One-hundred seventy-seventh in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Shoreacres, the wide flat at the confluence of the Slocan and Kootenay rivers, was originally known as Slocan Crossing, because of the ferry that crossed the Slocan at that point.
Later the Canadian Pacific Railway built a train bridge at the same location. (We’ll get into the derivation of Slocan in a few weeks.)
The earliest mention was in the Nelson Miner of July 5, 1890: “John Evans, who for two months has been acting as captain and purser of the government ferry-boat at the Slocan crossing, has resigned the position …”
However, the next mention wasn’t until July 15, 1892 in the Winnipeg Commercial’s special Kootenay supplement: “About nine miles from Robson, the Slocan River, which empties into the Kootenay, is crossed. The station here is called Slocan Crossing …”
Slocan Crossing appears on Perry’s Mining Map of 1893. Until a railway was completed to Slocan City in late 1897, it was the southern end of a pack trail. It was also headquarters of Murray and Matheson’s pack train and the site of Patrick J. Gallagher’s Slocan House hotel, which operated for a few months in 1892.
Gallagher still lived at Slocan Crossing as of 1894, when he hosted the wedding of railway bridge foreman Michael McGrath and Elizabeth Carragher. Gallagher went on to serve on Nelson city council.
Later references to Slocan Crossing seem to have used it interchangeably with Slocan Junction (which we’ll also discuss later in this series).
On May 6, 1906, the CPR adopted the name Lancasters for the siding at this point after rancher Thomas J. Lancaster, about whom little is known. He was first listed in the 1901 civic directory as a “lumberman” at Slocan Junction. That year he also staked the Sandy mining claim.
The Nelson Daily News of May 16, 1911 explained: “It was in 1904 that [J.E.] Annable purchased the 80 acres for $17.50 per acre from Thomas Lancaster, who had secured it from the CPR.” Annable was a Nelson real estate agent and mayor. An unpublished history of South Slocan compiled by Violet Greyson in the 1950s and held by the Touchstones Nelson archives states: “Shoreacres was first known as Lancaster Spur after Tony [sic] Lancaster who owned all of Shoreacres Flat.”
The name became Shoreacres when a post office opened on April 1, 1909. The CPR changed its siding name to Shore Acres on June 6, 1909, although it’s not clear when it adopted the compound form.
According to the late Dave Macdonald, “I was told by Cecil Jones whose parents took up land from [Charles Forbes] McHardy [that they] named it Shoreacres. They were from Britain.”
McHardy, another Nelson real estate agent and mayor, is remembered at Shoreacres in McHardy Road. The 1910 BC civic directory included both Shore Acres and Lancasters, although no residents were shown at the latter. Thomas Lancaster himself was still listed at Slocan Junction.
Although he’s on the 1911 voters list, he’s nowhere to be seen on the 1911 census or in subsequent directories. His name lingered a bit longer: a school opened in 1909 called Lancaster and wasn’t renamed Shoreacres until 1914.
According to Jon Kalmakoff’s Doukhobor Gazetteer, when community Doukhobors bought land at Shoreacres in 1912, they named it Prekrasnoye, Russian for “beautiful.”
Three communal villages were established, along with orchards and gardens, and a home for leader Peter (Lordly) Verigin. The villages began to decline following the bankruptcy of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood in the 1930s, and by the time the lands were sold in the early 1960s, the name Prekrasnoye had fallen out of use.
The Shoreacres post office closed in 1973, and the school in 1985, although it remains a residential community. It had a population of 324 on the 2016 census.