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Mining in the Kootenays

Bill Barlee

Accession Number Interviewer BCHF conference Nelson
Date Location Nelson BC
Media tape cassette Audio CD mp3 √
ID 95 Topic




Unknown Speaker 0:01
I try to keep it for 20 minutes, I'll have about three minutes question period after that. And I apologize for the most unusual, but it is natural to do. So, and I think it's most appropriate that the British Columbia historical Federation meets in Nelson, which is, of course, the Queen City. Very well. Nelson has a certain great ambience that very few other towns have anywhere in the province, by the way. And when I looked around the the audience, some of you I don't know, some of you are old friends of mine. And of course, Taylor said, Mr. Sales, who comes from Nanaimo, the old bastard city, they have a marvelous museum with a very prominent Historical Society, which is a marvelous job in an island. And I looked down the table, and actually, the parents, from the customers have a right to salmon and Robert Greene from from Victorian accounting. So the answer is from Vancouver. So I do know some of you, and I made acquaintance with some of the others tonight. And what I'm going to talk about basically is a little bit of the past. And, you know, when I, when I think about the past, a lot of characters walk down the main street of Baker, or Baker Street, and say, Oh, that comes to mind, I have, by the way, kind of a treasure chest, I will be sending things around. Halloween will be kind of keeper of that. Of course I do. I did it, I did lose the 100 ounce silver bar somewhere in the past. We got all about it at the end of the night on the table, and somebody picked it up. So I'll be passing around some parts of the Canada West collection. You may don't have to go by this actually. So you're I think you'll enjoy some of those things. I want to be talking basically about the about the Old West, and about ghost towns, about a little bit about mining. I knew I was gonna be an old age pension and I think just a small and I came in at the tail end. When I was a kid, many of those towns were still standing. Certainly Samson was still standing, which was the original Silver City. By the way, the great town of Phoenix was still there. And places like Spokane city were prominent. Greenwood was still itching a lot, cascade city. And there were about 63 or 64 ghost towns or horse camps in the area. When I was there, most of those have disappeared and you have have holons And of course seats example. So I'm going to pass around first some of these objects. And I think you'll like by passing around three photographs by the way, which are just typical of the collection. Two of them are from my own flexibleness from the University of Alaska and my photographs by the way Frank Kennedy will recognize this that I'm giving all of my photographs my my collection to the to the provincial archives. There are some quite nice ones and I think they'll like them

Unknown Speaker 3:37
on the table and to show you very briefly

Unknown Speaker 3:53
I'll pass around the bat around through that

Unknown Speaker 4:09
now first of all, this is a very briefly this is a picture of Florence which is the only Chinese Gold Rush town in the world. 17 buildings. You haven't been there you should go there. Don't go in mosquito time you won't get back. It's quite marvelous. We were restoring this slowly but the restoration project has been cancelled. Unfortunately. This is a classic photograph, which the Archives does not have. The historic town of Phoenix, which have been hotel, two railroads, an opera house in theory 100 People arena, visualize that see 2000 people. Team Challenge the Stanley Cup disappeared virtually overnight. It was abandoned. And it was marvelous because when I was a kid made you Zoladex died of wandering through the ghost towns and it was an indelible experience. I wandered up the streets of places like San Angelo Kansas City, which was a really a ghost town. It certainly was. A cascade city was with the exception of my grandfather's generals. And it was very memorable. Where the boardwalks were still there. And we would wander up the boardwalk. And those mountain towns like Santa Ana, and Phoenix, the wind invariably came down at night. No one was there. Two people. Nobody in Phoenix, excelent old man Banbury, and we look inside the windows of the vacant stores. And many of the stores, everything was still there. Because when the town was abandoned, everyone went broke virtually overnight, because of foreign goods. Many things were still there. It's located city, and they weren't sampled until 1949. And we look inside and we see the picture of Asus that's in the rolltop desk. And virtually everything else. And it was all covered with cobwebs. And that's probably interested me and my lifelong interest in the ghost city flow, and mainly in British Columbia. So I have about 2000 photographs going to the archives. And that's where they showed the last five of them. And I decided that on there that they really weren't, shouldn't be undermined here, they should be under the care of the experts in the in the archives of British Columbia. So some of these objects are interesting. This one I will pass around until the end. This is typical. This was not handcuffs. And when you were incarcerated in the early years of British Columbia quite often you were Lagos as well. These are 18 172 taller, I'll pass those around stays here. Don't try to

Unknown Speaker 7:24
take the time not because I don't trust you. So why is still one of my one of my claims, which I gave up on it as Minister these ladies will be very interested not only for women, and the bar girls in one of the hotels in Atlantic City, and they will if they do you want to admit it. Somebody's got to amorous especially one of the hardrock miners they would call a hotel or save this RV all these years, sold to me about 20 years ago. And by the way, if you have any they should go to them. Otherwise collectors will take them or collect them. This is a coronation 19 101 that's worth about $300 now it has quite a few in Victoria, I'm very pleased to say and they're getting more difficult to Yes. Now, of course had some marvelous individuals and I think probably Jay Ron is more knowledgeable than I am. But he is definitely one of the heroes. And he was the only man who was allowed to come in Canadian silver dollar and they are very difficult to get. So the other 1935 or $1,936 Perhaps later certainly 35 and 36 and you see a little initials. J O P that is jumps to four months by Oliver Oliver was a jeweler and watchmaker really artist he was everything he was a marvelous guy. I'll pass this around in this gold pants. This is by the way 176 magnets chain and was given to an anabolic

Unknown Speaker 9:47
for friendships at the bottom, at the bottom of the interesting piece this is a match looks like a lighter and the lower one itself has to be The brass I said no, no, I think first of all, I said that isn't a piece of glass there. That's a rose colored back. And I said this is this is all she says having fairly well it's just 14k

Unknown Speaker 10:22
you heard you heard about one man I'm really quite enamored with. And this was a man called Big Jack Kirby. He was painted by Weddington, the American artist and he called him to share and the family years ago saved me all of his money for some hours, which is fine. And he called himself the provincial government police

Unknown Speaker 10:59
to Revelstoke when it was down into Ross on the Old City 516 And when he left Reynolds, hated politicians, so he comes close to my heart. This is funny one character, this is one of my parents. Wow. These are the hallmarks and this one was like to target. He was 65 inches tall and weighed 70 pounds. And when he walked into the hotel, it's late Facebook's quality was very interesting, presented to Mr. John Kirkup as a market esteem and goodwill by his friends in Revelstoke British Columbia, APR 18 191 106 years ago. So these are a few of the items I've sent around. And I'll tell you briefly, very briefly, and I see that I'm about halfway through.

Unknown Speaker 12:16
Past, okay, I don't want to look at it. I don't mind that but don't mind you're looking at it from time, they took 30 seconds to take, we'd be able to get 330. And on TV, what you do is you attempt to get through a story and 24 minutes or six minutes of advertising. And in the background is the producer and he's always going five minutes seven, or whatever it is seven minutes and five minutes. So you don't really get the time to tell a story. And storytelling is almost a lost art. And I've been interested in the ghost towns of the province process 56 years, over half a century. Once you meet people to six month old subscribers, when I had my Canada West pet athlete was an older subscriber a number of you were and usually their advice is very sound sometimes. And I'll tell you the story that I partially told on TV, that'll take about 10 minutes. And we'll have the three minutes at the end and 19 171 and that's 26 years ago. So today I was working at one of the tables in the archives, looking over some newspaper reports and some other records. And I just lost Canada West two years prior to that and have 3000 subscribers at that time. So that was my subscribers. I knew most of the time. And as I was concentrating on this on this work, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, an elderly man approaching record hesitantly a few steps towards the table than stop again. Take a few more steps and stop again

Unknown Speaker 14:23
and he said Well my name is Fred Mr. Average subscriber Crossman. Extremely well, he was not logical. He was self effacing. He was inclined to be taciturn. He was an excellent host. And I knew judgment. Remember, I decided it might be more appropriate if I opposed to a winner.

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Coming to the archives, so I thought I'd interrupt Mr. Etheridge, who was probably in his early 80s There, I'm guessing a little bit

Unknown Speaker 15:17
Do you remember, Blackjack? And we've met the Rosslyn for last seven years we've led to making

Unknown Speaker 15:25
depression. And then later on, I said, Yes, I remember vaguely was a prospector but it can't give a lot more than almost three years ago. He was a very strange man. First of all, is the CO discoverer of the recent novel by Andre River and most people don't help them secondly

Unknown Speaker 15:48
that's not unusual for the prospect of virginity in fact the public sector bankers you ever walked down the street in Washington which was Columbia

Unknown Speaker 16:02
and he says another thing was interesting about next door and he said when I was 20 years old went over to my house right next door on the table to sit on the kitchen table and roll blackjack and I got a big table washed and then it disappears other parts of the house somewhere and come back several minutes later literally staggering. I count in two large boxes which were very heavy obviously you don't go back and get to somewhere between three and four gold coins. Double Eagles Eagles these are some of the gold coins it's about those around there sticking to the virus

Unknown Speaker 17:07
except one bar and almost less nothing less than the populace is like that'd be great. So So anyway, the front of the day of course to the old man these guys went down into the basement make all sorts of noise and they can by the way, in the context of Congress they would do this and this was entertainments Gold Rush just before that so we did that several times over the years and I said well he sat down flashback McDonald's i and when he did that I was executive the executive said there was no mention of he said there was no mention of any cool clients or any political candidates loser and it's very sitting on the line it was very strange suspicious with nature. Companies and I know very well very well. So I said my major was Mr. Etheridge.

Unknown Speaker 18:39
Black champion didn't get I think there's still 171 And I said, Well if you need to sell the house, why don't you go and get game without deviating and he said Mr. Bodily Injury magazine. I've had adventures. I've had money lastly, my days. And I think you'd be very wacky.

Unknown Speaker 19:26
Donald's house, which is under sale

Unknown Speaker 19:37
the old mode and I wasn't too keen on ads. They all wait till spring. So I leave it to the spring of 1972. late May or early June traveled over the last one drove up the Columbia Avenue and the street when I was a kid for boardwalks you're watching The minor buildings were still there. mines were still abandoned in the hills when I was

Unknown Speaker 20:11
worried. I accepted the job. And I was enjoying my trip. The government office because it was close, I want to pass the Anglican Church

Unknown Speaker 20:27
because I knew that Black Jack McDonald lived up there somewhere and switched off. Next to the Catholic Church was left out

Unknown Speaker 20:41
Catholic Church came an old priest, who was father that I didn't know well, maybe in essence about 16 or 17. This is now the 1870s Even though there are over half a century, 22 years old. And he was in his late 70s, early 80s.

Unknown Speaker 21:00
I stopped and I said, can I talk with you for a certain level? Because I'm 2026 years younger. So I was always as your father's two brothers, my brother's leaders. And we're Anglicans. This guy was really quite shocked. He knew everybody in town, and he didn't know everybody in town.

Unknown Speaker 21:27
So I asked him to tell me remind Jeff McDonald used to always the circuses to sell that street down there, he pointed to a nearby street, which was to the south towards the south. And he said that he said so I walked down the street. under my arm, one of my camera weapon magazines was photographed. This is kind of an introduction to treasure hunting. If you find a treasure in somebody else's house, you give them 50%. And most ethical treasure hunters will do that, by the way. They may have Income Tax department, but they will give the owner so anyway, I want to down the street and they're not on the dole and a woman with a daughter. She was about 35 to address our nurses or nurses aides. And I said my name is Bill. And I'm researching the treasurer. And it may be here, by all means come in. So I walked in the door. And as I walked into the hallway, I noticed that it means actually living room and everything. Also renovated. I looked in the kitchen and it had been renovated. So I thought, I don't want to waste your time but someone says do a renovation job on your house and she said Yes, Mister

Unknown Speaker 23:00
Mister Parrish financial history. And he said they'd all pretty well, I said. He said, Oh, yes, completely. So I said, Well, I mean,

Unknown Speaker 23:17
so I walk down, I walk down the street about another 50 yards down the stairs, pretty steep lead stairs, and walked up to the person who really knew Ross and very well our name was Alice. She was we talked about all the ways Yes, and everybody else and we've been in Russia and I brought the subject around and Mr. Ham and he said you know something was not critical. She was not a clinical person. She was pretty logical she wasn't and she said well I don't think much of that was

Unknown Speaker 24:05
even worried that I was gonna get into work. So I decided to watch. Blackjack was a few months ago once he said he spent five weeks in the basement

Unknown Speaker 24:30
he said I probably couldn't get him to work anyway. And she said he's retired now. So I don't know the last stop and that was just down the street. All around the world out of the builder hotel was still standing and then went down to see a guy called Sidney Hite who still lives in Rosslyn. Not done. I used to do a man called Mr. Nam was his shirt that he's giving the coin collector I have the funds to work on and it wouldn't mean the current collector really siblings but that was one of their clients 15 years ago and he never came to this one but a

Unknown Speaker 25:11
few months ago he came in he said let's just let's do a lot of gold ponies how's he can

Unknown Speaker 25:20
to get out of the States or Canada time. Places how many dealers are there in Spokane at least took 16 Took about we think 1600 to 2000 classes Spokane had lost leftover. And so I went to see the redoubtable Mr. Hammonds. There's a walk in the door of his place which he was telling you see the rest of the story. I will see you very very briefly in about 10 lines and left his name blank but everybody knew who it was anyway, except the Income Tax department of course they never bought from people in Rosslyn he had sold me covered about a quarter million dollars wait until 1980 waiting to happen. So here are some of the clients and accounting around so basically that's what you do on TV but you don't get the time to tell the story instead of as October 28 minutes 28 minutes Thank you very much for being a good violinist

Unknown Speaker 26:54
questions about anything

Unknown Speaker 27:07
hotel along with their the two most prominent token collectors in the province of British Columbia and token value dramatically I'd rather than have to worry about that. And I don't know what you're going to have to think about it but he will not let it out of his hand probably I don't have any other questions we were talking about. There's another batch I picked up the other day with all the dealers and as I say $1,500 or whatever 1500 today with the dealers because I came up and one of the points not silver is nickel plated over brass and see the brass and just touching

Unknown Speaker 28:19
all the as we know we want to get the

Unknown Speaker 28:30
universe anyone's word he was quite surprised to get more than I'll turn that around as well. How can I send that around? Is there something going

Unknown Speaker 28:55
on you want to take this around if you want to look at any other questions we have two minutes long

Unknown Speaker 29:14
I should tell you that the historic projects that I integrated as Minister has been cancelled. I will try to get the medic on board. We had seven around the province. Salmon was high priority had the mascot.

Unknown Speaker 29:29
Alexandra bridge, camel Valley railway line and two other smaller well known airports. I thought they would serve as well in the long run but they have been cancelled. I've tried to get those back on track.

Unknown Speaker 29:45
Well thank you very much and I'll let anyone else Did I or did I have to have the gold with you? Okay that's

Unknown Speaker 30:07
what happened some years ago there's about one minute story I was talking to the to the historical society in the old in the old upstairs places and I have very high here's a piano all about that far away and a whole bunch of stuff

Unknown Speaker 30:27
quite unique came over we had some treatments or 1500 at the time and at the end of the talk we have a lot of discussion

Unknown Speaker 30:35
and a great it was okay but he didn't even have one okay

Unknown Speaker 30:49
and I can't and I was about 50 We came to collusion. We heard of becoming extremely well dressed like this