I have a habit of taking random side roads “just because”… They don’t always turn up anything interesting but there are exceptions.
With a sign pointing to an old mining community I couldn’t resist and a couple of kilometres later, along a dirt road that tracked along a raging river, a ghost town appeared in front of me. Lined with rusty old Brill trolly cars dating back to the early 1900’s, and a large steam train painted pitch black and striking against the snow and pines. Sandon was an old silver-lead ore mining town back in the late 1800’s and considered the Monte Carlo of North America by the 1890’s. Little of this is now apparent with most of the old buildings having been destroyed in fires and floods. What remains is in the process of being restored with a vibrant red hydro power plant (the first of its kind in the region), and equally striking Slocan Mercantile Block and old fire hall. The restoration process has been a long running, since the 1970’s, and reliant on volunteers.
A look around town
The old Brill trolleys are amazing… so many, each with their own unique history of how they came to be there and their stories whilst in service. The knowledge of the local custodian, who lives in a romantically rustic accommodation at bottom of the village, has a remarkable knowledge of such things, and very happy to share it.
The character in the site is a mix of shabby chic and and junkyard… but it’s a fantastic glimpse into what was a thriving community of great significance in the late 19th century. Another happy diversion from an otherwise meandering road-trip…