PLACE NAMES: Caesar to Fletcher Creek

It was no palace, but the CPR recognized a longtime employee by naming a Boundary flag station

Two hundred thirty-ninth in a series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

Caesar, a flag station on the CPR’s North Fork subdivision from 1926 to 1964, was 10.5 km north of the Carson border crossing. It first shows up in the 1930 civic directory, with no residents listed.

The name honoured longtime CPR station agent John Caesar (1851-1953). Although his 52 years with the company were all spent in Ontario, mostly Markham, he retired to Vancouver, where he lived to 102.

Roger Burrows, in Railway Mileposts: British Columbia, Vol. II, indicates Caesar station was originally named Graham’s. This was after William Graham and family, who farmed there.

According to Jonathan Kalmakoff’s Doukhobor Gazetteer, the Doukhobor settlement here known as Bozhiya Dolina (“God’s Valley”) was also known as Caesar village. The name is no longer in use. Today it’s the site of Pines Bible Camp.

CROWN POINT

This switchback station on the CPR’s Rossland subdivision, between Trail and Rossland, was named after a mine, located on the east slope of Red Mountain by James Mahar in 1890.

It wasn’t on the first timetable issued in 1897 and it’s not clear when it was added, but it first shows up in the civic directory in 1910. It continued to be listed through at least 1948.

Although the siding and mine are long forgotten, the name lived on in Trail’s Crown Point Hotel, built in 1895 and rebuilt in 1929.

The hotel is in the midst of redevelopment, which will bring a new name: the Crown Columbia.

CUPRUM

This former railway point, slightly south of downtown Grand Forks, was once the junction of the CPR’s Boundary and North Fork subdivisions.

Railway Mileposts: British Columbia, Vol. II says it was originally called R&GF Junction, for Republic and Grand Forks Railway, the unofficial name of the Republic and Kettle Valley Railway.

Cuprum is Latin for copper, the Boundary’s chief mineral resource.

The name was in use by 1918, when it first showed up in the civic directory. It last appeared in 1928.

DREWRY

This railway point on the west side of Kootenay Lake’s south arm was named for Mount Drewry, in turn named for William Stewart Drewry (1859-1939), a surveyor who headed up triangulation and topographic surveys in the region from 1892-94. In 1897 he teamed up with H.T. Twigg to survey mineral claims in the West Kootenay and was later appointed the province’s chief water commissioner and inspector of surveys.

The name was officially adopted in 1937 and remains on the books although it is in limited use.

Mount Drewery appeared on maps by 1900 but didn’t become official until 1948.

Drewry Point was identified in 1947 and Drewry Point Park was established in 1970, although according to the BC Geographical Names website, by then the parks branch “no longer knew exactly which of several small points along the shoreline was the namesake feature.”

FLETCHER CREEK

Fletcher Lake drains into Fletcher Creek, which spills at Fletcher Falls and enters the west side of Kootenay Lake, south of Mirror Lake.

All are named for Josiah Fletcher (1829?-1905) who in 1889 started a ranch there with John Sandon — the man for whom the ghost town of Sandon was named.

With G.B. Wright, Fletcher opened a general store in a log building at Ainsworth in 1888, which sold three years later to Henry Giegerich. (Giegerich in turn sold to John Bradley Fletcher, who was no relation to Joe. The store is now the J.B. Fletcher museum.)

In 1892, Joe built an hotel in New Denver. He also ran the Grand Central Hotel in Kaslo in partnership with Archibald McLean Fletcher (1865-1936), but their relationship is unclear. Joe was not Archie’s father, brother, or uncle. On the 1901 census, they are shown living in the same house but Joe was only described as a boarder. Whatever the case, Archie named his son Josiah. (His middle names were David LeBau, after the doctor who delivered him.)

The two Fletchers were also partners in a lime quarry opposite Kaslo that they sold to Thomas Procter in 1898.

Fletcher Creek was first mentioned in the Nelson Miner of Nov. 21, 1891 in a legal ad but did not become official until 1947. The lake was officially named in 1961 but the falls are not officially named, despite being the outstanding geographic feature.

Fletcher Creek is a community name as well, but it’s not officially recognized either.

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The Cranbrook Herald of Oct. 7, 1926 mentioned that CPR had named a stop after John Caesar “in the vicinity of Nelson,” although it was actually close to Grand Forks.

William S. Drewry is seen in his office in Victoria, date unknown. A mountain and a point on Kootenay Lake were named after him. (Courtesy Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History)

Fletcher Falls, on Kootenay Lake, is named after a pioneer rancher and storekeeper. (Greg Nesteroff)

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