THE COURIER OF THE PAST~Pioneer Stores Of The Tulameen and The Town of Opportunity

The original Coalmont Courier was first published in April of 1912. It cost five cents and came out on Mondays. It is unfortunate, but there were only 25 editions printed before they closed. The office was located on Main street just East of Parrish and from what I can tell it was on the same lot as Cook’s new store.

Volume 1 Number 11, from July 8 1912 carried this advertisment:

The Pioneer Stores of the Tulameen
We were here in the gold rush of the ’80’s, and we’re still doing business at the same old stand.

F. P. COOK

Princeton, Granite Creek, and Coalmont
THREE
SEPARATE
STORES

The building is completed and we will shortly open our general store at Coalmont with an entirely new range of high-class goods in every department from footwear to stove polish, dry goods, miners’ out- fits, a full line of groceries and provisions, hardware etc., etc. It’s pretty hard to ask for something we haven’t got or can’t get on short notice.

Foxcrowle P. Cook was obviously an intrepid merchant, having started in Granite Creek during the gold rush, and then moving on to Coalmont and Princeton to follow the money.

Even in 1912, only two years after the inception of Coalmont, there was quite a lot of business conducted here. In the same editon of the paper there was, among others, the following advertisments for business here:

H. J. Evans
Painter and Decorator

Gabe’s Poolroom
Main Street

D.R. Boucher
Architect

Lin Kee Laundry
offering “first class work at moderate prices”

Jack Kearns
Tonsorial Artist, Facial Operator, Physiognomical Hair Dresser, Cranium Manipulator, and Capillary Abridger,
Shaves and Cuts Hair with Ambidextrous facility
Coalmont

Where else? That just goes to show that we have always had unusual characters in our town. Of course, we don’t know if Mr. Kearns ever got any business. However, apart from a desire to blast gophers, it seems that people had much the same needs as nowadays. I found ads for the following goods and services: Mica Axle Grease; NA-DRU-CO Laxative; DRINK HABIT CURED in 3 days; Dodds Kidney Pills; The Benett Portable Typewriter available for $25 in BC from E.N. Clark in Coalmont; and Gopher Rifles starting at 2 dollars.

Judging from the numerous hotel advertisments, it would also appear that there was much need for temporary lodging. No doubt the mining industry brought in a lot of newcomers but also attracted to the area were, in the words of the paper, “capitalists, prospectors, and business men”. Local establishments included places such as: Hotel Otter Flat, Tulameen Hotel, and Similkameen Hotel. Also still operating was the Granite Creek Hotel. Quite new was the Coalmont Hotel which had something you don’t see nowadays – a reading room.

This was a fast growing town. Apparently the Coalmont Courier was circulating several hundred copies in Vancouver and Victoria which probably contributed considerably to the attention drawn here.

The Columbia Coke and Coal Co. Limited were advertising Coalmont as “The Town of Opportunity” at the centre of the coal and mineral belt and they were offering residential and business lots for sale as investment and speculation.

Columbia Coke & Coal Co. advertisement

Unfortunately the Coalmont Courier only ran for 14 more issues. It looks like they missed two issues in that time because the last one was number 25 and published Monday October 28 1912, sixteen weeks later. I’m not surprised. In the words of the editor: “…one lone hand can hardly set an eight-page paper and get out on time.”

The headline read “Pray for the soul of the Coalmont Courier and preserve this last issue”. The main story was titled “An Apology and a Statement”. That story, written by the editor, gives an interesting perspective from the lone employee who, judging by the opinions he dared voice, was probably planning to leave town.

More on that story in the next issue of the New COALMONT COURIER.