A Christina Lake resident came across a 121-year-old paper treasure recently, while cleaning his mother’s house. Doug Sandner found the item folded up and hardly yellowed – an Aug. 19, 1899 edition of the Boundary Creek Times. Above the paper’s name plate are some blue ink streaks – the only sign of colour ink in the entire edition – perhaps someone’s attempts to get the ink flowing in their Parker fountain pen (also advertised on page 1).
The paper was likely bought by Sandner’s grandfather, who arrived in the Boundary five years before the paper’s issue date. Sandner’s grandfather came with his friend to the Interior to find their livelihoods, but they didn’t originally have plans of settling in the Boundary, Sandner said.
“They came to go to Rossland, because they heard the streets there were paved with gold. It turns out, they weren’t paved at all,” he said.
So, Sandner’s grandfather walked the Dewdney Trail back to Christina Lake, and would go on to open a water-powered sawmill at the north end of the lake.
Of course, just because Rossland wasn’t gleaming with gold didn’t mean there weren’t riches to be found in the region. The 1899 paper tells a story of big mining booms in the Boundary.
Dominating the paper’s front page is a quarter-page ad or Modern Machinery Mining, which at the time had offices in Vancouver, Greenwood and Rossland. The top story’s headline is simple: “A big smelter.”
“Mr. Paul Johnson is here,” the story beings. “He is the smelting Messiah who is to deliver the people from any disappointment because of the Graves’ smelter at Grand Forks. Mr. Johnson means business, and evidently means to stay. He is armed with half a dozen trunks and as many valises, a million dollars or so, and an enviable reputation as a successful smelter expert.” Clearly, Johnson was a man to be reckoned with – a man whose reputation spoke even louder than his money.
The middle pages of the broadsheet are loaded with mineral claim notices for the Boundary region as well.
The full newspaper is digitized and available online through the UBC Open Collections.