Black Bear Drive perpetuates the name of a Rossland mine and townsite addition. The city’s vertical street signs are unique locally. Greg Nesteroff photo

Rossland neighbourhoods, Part 4

Place Names: Black Bear to Black Jack to South Belt

A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

For the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at Rossland’s neighbourhood names and townsite additions. There are more to cover yet — belying any notion the city is merely divided into upper and lower sections.

Derby Addition: Earlier installments in this series neglected to mention this addition, named after a mining claim and laid out for T.B. Garrison and W.Y. Clark in 1900. It was west of the original townsite, either adjacent to or on top of the Nick of Time and Black Bear claims.

Garrison and Clark soon sold the Derby claim and 102 lots in their addition to Lucien Weyl of the Société d’études de la Colombie Britannique for $50,000. But it doesn’t seem to have been developed any further as a residential area.

Black Bear: This neighbourhood on the west side of the city is built on what was originally the White Bear or John Y. Cole Addition, but does not follow its original grid, which extended east-west Leroi, Kootenay, and Cooke Avenues and added north-south Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto streets.

Black Bear preserves the name of a nearby mining claim (the entrance to the former mine tour on the museum grounds was the Black Bear adit). It includes Black Bear Road, Black Bear Drive, White Bear Drive, Monte Vista Drive, and a portion of the old Cascade highway.

South Belt: In use as the name of a mining area since at least 1896. As a residential area, it’s everything south of the point where Spokane Street turns into Drake Road. It’s outside city limits.

Spilkerville: This area within the South Belt is near Drake’s and Gobat’s Roads. The name is obsolete and its origin is unclear, although Gustav and Doris Spilker lived on Leroi avenue as of 1953.

Spitzee: Named after a mine in lower Rossland, and still the name of a ski trail, but no longer in use as a neighbourhood name.

Rossglen: The area around Esling Drive, Irwin Avenue, and Thompson Avenue. The name has been around since at least 1953, when the Rossglen Grocery operated in the 2200 block of Thompson Avenue. It’s perpetuated in Rossglen Park (aka Rossglen Bike Skills Park).

Red Mountain Village: The collective name given to the townhouses, condos, duplexes, cabins, and suites at the base of the ski resort. The resort was named for the mountain, which was named for the colour of its soil. The village’s streets are Red Mountain Road, Mountain View and Olaus Way.

Caldera: Development began in the mid-2000s on this subdivision on the southwest side of Highway 3B, south of Red Resort. It includes Caldera Drive and Cedar Creek Place. A caldera is a hollow that forms after a volcano erupts. Rossland is in the crater of an extinct volcano.

Black Jack (or Blackjack): Named after a mining claim, this area northeast of Red Resort includes Mann, Campbell, Talbot, Mayer, Deschamps, and Ritchie roads, and is home to the Black Jack cross-country area.

There are a few other unofficial areas too:

Hospital Hill: Centred around the former Mater Misericordiae hospital at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Georgia Street.

Fourth Avenue: “We used to think of it as a distinctive neighbourhood,” says Ron Shearer, who grew up in Rossland in the 1930s and ‘40s. “It was home to a gang of rather tough kids who were a little older than me (the Kootenay Coyotes).”

Chinatown: From the 1890s into the 1940s, Rossland’s Chinese community was centred on Kootenay Avenue between St. Paul and Monte Christo streets. As in Nelson, Chinatown doubled as the red light district.

Frenchtown: An early name for the top of Washington Street, where a large number of francophones lived.

Fish Town (or Fishtown): A name applied prior to 1930 to the area by the War Eagle mine, although its origin is unclear.

Also to clear up a minor mystery: an earlier installment in this series wondered whether Enterprise Street, in the Enterprise Addition, was an old name for today’s McLeod Street. Shearer found a 1964 map that shows it was not. McLeod was in fact sandwiched between Enterprise Street (which no longer exists) and Elmore Street (which does).

— With thanks to Ron Shearer, Jackie Drysdale, and Larry Doell

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