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authority records
Rossland Light Opera Players
A2015.004 · Corporate body · 1951-present

The Rossland Light Opera Players (RLOP) was founded on November 1, 1951, by Rossland teachers Bill and Kathleen Baldry, Gordon Griffin, and Margery Littley. The organisation’s purpose was to encourage music, drama, and associated arts in the area. Initial funds for starting the group were supplied by a Victory Bond from the defunct Rossland Amateur Operatic Society.

For their inaugural performance - Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance - the RLOP chose Gordon Griffin as the music director and Bill Baldry as the stage director. The cast, reportedly chosen without seeing any of the actors perform on stage, consisted of Jean Ellison as Mabel, Larry Gasen as Frederick, Stan Fisher as the Pirate King, Eric Bourchier as the Sergeant of Police, Bill Baldry as Major-General Stanley, and Kathleen Baldry and Margery Littely as supporting characters. Stan Fischer, the industrial education teacher at the Rossland high school, recruited his students to help in designing the production, which included lighting, staging, flats, and music stands.

The production of Pirates of Penzance opened in the Rossland high school auditorium in March 1952, performing two shows to enthusiastic audiences. The group then travelled for a show in the Trail Junior High auditorium (now called the Charles Bailey Theatre) and the Capitol Theatre in Nelson. All four shows were a success, generating a great deal of excitement about the RLOP and creating a lineup of talented individuals eager to be involved in future productions.

For their first eight seasons, the RLOP performed Gilbert & Sullivan productions, but in 1959, they branched out to other playwrights and eventually started writing their own productions. Performances have been held in various local venues, such as Rossland’s Miners’ Union Hall and Trail’s Charles Bailey Theatre.

In 1966, the RLOP negotiated a $1/year lease with the United Steelworkers Local 480 to rent Rossland's Miners' Union Hall (1899 Columbia Avenue). In 1976, the RLOP was forced to leave the Miners' Union Hall and ended up renting the two rooms in the Bank of Montreal to house their costumes. Their sets were stored in a shed behind the Rossland Credit Union, while their piano and lighting system were stored in the Junior High School in Trail. They were also forced to rent temporary locations in order to build sets and rehearse for upcoming productions. In 1983, the RLOP purchased the historic Bodega Hotel (2054 Washington Street) from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

The RLOP has performed almost every year since their inception. The 2021 season was cancelled due to the global pandemic.

Some notable members include: Babs and George Bourchier, Jack Fisher, and Charles Bailey.

A2015.004.001 · Corporate body · 1937-1941

The Rossland Amateur Operatic Society began in 1937 as the Orpheus Male Choir (Trail). In 1939, the Orpheus Male Choir relocated to Rossland, changing their name to the Rossland Amateur Operatic Society. The Society performed a variety of productions, notably Trial by Jury and Dominoes in Rossland’s Capitol Theatre in May 1940. The group disbanded after a final performance of H.M.S. Pinafore in April 1941 due to failing membership during WWII. The group’s remaining assets were used to buy a $50.00 Victory Bond (approximately $950.00 in 2022). The Victory Bond would later be acquired by the Rossland Light Opera Players.

Gordon Family
RMDC · Family · 1920s-Present

Jack and Holly Gordon, both originally born in Wales, moved to Rossland in 1929. Their children, Joyce (born 1922), John (born 1928), Alice (born 1932) and Clyde (born 1936) grew up in Rossland. Jack Gordon was mayor of Rossland 1937-1938 and again 1940-1945. In 2022 Alice Chiko, in conjunction with the Rossland Museum, wrote a book about her childhood in Rossland in the 1930s and 40s.

Hunter Brothers Ltd.
Corporate body · 1895 - 1952

The original Hunter Brothers Store was built in 1895 on Columbia Avenue In 1905, the store was moved to a new location on the Northwest corner of Columbia Avenue and Washington Street. The new home of the Hunter Brothers Store was Rossland's biggest retail space. The Hunter brothers retired in 1907, but the company continued under the leadership of W.F. Ternan. Ternan had been working for the Hunter brothers since 1897 and decided to rename the company Hunter Brothers Limited. The Hunter Brothers store operated until 1952.

Rossland Fire Department
Corporate body · 1896 – ca.2000

The Rossland Fire Department was first started on a volunteer basis in 1896 with eighteen known members under Chief E.J. Carson and Assistant Chief C. Scully. Equipment was bought through donations as well as fundraising. An electric fire alarm system was installed around 1898, with ten alarm boxes throughout town. The firehall building at 2115 Queen Street was built in 1900 and opened in 1901. Presently, the department is no longer autonomous but a branch of the Regional Fire Safety Department, run by volunteers under Fire Chief Gerry Woodhouse.

Cox Family
Family · ca.1905-ca.1967

Alexander Cox left Liverpool in 1896 and came to Rossland in 1898, where he worked as a miner. He went on to become the Canadian customs officer at Paterson during the late 1920s and into the 1930s. He later became a rancher in Paterson and married Mary Lewis. They had three children: Mary Christine (born 1915), Edmond Thomas (born 1918), and Jane Ethel (born 1920). Edmond became a pilot officer during World War II but went missing in 1943. Helen died in 1961.

The Ladies Discussion Club
Corporate body · ca.1933-ca.1972

The ladies’ Discussion Club was formed in January of 1933, by the teachers and ex-teachers of the Maclean School staff. The club was originally given the name “Semper Discupulae” but soon became known by its present title of the “Ladies’ Discussion Club”. It was clearly stated at the very beginning that each person was expected to take an active part at every meeting. Although teachers and ex-teachers were charter members, other interested ladies were soon invited to join the club. The members helped start the library, with a “musical” being held in the Anglican church to help raise money to purchase books for a club library. Most of these books were donated to the Rossland Public Library when it was established. The club even had a public debate against the Mens’ Discussion Club in 1936 at the courthouse and won. The women were required to pay a fine if late to a meeting, and the money raised would be donated to organizations such as the Red Cross and the local Community Chest. Two charter members remained in the club from its inception, Dorothy Bisson Fraser and Erna Coombes. Starting in 1948, the club also had a school award for excellence.

Mater Misercordiae Hospital
Corporate body · 1896-[ca. 2000]

The Mater Misericordiae Hospital was founded in 1896 by the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark and is one of the oldest hospitals in the B.C. Interior. The Hospital Auxiliary was organized in 1938. In 1939, the present structure was added and the old wing subsequently removed. On 2 July 1969, the Hospital changed ownership from the Sisters to the Rossland Hospital Society. The Hospital has been an accredited facility since 1972. Founded on a tradition of caring and sharing, efforts are directed towards maintaining that tradition.

Rossland City Band
Corporate body · 1898-[ca. 1960s]

Rossland's first city band formed in 1898 under the direction of B.M. Graham. Over the next 17 years, the band was reformed several times before being disbanded during WWI. While the Rossland City Band gave regular performances in the early years, it was not until 1930's that consistent practices, and executive meetings took place. The Rossland City Band gave regular performances throughout the year and won the Blaylock Cup at the Kootenay Music Festival in 1937 and 1938. Performances included parades, weekly concerts at the bandshell (Washington St and Columbia Ave) or the Father Pat Memorial (Queen St and Columbia Ave) as well as an annual concert. The Rossland City Band also notably travelled to Spokane, WA in February 1958 to play at the Warriors-Flyers hockey game. Some of the most notable conductors were B.M. Graham (1898-1900), Edward Gibney (1940-1942), Llyod Austin (1942, 1944), and Seath Martin (1943).

Rossland Post Office
Corporate body · 1895-

The first Post Office in Rossland was house in David Stussi’s small store at the western end of Columbia Avenue in 1894. The following spring Stussi built the Stussi Block across the street where a small area of 40’ by 10’ was set aside for the post offices. In the fall of 1895, W. Wadds was appointed the Postmaster and he relocated the Post Office to a more commodious space in another commercial building/store – 3rd designated Post Office for Rossland. The third floor of the post office burnt down in the Great Fire in 1929 and was no rebuilt. In 1937, after the death of Postmaster William Wadds, assistant clerk Miss Lowes was appointed acting postmaster. Well-liked by the staff and community, there were no objections to her taking this post. In June of that years, a postal inspector came to Rossland and installed Mrs. K Lloyd as the Postmaster. After much uproar from the community, Mr. L.H. Delmas was appointed Postmaster. In 1962, the Post Office receive an internal “modernization” which included new floors, woodwork, counters, and aluminum lock boxes.

Red Mountain Ski Club
Corporate body · 1947-1995

In 1947, talks started between the Trail Ski Club and the Rossland Ski club which resulted in the amalgamation of the two clubs. This formed the Red Mountain Ski Club (RMSC) in 1947. The immediate Objectives of the clubs were to build a chairlift up Red Mountain, a lodge at the base, and to extend the base area. Chuck Sankey was the first president of the club. The first chair lift on Red was built in this same year, and ran until 1973 when it was replaced by a Mueller lift. The Red Mountain Ski Lodge was built in the fall of 1947 using the timbers from the Black Bear Compressor House.
More area for skiing was cleared in the 1950s, and during this decade some of the prominent organisations to come out of the ski club were organised too. This includes the ski patrol, the ski school, and the start of the Red Mountain Racers. In 1960 a poma lift was installed from the lodge to the Back Trail. The Granite Mountain chair was installed in 1965 which opened up a wider area for skiing. This same year the Main Run was cleared, with Jumbo and South Side Road following the next year.
The ski area has also been the host for large events. These include the first World Cup to be held in Canada (the du Maurier International) in 1968, the Export “A” Cup, and the Shell Cup. The world cup was held at the RMSC again in 1988 (The Husky World Downhill). Additionally, the Red Mountain Racers held many different events at the Ski Hill over the years.
Many different professional athletes have trained and competed at and with the RMSC. Nancy Greene is a two-time winner of the World Cup (1967 and 1968 – winning the Giant Slalom) and an Olympic Champion (1968). She grew up in Rossland and was a member of the club. Kerrin Lee-Gartner, who won gold at the 1992 Olympics, grew up in the area and was a Red Mountain Racer.
In the 1980s, it was decided to sell the Ski Club as it was becoming much too large of an operation for volunteers to run. The RMSC and its facilities were bought by Eric Skat-Peters in 1989, though the Ski Club still ran until 1995.

Rossland School Board
Corporate body · 1895-[196?]

The Rossland School Board was the main administrator of Rossland’s schools since the first classes were held in 1895, in the Methodist Church. The School Board kept in contact with the Provincial Education Department, but were ultimately responsible for the schools administration, finances, and hiring decisions. Under their administration, the School Board built and operated Kootenay Avenue School/Rossland Public School (1896-1915), Central School (1898-1917), Cook Avenue School (1901-2002), MacLean School (1918-1981), and the Rossland High School/Rossland Secondary School (1951-2013). Rossland High School operated out of Cook Avenue School after the Rossland Public School closed and until the new high school was built in 1951. The name of the high school changed to the Rossland Secondary School sometime in the early/mid-1960s.

In 1960, the School Board merged with the Trail School District. Rossland’s schools are now under School District 20 (Kootenay-Columbia).

Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Corporate body · 1892-

As early as 1892, a traveling priest named Reverend Father Bedard visited the Rossland mining camp on his missionary circuit and conducted mass. Bedard was followed by Father Peylavin two years later in 1894. Father Lemay became the resident priest in 1895, and at this time mass was held wherever possible. The first Catholic Church in Rossland was built by a contractor named McCarthy in October 1895. A bell was installed in the tower in late 1900, after being shipped from England. In 1902, Father Welsh purchased land on the corner of Butte and Columbia to build a new church and turn the current church into a school. This plan was put on hold until 1915 when it was completed under the supervision and leadership of Father MacIntyre who replaced Father Welsh in 1912. Sacred Heart Catholic Church opened in 1915. The parish rectory was purchased in 1922. The Parish Hall was built across the street from the church in 1930. In the 1960s, the Father MacIntyre Centre (also called the Catechism Centre) was built beside the Parish Hall. In 1997, the priest position was reduced to part-time. Plans to renovate Sacred Heart Church and create a community multipurpose space were approved in 2012. The Parish Hall and Father MacIntyre Centre were sold in 2013 to pay for the renovations.

Corporate body · 1986-1987

In 1986 and 1987 there were numerous meetings held by the Jubilee Park and Playing Field committee concerning the proposed upgrade of the Jubilee Park for Rossland Secondary School (now Rossland Summit School). They proposed a slight leveling and raising of the field, a double soccer field, jogging track, tennis court, and basketball court. Cook Pickering & Doyle Ltd. surveyed and presented comments and recommendations on the geotechnical matters affecting improved drainage for the playing fields. Members of the advisory committee included Jean Cormack, Hugo Smecher, Lloyd McLellan, Harry Lefevre, Stan Fisher, Iain Martin, and Jack Richardson. Ultimately, the plans never went ahead, possibly due to lack of funding by the Ministry of Education.

Allan Hotel
Corporate body · 1896 – ca. 1960

In 1897, The Allan Hotel was built on the south-west corner of Columbia and Washington Streets by Mrs. M E Allan. Subsequent owners were Mrs. M E King (1905-1908) , Alexander W Smith and James Clarise Belton (1921) A Robert Stephens in 1922, (illegible writing) and Josh Buchewick (1958) Salty and Horace McCain (1960).

B.C. Police (Rossland, B.C.)
Corporate body · 1897-[ca. 1949]

While the British Columbia Provincial Police force dates back to C. 1850s, the first records of it in Rossland date from 1897 with gentleman from the area applying for jobs within the force. In 1911, J.D. McDonald was appointed the License and Police Commissioner for the city of Rossland.

Corporate body · 1896 - [ca. 2000]

The Bank of Montreal was opened in 1896 by A.H. Buchanan, who remained the manager until J.S.C. Fraser moved to the area. It was built by architect Francis Rattenbury, who also designed the Provincial Legislative Buildings. At its first conception in the area, BMO was in competition with four other banks in the area, Bank of British North America, Bank of Toronto, Marchant’s Bank of Halifax, and Bank of British Columbia. The building BMO was in had apartments above to house staff. The Rossland Branch was closed in 2000.

Rossland Club
Corporate body · [1898-1969]

The Rossland Club was established on November 12, 1896, on the second floor of Dr. Keller’s office on Columbia Avenue. James Sutherland Chisholm Fraser, manager of the Rossland branch of the Bank of Montreal was the first president of the club, accompanied by F.C. Loring as the vice-president and C.A. Cregan as the secretary-treasurer.

On December 1, 1897, the club moved to the former location of the Shaw Hotel on the west end of Columbia Avenue. The building consisted of three floors, all of which were utilized by the Rossland Club. By this time, the club had a membership of 125 and a developing reputation.

In 1899, membership had grown to such an extent that the Rossland Club found it necessary to build its own clubhouse. A new three-story clubhouse was built on the corner of Queen Street and Le Roi Avenue, costing $12,913.44 (approximately $500,000.00 in 2022).

Unfortunately, the building was destroyed on March 1, 1929, in “The Big Fire” which devastated much of Rossland’s business district. The Rossland Club received $14,500.00 (approximately $230,000.00 in 2022) as an insurance payout following the fire - most of which was used to pay off debts. Because of financial constraints and a declining membership, the Rossland Club decided not to rebuild after the fire. The land on which it stood was sold by the club to the West Kootenay Power & Light Company for $400.00 in 1929 (approximately $6,300.00 in 2022).

The club was inactive until July 1, 1931, when the remaining members decided to lease the second floor of the Cooper Block on 2059 Columbia Avenue. The club’s financial difficulties worsened after the fire and their once prestigious reputation began to fade. Despite a concerted effort to increase membership, by March 1950, only twenty-eight members remained in the club. One of the club’s efforts to increase membership was to begin hosting square dancing for members and their wives. Until then, women had not been allowed in the club. Wives, however, were only classed as ‘associate’ members and had no club privileges, no access to the club rooms at any time other than for square dancing, and were not allowed to consume alcohol on the premises. Unsurprisingly, the dances only attracted five new full members in 1952.

In December 1954, the club’s landlord informed the club that they would have to discontinue their square dancing events, meaning that women were no longer allowed in the club. For the entirety of the 1960s, the club was struggling to pay rent or attract new members, and by September 1969, they were asked to vacate their location in the Cooper Block. Following this, the club liquidated their assets and disbanded the organization.

Notable members included but not limited to: J.S.C. Fraser, John Kirkup, Walter H. Aldridge, Lorne A. Campbell, John Andrew Forin, Selwyn Blaylock, William K. Esling.

B.C. Mining School
Corporate body · [ca.1971]-1982

The B.C. Mining School in Rossland was original an open pit program at the Molybdenum mine on Red Mountain which started in June 1971. It was a twelve-week course, and the students were chosen by Canadian manpower. The students were typically from the metropolitan Vancouver area with an average education level of grade eight. Due to its success, an underground program was suggested, with the site of the school moving to the base of Kootenay Columbia Mountain. The first sixteen-week course started in October 1943. The school was to later produce the first open pit, and underground female worker. On fifth August 1981 newly arrived students came to the school to find a padlock on the door. The school was abruptly closed with little warning. The last open pit and underground classes had their graduation take place on third July 1981 and nineteenth June 1981. Multiple letters and resolutions were sent to the Minister of Education (later Minister of Energy Mines, and Petroleum Resources), Brian Smith (1975-1983), and many other ministers and organizations to try and reopen the school. This included a considerable amount of action was taken by Harry Lefevre.

There are multiple different reasons that were given for the student closure of the school, two of which being that (1) according to Smith, that the Canadian Employment & Immigration Commission refused to sponsor any more students after September 1981, and that, (2) according to Gerald Bell of Western Industrial Relations, major mining companies no longer wanted to employ graduates from the school. This, apparently, had nothing to do with the standard of teaching but rather that Canada Manpower had not carried about sufficient screening of potential students, which resulted in an excess of poor-quality students. Harry Lefevre attributed the closure to a breakdown in the financial support agreement between the Ministry of Education and Canadian Manpower.

Kokanee Derby
Corporate body · [ca. 1973]-[ca. 1990]

The Kokanee Derby was a club in the area for fishing and hunting. There were competitions for weight and game. They had meetings at the Rossland Club and some competitions at Big Sheep Creek.