WARDNER TO MOYIE CITY – A Magnificent Country, Rich in Wonderful Resources. – WHY WARDNER WILL SURELY BE GREAT. – Possessing a Tributary Territory That Will Make It the Distributing Point of British Columbia. –
A trip to Moyie City from Wardner, by way of Fort Steele and Cranbrook, gives the traveler an opportunity to view some scenery of marvelous beauty as he passes over the hills and through the valleys, crossing mountain streams as clear as crystal, that dash down the hillsides and over the trails, to be lost in the darkness of the dense forests of pine beyond. And as one gazes at the wonderful pictures that nature has painted, the utilitarian mind cannot fail to dwell on the wonderful resources presented in the great mountains of mineral, the vast area of heavy pine, and the rich tracts of meadow. A trip through that part of East Kootenay tells the story of the future that awaits the people who will devote their energies and talents to gathering the bountiful harvest of wealth that nature has in waiting for them in this valley. It will show even to the casual observer that the undeveloped resources of this section will give homes to thousands and thousands to these homes. It is a veritable garden of Eden, with all the apples hanging on the lower limbs, and no restrictions. Mortal man never inhabited a country where nature had done more to please the artistic desires, and at the same time furnish opportunities for amassing wealth.
Last Friday a representative of The International left Wardner for a journey through that section of the country, and was most favorably impressed both with the country and the people. Stopping at Fort Steele over night, he had an opportunity to meet many of the residents, and found them all possessed with a deep and abiding faith in the country, and hustling for the elusive dollar. Mr C.F. Venosta, the agent for the townsite company, was extremely affable, and extended every courtesy to the Wardner visitor. Although the streets were not so crowded as earlier in the summer, yet the business men seemed to be enjoying a good trade. R.G. Shires has completed his new hotel, the International, and has a most attractive place. H. Rhineman, of the Venosta hotel, was feeling happy, and figuring on the premium he could secure for a silver dollar of the coinage of 1795, which he had recently picked up. The American store was busy as usual, and everybody feeling good. Cann & Co., with a large stock of books and stationery, were well pleased with conditions. Carlin & Durick, with several buildings packed full of goods, had little time to talk between customers. In fact, it was noticeable that every advertiser in The International was doing a good business. This, of course, may be a mere coincidence, yet a man who advertises in The International must necessarily do well, for it shows that he possesses good business judgment and an appreciation of a good thing. Several new buildings were in the course of erection in Steele, among them the C.P.R. warehouse, that Grace, of the Prospector, insists is to be used as a supply house for all of British Columbia and the Klondike regions. And speaking of the Prospector and its proprietor, both seemed to be doing well.
From Steele to Cranbrook is a pleasant journey of twelve miles over a beautiful road. Cranbrook, at present, consists of a townsite laid out on a beautiful piece of meadow land, owned by Colonel Baker, minister of mines. V. Hyde Baker, a son of Colonel Baker, lives in a comfortable home on the townsite, and has what might be termed ideal bachelor quarters. He played the role of good Samaritan in the most approved manner, taking in the weary traveler and providing him with food and drink. As the railroad will pass along one side of the townsite, arrangements are being made for building in the town, and a new saw mill is already on the ground, and will be ready for cutting lumber within a short time.
From Cranbrook to Sifton City is a distance of 11 miles, along a road that in most places is but the old trail widened and leveled – in places. Sifton City has a pleasing, prosperous sound, but as a city it is still in embryo, as it consists of one log building, occupied as a store, and two other buildings in course of erection. It is located at the head of Moyie Lake where the traveler can sell his horse and make a partial payment on the rent of a boat for a day, or take the old Bonners Ferry trail and proceed to New Montreal and Moyie City. The International representative preferred the latter course, and turned his cayuse’s head toward the narrow path through the woods. He found before he reached Moyie City that it was much easier to read about people passing along the trail, than it was to pass himself. It is an historical fact that an Indian will climb 300 or 400 feet up the side of a mountain rather than move a log or cut a tree, and as the Indians laid out that trail long before the sixties, it is easy to form some idea of its tortuous course, and the word tortuous is used advisedly in this case. The old timer may look upon it as an easy task, but to a tenderfoot it seemed like a taste of hades. New Montreal was reached about midway between Sifton City and Moyie City, but no stop was made, as one empty log house was all that could be seen. At last, weary and worn, the traveler reached Moyie City, and was cordially received by John I. Booge and G.C. Campbell. Moyie City lies on the east side of Moyie lake, a beautiful body of water about eleven miles long. On each side rises mountains that extend the full length of the lake. Just above the city is the famous St. Eugene mine, and near it the Lake Shore, Moyie and others. From prospects made it seems that the whole mountain is one solid body of rich galena, and needs only the railroad to develop its wonderful resources. The McMahon brothers are completing a log building 60 by 29 feet two stories high, and will have a large general store, hotel and bar. Other buildings are going up, but at present it is difficult to get material for anything. Lumber costs $40 a thousand, and many other things in proportion. But this will all be changed when they get the road. At present the people of that place are very anxious to have a trail cut over the mountains to Wardner, as they would much prefer to get their supplies from this place, which they recognize as the coming distributing point.
After a night’s rest, the traveler started on his return trip, better satisfied than ever that East Kootenay had a great future, and that Wardner, with such a magnificent tributary territory, must necessarily be a great business point.