Life before bridges – the ferry at Trail, B.C.

Getting across the mighty Columbia River 100 years ago was no cake-walk. Notes from the first newspapers in Trail Creek Landing (now Trail, B.C.) and Rossland:

1896/01/25   The surveyors were taking measurements Wednesday for the length of the cable required to operate the new ferry across the river.

1896/01/25    Trail’s Ferry  Trail is to have a ferry. As will be seen in another column; the Provincial Government advertises for the exclusive right to run a ferry across the Columbia river at Trail, and for two miles above and below. The next step will probably be the construction of a road to the east side of the river to the nearest point on the Nelson & Fort Sheppard Railway, thus obviating the necessity of going to Northport to reach Nelson. This ferry will make a millionaire of Arthur Dick, whose ranch is on the opposite side, and the suburb of Dickville will ere long be greater than the smelter town itself.

Rossland Prospector    Never, the tail will never wag the dog. It is quite probable that the coming smelting, mining and railroad center may outgrow the present site and of necessity spread out over Mr. Dick’s ranch, but as to becoming greater than the smelter town, banish the thought. Farther a road is now being constructed, in fact, almost completed, to connect with the Nelson and Fort Sheppard railway, over which fuel for the smelter and Trail’s supplies are to come, and when the tramway is completed, if Rossland does not grow ugly and show her teeth in such horrid manner, they will also be allowed to bring in their freight and passengers over this road.

1896/02/01 WAGON ROAD TO SAYWARD IS NEARLY COMPLETED           The Cable ferry Will Be Put In Near the “News” Office                                      The wagon-road being built by the Smelter company will be completed as far as Beaver Creek, six miles south of Trail, tonight. Next week the road will be passable for wagons from the Railroad to Trail. The cable ferry to be built to connect Trail with the wagon road from Sayward to the river bank opposite Trail, will be put in at a point between the News office and Bell, Naden & Co’s mill. On January 7th, the provincial secretary at Victoria sent advertisement for the ferry to the Rossland papers and to the News. The advertisements reached Rossland in time, but did not reach Trail until two weeks afterward. This shows up our mail system to advantage. Continue reading