, Diamond, Maple, Topping, Daniel, Oak, and Mill streets (the latter is now part of Riverside Avenue).

Topping also owned mines on Lookout Mountain, whose failure forced him to give up many lots for unpaid taxes. An ad for the real estate firm of McQuarrie and Robertson in Opportunities magazine in August 1912 stated: “[O]wing to one of the owners getting into liquidation the property was tied up and not offered for sale. We have now straightened out the title.”

The name Columbia Heights was used regularly through the 1910s, but for some reason faded by the mid-1920s, replaced with West Trail. But it made a comeback starting in the mid-2000s, popping up in real estate ads, when Trail’s cheap house prices began to make national headlines.

When Chris Moorhead ran for city council in 2002, he declared he lived in Columbia Heights, which he felt had a “different connotation” than West Trail. Once elected, he and fellow councillor Gord DeRosa championed a resolution to officially rename the area from Daniel and Topping streets through to Reservoir Road as Columbia Heights.

But the late Ken Dimock was puzzled. “I was born and raised on Topping Street and as far as I am concerned it is still Columbia Heights,” he wrote in a letter to the Trail Times. “West Trail was and still is the Gulch. The Lookout area may have been referred to as Central because everyone on the west side of the river went to Central school.

“Was Columbia Heights ever changed? I don’t think so. My feeling is that the name was dropped when new realtors came to town and figured everything on the east side of the river was East Trail, therefore everything on the west side must be West Trail. Well, not so. Our family was gone from Topping Street about 1964 and at that time it was still Columbia Heights.”

Today’s Tourism Trail map shows Columbia Heights as to the east of Rossland Avenue and West Trail to the west, although the exact dividing line is not clear. Curiously, the map doesn’t show the Gulch at all. Google Maps shows West Trail, but no Columbia Heights or Gulch.

Is West Trail really synonymous with the Gulch, as Dimock had it? Or is the Gulch part of West Trail? Or are they completely separate?

And is the Gulch merely Rossland Avenue or more than that? It certainly includes Bell Place, 2nd Street, Railway Lane, and Old Rossland Avenue. It used to include Byers Lane and 1st St. (obliterated to create a truck chain-up area) and the former Ceccanti Street, close to where the bocce pits are.

It probably includes Lerose Street, White Street, Perdue Street, and at least portions of Binns St. and Glover Road. But does it go further up the hillside to Esling, Kitchener, Coleman, Buckna, Martin, and Hendry streets and Austad Lane? Or is this part of Columbia Heights/West Trail?

Part of this area was formerly known as Glover’s Bench, after Frank Glover (1884-1966), who built a road up the side of the hill. The Glovers had a dairy farm and orchard on Lot 6066, for which Frank obtained a Crown grant on Nov. 10, 1904. The family home was at 404 Austad Lane.

We’ve previously looked in this series at the Gulch, which started out in 1896 as Dublin Gulch, a name imported from the former smelter town of Butte, Montana. After 1902, the Dublin was dropped and it was just the Gulch — which made some sense, since the Gulch was predominantly an Italian neighbourhood, not Irish.

The earliest example without the Dublin is in the Vancouver Daily World of May 14, 1901: “The people who live in the ‘gulch’ property do not feel justified in making substantial improvements, as the question of title is still in abeyance … There has never been a proper survey made of this property.”

The following year, surveyor J.D. Anderson solved that problem.

We’ll look at more Trail neighbourhood names next week.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Henry B. Smith laid out the Columbia Heights Addition to Trail in 1897. (Courtesy Regional District of Central Kootenay)

Henry B. Smith laid out the Columbia Heights Addition to Trail in 1897. (Courtesy Regional District of Central Kootenay)

Just Posted

Teacher Casey Stowe and Principal Wendy Cutler from Twin Rivers Elementary with the donation. Photo: submitted
Castlegar school receives $2000 donation

Twin Rivers Elementary School will use the donation to enhance the school community.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

Black bear feasting on mountain ash berries, a natural food source in the fall in the Castlegar area. Photo: submitted
Castlegar WildSafe received 144 reports of black bears this season

Submitted by WildSafeBC Castlegar A few bears continue to make a lasting… Continue reading

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Fruitvale woman charged with impaired driving in 2019 crash that killed 2 teens

A 15-year-old boy and 18-year-old woman, both from Fruitvale, died in the crash that sent the vehicle into the river

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Most Read