This is an account of a West Kootenay village, New Denver, during its first decade. The almost instant creation of a mining rush, it began in a speculative frenzy, then grew much more slowly than its promoters has hoped. Yet, unlike most of the townsites created in the Slocan in the early 1890s, it survived the mining rush, and remains to this day a small, fascinating place.
Over the years, it has been situated, from a vantage point of some isolation, in the changing matrix that has been a modernizing British Columbia. People have come and gone. Few living in New Denver today are descended from the New Denverites of the 1890s. But that is when New Denver began, and we have sought to sketch the nature of New Denver during those first few years.
We have approached early New Denver primarily by examining its built form. We have wanted to know what this new settlement looked like, and to this end have relied on a photographic record that probably begins in September 1894. To the photographic record, we have added a thorough search of the early newspapers, insurance maps, and other documents for information about specific buildings. As would be expected, our sources yield a good deal about principal buildings, far less about ordinary houses. To this information we have added my grandfather J.C. Harris’s accounts, written in the 1940s, of the New Denver he first encountered in 1896 and of some of its principal inhabitants./p>