DIVISIONAL ADVANTAGES – Fortunate Is Cranbrook in Being the Possessor of Them.
The statement made by J.H. Macleod, acting engineer for the Crow’s Nest Pass Railroad in a recent issue of The Herald, relative to the necessary buildings at this point for the establishment of divisional headquarters, simply confirms what has been claimed by this paper from the start. It has Mr. Macleod’s opinion that the road will be completed to Cranbrook by August, and that means that before that time work will have to be inaugurated on the buildings that are to be constructed by the company in Cranbrook. It will mean more than that. Cranbrook, owing to her fortunate condition will be made the base of supplies for the construction of the road west from Wardner to Kootenay Lake. In fact, as the work approaches this town, there will follow a centralization of forces and supplies at this point. In addition to this, it is now quite probable that when the offices are moved westward from Macleod, Cranbrook will be selected as the most advantageous place for operations. The C.P.R., in securing an half interest in Cranbrook, did so as a business proposition, for the simple reason that Cranbrook’s location made it imperative that the principal business point of the company on this line should be located here. Had not the original owners of the land on which the townsite is located concluded to lay out a portion of the property into lots, the C.P.R. would have purchased the property and built the town. There was no escape from a town being located here, as the distances east and west fixed this particular locality as the important railroad center. Nothing could have prevented a good town here, and with the railroad and townsite companies working together for the advancement of the place, it can be easily seen that it will be the important city in East Kootenay.
There are those who perhaps fail to fully appreciate the importance attached to the action of the railroad company in making this the divisional point. It must be borne in mind that when the Crow’s Nest Road is completed it will at once become the principal line of traffic, both in freight and passengers, from coast to coast. This change will be due to the easy gradients that have been secured through the mountain passes. Through passengers and through freight, east or west, will be diverted by this line, as this route will be far more economical for heavy work. That means that a divisional point on this line will become at once a place of great industry. The Cranbrook shops will have to be large enough to do a vast amount of work. The roundhouse will be built of sufficient capacity to accommodate many engines. And the great number of trains will of course make Cranbrook the home of a large number of men. A town situated something like Cranbrook is Kalispell, Montana, the difference being that Kalispell’s basis of prosperity is confined to the fact that it is a divisional point on the Great Northern railroad. In that town there are from 300 to 500 railroad employees, which gives the town a railroad population alone of about 2,000 people who are supported by wages drawn from the company. This will illustrate what a divisional point will mean for Cranbrook, except that in the case of Cranbrook the number of men employed at this point will be greater, owing to the building of branches and spurs to outlying mining camps.
Therefore, when The Herald states that Cranbrook is to be the largest and best town in East Kootenay, it is simply setting forth a fact that is based upon the soundest foundation. The railroad employees will make it a great town for business, but this will be only one of the many features that will give to Cranbrook the largest pay-roll in East Kootenay. And pay-rolls make towns. This has always been the case, and always will be the case. That is why the inducements for business men to settle in Cranbrook far outweigh any that can be offered by any other town in the district.