Did I mention that we like to travel along the backroads of British Columbia to experience the life and times of days gone by. We started our quest nearly 2 decades ago travelling to places not usually found on modern maps. Names of places such as Phoenix where there was a town on the top of a mountain, or Coalmont with a name like that you would expect that it had something to do with coal. Well, Coalmont was a whistle stop along the defunct Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). Or course all the tracks have been removed but they have turned the railbeds into a highway for cyclists. The steam engines used to stop at Coalmont to fill up with coal before their long trek through the mountains on their way to the Coast. There's not much there now except for a few crumbling buildings and an Old hotel/pub still used by the locals .
Sandon was one of those places that was nestled between 2 narrow mountains.
(access via a short 6 km gravel road)
Geographically Sandon is north of Creston. It is about a 12-14 hour drive from Vancouver in the Kootenays OR 4-5 hours East of Kelowna off Hwy 31A via the cable ferry at Needles.
(5 km marker)
Within this area are some of the best motorcycle roads in British Columbia. There is a very large BMW rally in Nakusp hosted by the BeeCeeBeemers.com BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club
The Sandon townsite is now privately owned, by a mining company I believe. At one time the population of Sandon was 5,000 residents. There were hotels, saloons and this was one of the first towns to have electricity.
(Sandon, main street)
There are still some residents living here but not much else is going on.
(business opportunity waiting for a buyer)
There is a preservation group working towards restoring some of the buildings. The museum was closed but generally open during the two summer months (tourist season).
(former: Japanese Tea House)
The winters are very harsh in this area due to this narrow valley. It is only about 1 km wide and during the winter months, with the low angle of the sun, makes for a very short window for sunshine to build up any heat. You were lucky to get 1 hour of sun daily, that is, if the sun came out at all. Sandon was a designated Japanese Interment Camp during the War. The Japanese were rounded up and taken to these camps away from the coast as a security measure. This building was used as their Tea House while they were here.
(another view showing the road up the mountain)
If you travel up the road near the top of the mountain, there is a hiking trail that will take you to the top with a commanding view of Slocan Lake.
(Museum: Sandon, BC)
Sandon was built up on both sides of the River. Actually the town was actually built "on top" of the river. There was a boardwalk over the river and buildings to both sides with foundations on the 'dirt' . This boardwalk was the "Main Street" which you see and hear the water flowing below.
This could be a fast moving river, at certain times of the year.
Imagine walking on the boardwalk over the river, sort of like a main street with stores on both sides with a population of 5,000. people
link here: <--- click for more info
One winter some beavers upstream built a dam which blocked the water flow. It was during the night and the residents didn't have any warning when the dam was holding back too much water and finally broke. The resulting rush of water created a sort of tidal wave which "wiped out" the town destroying everything.
Sandon was used as an Internment Camp for only ONE year as the winters were too severe
You can find more info here:
It is an interesting place and if you are in the area try to allow time for a visit.