Looking Down on Boundary

Boundary: BOOOM! Town

     Situated at the confluence of the Pend Oreille and the Columbia rivers in the very northern-most part of Stevens County, the town of Boundary made its mark. Boundary boomed in 1893 when D.C. Corbin brought in a fleet of 800 workmen, including many Chinese, to finish the railroad track from Northport to Waneta B.C. At the same time there was a crew building the Waneta bridge across the Pend Oreille River. The village grew in six months to a thriving community with a population of 1,200-1,500! "At that period the citizens led a strenuous life, and the place gained a rather unenviable notoriety on account of its many dance halls, saloons, gambling houses and resorts of immorality."(Statesmen Examiner, unknown date). Reports say that Boundary had twelve saloons. Other stories of how rowdy Boundary was, include a story of shots fired through the window of the local store and the next morning, the memory of juice running down the shelves from the wounds in the canned goods. In the mornings after rough nights out on the town you could find socks filled with two pounds of sand that had been used as primitive billy-clubs the night before.

     Boundary was in the midst of the action, they housed prospectors on the way to the mines in Nelson, B.C. and the Slocan Valley. Twice a week for fifteen years a small river steamer "49’er" came up the river from Northport , or in times of high water from Marcus to Revelstoke, B.C. Soon there was such a demand for shipping grain and cargo that another boat, the "Lyton", was added. In 1907 Joe Klass, owner of a hotel and saloon, said in the hey-days of Boundary, "The people up here are way are too busy making money to even think of hard times." However, the boom only lasted six months and just as quick as they came, they left, taking their business with them. Most of the buildings were torn down and brought to the next boom town of Rossland, B.C. By 1905 Boundary’s population was a mere 65 people. The town was still a railroad stop and housed a post office and a few lingering businesses. One of these businesses was the Fort Shepard Hotel, built just across the border from Boundary.

High times at the Boundary Hotel

     The Fort Shepard Hotel was built during the railroad boom and housed everyone from miners to school teachers. After the boom was over it stayed dormant until prohibition. Since the Hotel was situated on the Canadian side of the border it became a headquarters for the traffic of illegal booze into the United States. The owner was nicknamed "Fort Shepard John". After Prohibition the last hoorah of the hotel was during the construction of the Waneta Dam in the late 1950’s. The hotel housed construction workers and changed its name to the Hotel Atoll. There was a sign over the door that said, "No women atoll, No whiskey atoll, Not (a) Damn thing atoll. The Hotel Atoll."

 

Railroad Bridge over the Pend Orielle River

 

A Failed Romance

     This is a true story about a school teacher who taught near Boundary, WA

     "The current schoolmarm was boarding at the hotel, when a young fellow boarder (Charlie Locinvar) became the target of Cupid’s arrow! Finding that his advances were failing to make an impression, he came up with a sure-fire plan to gain her attention.

     The Plan: Invite the girl to go for a boat ride on Deep Lake; at the right moment tip the boat over—and save the young lady’s life. What girl could resist such a hero!

     The young lady rather reluctantly accepted his invitation, upon which Charlie borrowed a rowboat, and saw his scheme off to a good start. Seizing the opportune moment, the young man upset the boat, which immediately sank, leaving the two passengers floundering in the icy water! The teacher struck out for shore, but Charlie, struggling with the heavy logging boots he had forgotten to change, was calling for help! With the aid of the young woman and a near-by fisherman, a tragedy was averted, but for Lochinvar, his romance was over!"