The Grand Forks Station Pub and Columbia Grill is in the former CPR station, the only surviving building from the former city of Columbia. Greg Nesteroff photo

PLACE NAMES: Grand Forks neighbourhoods, Part 1

Manlys and Ruckles key to Grand Forks townsite

A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

The original Grand Forks townsite, surveyed for John Manly in 1895, was fairly compact: the east-west streets were Water (now Kettle River Drive between 5th and 7th streets), Main (now 72nd Avenue), Bridge (Market Avenue), Winnipeg (Central, or Highway 3), Victoria (75th Avenue), and Spokane (73rd Avenue). The north-south streets were Riverside Avenue (which survives) and First through Sixth (since renumbered Second through Seventh).

Later an addition to the west added Observation (today’s 8th), Cambridge (9th), Oxford (10th), and Miner (10th) streets.

At least two dozen additions expanded the fledgling city in every direction, although not all had names and not all were actually added to city limits.

• Ruckle’s Addition: Surveyed by Frederic Wollaston in 1897 on a farm across the Kettle River southeast of the original townsite. It belonged to brothers Charles (1861-1938), Edward (1863-1913), and Francis (1870-1957) Ruckle, who pre-empted 640 acres in late 1891.

The river ran through one corner of their property, isolating 67 acres on the other side. Somehow the latter portion was not included in their Crown grant, and was sold from beneath them to a Mrs. G.L. Davey for $1 per acre and turned into town lots. The matter led to litigation and became a major embarrassment for the provincial lands department.

It took until 1970 for part of Ruckle to join city limits. A 1967 referendum on the subject was defeated, although residents closest to the city, in what was called Area 1, voted 76 per cent in favour. According to the Grand Forks Gazette, Area 1 “takes in roughly that portion laying east of the road over the bridge to the addition, including the road and north of the railway tracks and will include Firemen’s Park and the sawmill area.” (Firemen’s Park is now the industrial park area.)

The newspaper didn’t spell out what constituted Areas 2, 3, and 4, although they were presumably further away from town. In a second referendum held a month later for residents of Area 1 only, 25 of 36 voters endorsed joining the city, although it took three years for amalgamation to become official. Thereafter, the portion within city limits was known as North Ruckle and the portion outside as South Ruckle, although South Ruckle subsequently joined as well.

North Ruckle is 68th and 69th avenues between 1st and 5th streets. South Ruckle is 63rd through 65th avenues between 2nd and 10th streets, and also includes Industrial Way, part of Como Road/Como Street and part of Sagamore Avenue.

South Ruckle was among the areas devastated in last year’s flooding.

• Manly and Ruckle Addition: One or more of the Manly brothers teamed up with one or more of the Ruckles. Although its exact location is unclear, it was first mentioned in the Grand Forks Miner of Nov. 12, 1898: “[W]e feel safe in predicting that … Grand Forks’ [train] depot will be located on the Manly and Ruckle’s addition, on a direct line and between half and a quarter of a mile south of the First Street bridge.”

• Columbia/West Grand Forks: Previously covered in this series, Upper Addition, or Upper Grand Forks, was laid out by Frederic Wollaston in 1897, south of what’s now Highway 3, in the Dick Bartlett Park area.

It was arbitrarily renamed Columbia and existed as a separate city entirely from 1899 to 1903, whereupon it amalgamated with Grand Forks. The name Columbia persisted for many decades, sometimes as Columbia Flats, but was synonymous with West Grand Forks.

The original northwest-southeast avenues included Victoria (Highway 3 today), Prairie (72nd), Hill (70th), Government (68th), and Kettle River (66th), plus northeast-southwest streets Spring (now Donaldson Drive), King (15th), Church (16th), Market (17th), Columbia (18th), Yale (19th), Vancouver (20th), Pine (21st), and Donald (Boundary Drive). By 1905, an addition to the north added Lorne (78th), Dufferin (77th), Minto (76th), and Landsdowne (75th) avenues, plus Stanley (which doesn’t exist), Railway (Donaldson Drive), Cedar (22nd) and Cypress (23rd) streets.

Columbia is remembered in Columbia Drive and the Columbia Grill in the former railway station, the only original building still standing.

The post office opened as Upper Grand Forks on Jan. 1, 1897, was renamed Columbia on April 1, 1899 and closed in 1914. It reopened as West Grand Forks in 1917 and operated until 1968.

We’ll continue to look at Grand Forks-area neighbourhoods next week.

— With thanks to Sue Adrain, Della Mallette, and Laura Lodder

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The West Grand Forks post office is seen sometime prior to 1968. Greg Nesteroff collection

An envelope from Carson’s Corner Store, bearing a 1954 West Grand Forks postal cancel. Greg Nesteroff collection

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