Christina Lake History

Kettle Valley Express - Christina Lake History - 2016Kettle Valley Express - Christina Lake History - 2016

By the early 1890s prospecting had spilled over from Rossland into the Christina Lake region. There was much business in the area of Cascade, also known as Cascade City, including a local newspaper, the “Cascade Record”, at least five hotels, and the “Cascade Water Power & Light Co.”. Its dam and powerhouse provided power to nearby Grand Forks, Phoenix, and Greenwood and their industries. It was a marvel of its time, built on Nikola Tesla’s model of alternating current.

The construction of the railroads was vital for expansion of Cascade City and the surrounding area. The Columbia and Western Railway came over from Castlegar, down Farron, through Christina Lake, and reaching Grand Forks in Sept of 1899. Still present, the Cascade Cemetery was in use from 1897 to 1955 and held many colourful characters like Tim Sullivan. He died in 1898, shot while attempting to break his friend out of the local lockup. Others, like Sam Swanson, Sara Bullock, and Jens Skands, have a living link to Lake residents and landmarks.

The arrival of the railroad brought more permanent settlement to the region, and by the turn of the century Christina Lake had multiple town sites. Christina Lake first became a recreational area for day trippers from Grand Forks and Phoenix, who were able to make use of the new railroad to visit the lake. Dominion Day was a favourite holiday, with special excursion trains running from Grand Forks to Christina Lake.