Where’s Waldo??

July 6th, 2020 1 Minutes
Waldo postal split ring cancel April 19, 1910.  Waldo was!

You know Waldo, of course, hiding in the crowd as a comic character, unseen but there. A whole cult of searchers, kids, and adults, have formed around him.

But what about the other Waldo (B.C.), also hiding in plain view? Situated on the Kootenay River, just upriver from where the Elk River flows into the Kootenay, the town of Waldo began in the 1890s as a stopping place for riverboats – Crow’s Nest Landing. The SS Annerly, SS North Star, and others would drop off supplies routed for the South Country through Rexford, Montana, take on some wood for fuel, and proceed upstream to Fort Steele and North Star Landing.

Local history states that William Waldorf Waldo, a land speculator, acquired large parcels of land around Crow’s Nest Landing in the late 1890s. He broke these up and sold building lots. Waldo was divided into Upper Waldo, the main settlement, and Lower Waldo. Upper Waldo was oriented to the Baker-McNab Lumber Company built-in 1907. V. Hyde Baker of Cranbrook and Charles McNab of Waldo, a mill designer, owned rights to timberland upstream from Waldo. They constructed a series of flumes that delivered the logs to the sawmill. Quite a large bachelors’ quarters developed above the mill.

The Baker Lumber Company Sawmill at Upper Waldo

Lower Waldo was situated on the river bank downstream from the Baker-McNab mill. Joe and Hales Ross, operators of a mill farther downstream near Dorr, combined forces with a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, firm, and built the Ross-Saskatoon sawmill adjacent to Lower Waldo. Ross-Saskatoon was a large mill producing 80,000 to 100,000 FBM of lumber per day. It employed a network of narrow gauge railway lines and Shay locomotives to supply logs to this mill. Waldo boomed.

In 1929 a fire that started near the Baker-McNab plant grew and wiped out almost the entire town. The Baker-McNab mill ceased operations. Withdrawal of the Great Northern Railway line and shrinking markets brought an end to the Ross-Saskatoon operation. Waldo faded.

Waldo sinks beneath the waters.  Blowing the Waldo Bridge, February 28, 1973.

In 1970 the British Columbia government, in partnership with the United States, began to clear the area of Waldo for the flooding of the Libby Dam Reservoir.

This event leaves us with the present-day question of “Where’s Waldo?”

Where’s Waldo?  Remember!
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