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An Enterprising place
Fifty-first in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Enterprise is or was the name of a mine, a creek, and two ghost towns on the east side of Slocan Lake between Slocan and New Denver.
The claim was apparently discovered and staked by Robert Ira Kirkwood (1865?-1932) of New Denver and J. McKinnon of Revelstoke in 1894, but wasn’t mentioned in the newspapers until October 1895, when they optioned the property to J.A. Finch. The first ore shipped the following year.
The mine became a major producer, second only to the Ottawa in the Slocan City mining camp for quantity and total value of ore extracted: more than 11,000 tonnes of silver, lead, zinc, gold, cadmium and copper over its long life.
Three townsites sprouted up to serve the mine, one of which, Aylwin — previously dealt with in this series — was home to the Enterprise Hotel.
The others were Enterprise, which Robert Covington owned opposite the mine; and Enterprise Landing, which Kirkwood owned at the creek mouth and was otherwise known as Ten Mile or Ten Mile Landing. (The stream that became Enterprise was also called Ten Mile Creek.)
The latter was first mentioned in The Ledge of April 1, 1897: “Hughes went to his camp and told his brother, then made his way to Ten Mile landing …”
The Enterprise townsite was first mentioned, although not by name, in the Slocan Pioneer of June 5, 1897: “Robert Covington, foreman of the Enterprise on Ten Mile, is laying out a townsite opposite the Enterprise mine, about a mile above Alwin’s [sic] hotel.”
The paper added on June 26: “There is still another townsite below the Iron Horse and the Enterprise mines, right up in the valley and a hotel is going up there. This belongs to Bob Covington, the foreman of the Enterprise, and he can not think of any other name for it except Enterprise. What enterprising people these are!”
The same edition contained the first reference to Enterprise Landing: “The Enterprise is evidently a name that is much thought of in this locality. Down at the wharf there is a townsite surrounding Mr. Taylor’s hotel which is to be called Enterprise.”
However, the name Ten Mile Landing continued to be used as well.
In 1899, a post office was applied for at Enterprise Landing but rejected. By this time Covington’s town appeared to have vanished. On July 13 of that year, The Ledge wrote: “There are two townsites on the creek, that of Enterprise at the lake shore, owned by R.I. Kirkwood of New Denver; and Aylwin, commanding the Enterprise basin … B. Taylor has a hotel at Enterprise and W.C.E. Koch feed stables and blacksmith shop.”
References to Enterprise Landing appeared at least through 1904 and a newspaper existed from 1924 to 1933 called the Slocan Enterprise. The mine that started everything continued to be worked off and on until 1977 and was still being poked at in the 1980s.
The Enterprise Creek bridge, which was replaced a few years ago, no longer has a sign on it, but there is still an Enterprise Creek Road.
Previous installments in this series