The Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Company at Nelson, BC

By Jonathan J. Kalmakoff

In the era of coal and wood, residents and businesses of Nelson relied on transfer companies[i] to sell and deliver these fuels by horse-drawn wagon to their premises for heating, cooking and power. One such transfer was the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co, communally owned and operated by the Doukhobors between 1913 and 1926. This article examines the history of this long-forgotten local enterprise.

Background

In the early 20th century, the main source of fuel for Nelsonites was wood and coal,[ii] which was burned for heating in fireplaces and pot belly stoves or for cooking in cast iron kitchen stoves. By the 1910s, newer homes and commercial buildings were equipped with radiators connected by pipes to a basement boiler that burnt coal or wood to produce steam heat. Buildings of the era had little insulation, were drafty and required constant heating outside of summer. Local industries such as Hall Smelter, Nelson Iron Works and Kootenay Engineering Works also burnt large volumes of coal and wood to power their operations.

Wood burning stove in British Columbia, early 20th century. BC Archives, F-05038.

At the start of 1913, there were two main transfer companies supplying retail wood and coal in the city –the Kootenay Ice & Fuel Co. and West Transfer Co.[iii] However, another competitor was poised to enter the market.

Doukhobor Sawmills & Wood-Waste

Between 1908 and 1913, the Doukhobor Society purchased 10,611 acres of heavily forested land in West Kootenay.[iv] As the Doukhobors communally cleared each tract for fruit-growing, they established a mill to saw the logs into lumber to build villages.[v] By the start of 1913, the Society had 7 mills running at Brilliant, Ootischenia, Pass Creek, Glade, Crescent Valley and Champion Creek, collectively sawing several million feet of lumber a year.[vi]

These logging and milling operations, like others of the time, generated wood waste[vii] such as slabs (the first piece sawn off the face of a log, sawn on one side, rounded on the other), board ends (ends of boards cut off by the sawmill trimmer to cut boards to standard length) and cordwood (logs too small to saw into lumber) as well as tree bark, wood shavings, sawdust, low-grade or rejected cuts, etc.

Group of Doukhobor men at Community sawmill near Nelson, c. 1913. BC Archives, E-00719.

The Doukhobors utilized much of this waste wood as heating fuel in their communal homes and industries. And by 1910, they were selling the surplus for profit. Cordwood was rafted down the Columbia River to Trail and sold to the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Co. to fuel its blast furnaces, while wood slabs were sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) for snow fences.[viii] Recognizing the revenue potential from this otherwise waste byproduct, the Doukhobor Society began seeking opportunities to expand its market.

That opportunity came with the Nelson general strike of 1913.

Business Acquisition

On April 1, 1913, the unionized tradesmen of Nelson (machinists, electricians, bricklayers, painters, pipe-layers, quarrymen, carpenters, teamsters, etc.) went on a city wide strike, demanding higher wages and the institution of an eight-hour workday.[ix] For the next 14 days, Nelson ground to a halt, leading, among other things, to a serious fuel situation as citizens were practically without heat for days.[x] 

One of the many affected businesses was the Kootenay Ice & Fuel Co., whose teamsters were among the strikers. Unable to pay the wages asked for, the company was forced out of business on account of the labour disturbance. Consequently, on April 7, 1913, at the height of the strike, the company sold its wood and coal business for cash to Peter V. Verigin, acting for the Doukhobor Society.[xi]

The Doukhobor fuel business purchase made front page headlines in the Nelson Daily News, April 7, 1913.

The Doukhobors purchased the company assets, including: 6 teams of horses, wagons, sleds, harness and tools; .80 acre coal and wood yard in the CPR Flats (now 29 Government Rd) with buildings and bunkers;[xii] leased wood-stacking sites across the city; office lease and fixtures in the Allan Building at Ward and Baker St; the goodwill of the business, including its different industrial clients and a very large number of residential patrons.[xiii] Coal supply contracts with mines and the lucrative Galt coal agency were also included.[xiv] The deal was put through by Nelson realtors Konstantine Popoff and Henry H. Crofts.

The Doukhobor Society took immediate possession of the business. The next morning on April 8, 1913, a large number of Doukhobors from Brilliant arrived in the city to commence wood and coal deliveries, thus alleviating the fuel situation to the great relief of Nelsonites.[xv] Despite delivering many loads, by midday, their office was flooded with orders to the point that deliveries could not be guaranteed for up to 3 days.[xvi]

Company Formation, 1913

In the days that followed, the new business was organized as the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co.,[xvii] an unincorporated subsidiary of the Doukhobor Society (after 1917, Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, Ltd. or CCUB). While wholly-owned and controlled by its parent company, the subsidiary maintained its own business identity, with head office, officers, staff and employees, books and records, letterhead, cheques, invoices and advertisements. Its assets, however, were registered in the name of Peter V. Verigin until 1917, and thereafter, under the federally-incorporated parent company.

Letterhead of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co., c. 1917. Mary Shukin/ISKRA Publications Collections.

Peter V. Verigin was named president and John W. Sherbinin business manager of the new company.[xviii] Henry H. Crofts[xix] was engaged as secretary-treasurer and office manager.[xx] Some 10 or so Doukhobors were seasonally stationed at Nelson as labourers and drivers.[xxi] Within a month of its formation, the company moved offices to the more commodious McCulloch Block at 371-77 Baker St.[xxii]

McCulloch Block (two-story stone structure, right) on Baker Street, Nelson, c. 1930. From May 1913 to May 1914, it housed the business office of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. Touchstones Nelson, 92.95.084.

This was not the Doukhobors’ first commercial business venture in Nelson. In April 1911, the Society purchased the Kootenay Jam Co. factory at 601 Front St. and commenced a large-scale canning and preserving enterprise as the Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works, producing the famous ‘K.C. Brand’ jams.[xxiii]

Products

From the outset, the company offered a variety of fuel products. Wood from Doukhobor Society sawmills included fir, tamarack, cedar and birch cordwood in 4-foot, 16-inch and 12-inch lengths; 4-foot or 16-inch slabs; and board ends.[xxiv] Bituminous and anthracite coal from the Galt Coal Co. and Chinook Coal Co. Ltd. mines at Lethbridge and Canada West Coal Co. mine at Taber, AB came in nut, stove and lump sizes.[xxv]

As well, it sold fence posts from the Doukhobor sawmills[xxvi] and feed oats and hay grown at outlying Doukhobor settlements.[xxvii] It offered general cartage service, transporting goods for hire (typically from the CPR and GNR freight depots to their final destination) within the city.[xxviii] Building contracting was also carried out.[xxix]

Earliest advertisement for the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co., Nelson Daily News, August 30, 1913.

Coal was sold by weight (imperial ton) and wood by measure (cord or rick) as was customary. The company sold these at prevailing local prices.[xxx] However, its costs were markedly lower than its competitors, since its wood cost only the freight charges, its coal was purchased bulk wholesale directly from the mines, and its communal labour force did not receive wages. It thus enjoyed a wider profit margin. 

Operations

Coal was shipped in by railcar from Alberta on the CPR Crow’s Nest line. Each car held 30-50 tons.[xxxi] On arriving at the CPR Flats in Nelson, the cars were spotted (parked) on the rail siding that ran behind the coal bunkers in the company yard. Using steel shovels and wheelbarrows, Doukhobor workmen unloaded the coal from the cars into the bunkers, which held 1,000 tons or 20-30 carloads of coal.

Similarly, wood from the Doukhobor sawmills arrived by railcar on the CPR Nelson & Slocan Branch.[xxxii] Each car carried 15-18 cords of wood.[xxxiii] Once spotted on the siding, the cars were unloaded and the wood stacked in the company yard or conveyed to its wood-stacking sites throughout the city. Cordwood arrived in 4-foot lengths and a saw was used in the yard to cut it into 12 and 16-inch lengths for delivery.[xxxiv]

Bulk hay and feed oats from outlying Doukhobor settlements were also brought in by rail in this manner.

View of the CPR Flats, Nelson, 1915. At centre right is the CPR station and freight sheds. Behind the sheds is the rail siding running beside the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. yard (circled white). A long wood stack can be seen in the yard, to the right of which are the coal bunkers (extreme right, partially visible). Additional wood stacks are on either side of the bunkers. Behind the stacks is the foreman’s dwelling house. The large brick warehouse is not yet constructed. The small building to the left of the rail siding is the city scales. Greg Nesteroff Collection.

As the stockpiles were continually drawn down by customer deliveries, the yard foreman requisitioned new shipments to replenish them. During peak heating season, the coal bunkers could be completely emptied within 24 days, with railcars of new coal being unloaded on an almost daily basis.[xxxv] 

Customer fuel orders were placed with Henry H. Crofts at the business office, who also handled cash transactions. Residential orders were made year-round, with the highest volume in September-October before winter. An average family of 6 Nelsonites burned 8-24 cords of wood or 5-16 tons of coal annually.[xxxvi] Industrial orders were continuous, with large industrial clients consuming up to 1-4 tons of coal daily.[xxxvii]

The orders were relayed to the CPR Flats yard, where a teamster was dispatched by wagon in summer, or sleigh in winter, to make each delivery. The teamster drew up his conveyance and either shoveled a ton of coal from the bunkers, or stacked a half-cord or 2-3 ricks of wood from the stacks, to load it to capacity.[xxxviii] Coal loads were weighed at the adjacent city scales to confirm tonnage. The loaded team was then driven to the customer premises.  

Konstantine P. Verigin, foreman of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. yard in the CPR Flats, with sons Kay and Peter, on a wagon used to deliver coal and wood. These horses were named ‘Prince’ and ‘Albert’. Photo taken in early 1920s beside the large brick warehouse at the yard. Mary Shukin/ISKRA Publications Collections.

Most residential customers had their own wood or coal bins. The former was typically in the backyard while the latter was in the basement, accessible by a cast-iron door at the house backyard wall. The Doukhobor teamster drew up his wagon/sleigh and either unloaded and stacked the wood in the bin, or dumped the coal through the coal door using a chute attached to the wagon/sleigh box.     

A loaded wagon/sleigh team travelled an average speed of 4 miles per hour, and each team had a daily capacity of 7-14 loads of coal or wood over a one-mile distance (the length of the city).[xxxix] The company fleet of 6 teams, therefore, was capable of delivering up to 42-84 loads of coal or wood a day.[xl] Throughout the day, the teams of horses had to be regularly fed, watered and rested.

When not in use, wagons and sleighs were kept in the implement shed and the horses in the barn (sarai) at the CPR Flats yard. An open portion of the yard was used for walking and exercising the horses. An ample supply of hay and feed oats for the horses was stored in the barn. The blacksmith shop (kuznya) was used to keep the horses shoed and the wagons, sleighs and harnesses in good repair.

The Doukhobor teamsters initially stayed in a tiny house in the CPR Flats (now 79 Government Rd), a few lots west of the coal and wood yard, purchased in April 1911 for Doukhobor jam factory workers in Nelson.[xli] The house could not accommodate them all and a number of men slept in a tent.[xlii]  

Once-common cast-iron coal door on the outside wall of a building leading to the basement coal bins. B.S. Malley.

Business manager John W. Sherbinin played a pivotal role in the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. As he was also manager of the Doukhobor Society sawmills, he coordinated the supply of waste wood generated by the mills with the demand for firewood sales by the company.

President Peter V. Verigin made routine trips from Brilliant to Nelson to oversee the fuel company.[xliii] During his stays, the Doukhobor leader counseled the office manager and yard foreman on day-to-day matters, examined the ledger and account books, and provided overall business direction.

Business Agency

In March 1914, Henry H. Crofts left the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. amid the dissolution of his Popoff & Crofts real estate partnership.[xliv] The timing of his departure was problematic, as a new competitor, MacDonald Cartage & Fuel Co., had just entered the Nelson market.[xlv] Fortunately, he was quickly replaced by another Nelson realtor, Charles F. McHardy, on April 1, 1914.[xlvi]

Realtor, insurance agent and Mayor of Nelson in 1921-1922, Charles F. McHardy served as business agent of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. from May 1914 to July 1919. Touchstones Nelson SM1999-001-003.

McHardy was no stranger to the Doukhobors, having sold them his 1,270-acre ranch in Crescent Valley in October 1911.[xlvii] He was instrumental in the Doukhobor Society joining the Kootenay Fruit Growers Union in April 1912[xlviii] and testified on their behalf at the Doukhobor Royal Commission hearings in Nelson in September 1912.[xlix] Active and popular in the city, he was well-suited to represent their fuel business.

McHardy moved the company office to his real estate office in the Green Block at 512-14 Ward St.[l] Engaged on an agency commission basis, he was motivated to work hard and grow the company. He launched a major advertising campaign, placing over 100 ads a year in the Daily News[li] that succeeded in not only retaining the patronage of old customers, but in securing many new ones. His bookkeeper Gilbert Arneson also regularly assisted with the fuel business.[lii]     

Green Block on Ward Street, Nelson, 1955. From May 1914 until July 1919, it housed the office of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. run by business agent C.F. McHardy. Touchstones Nelson, SM Stevens.

Wartime Boom

The outbreak of the Great War in August 1914 saw the price of wood, coal and other commodities in Nelson skyrocket. As the world’s demand for coal and wood rose in wartime, so did its price in the local market, with wood soaring from $5.00 to $7.00 a cord and coal from $8.00 to $10.00 a ton – an increase of 40 percent.[liii] Wartime also resulted in higher wages and lower unemployment, with Nelsonites having more money to spend on these commodities than usual as the local standard of living increased.

Increased wartime demand and high prices led to a boom in sales for the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co., enabling it to reap bonanza profits. This spurred a substantial expansion of the company between fall 1914 and spring 1917 through a series of building projects and land purchases.

Company advertisement after the outbreak of the First World War, Nelson Daily News, December 21, 1914.
  • Downtown

To accommodate Peter V. Verigin’s frequent business visits to Nelson in connection with the company, a large two-story residence was purchased at 509 Falls St in November-December 1914 to serve as his stopping house.[liv] Anton F. and Polya Strelaeff of Glade were selected to serve as its caretakers and as the Doukhobor leader’s personal attendants during his visits. The house was conveniently located a five-minute buggy ride away from the coal and wood yard in the CPR Flats.

View of house at 509 Falls St (upper circle) relative to the CPR Flats yard (partially visible lower circle), c. 1913. Greg Nesteroff Collection.

A comprehensive history of this house has been published by Greg Nesteroff as Little-known Nelson heritage buildings: 120 Vernon St.

  • CPR Flats

In December 1914, Peter V. Verigin selected Konstantine P. Verigin, his step-father Michael A. Bawoolin and their family to resettle from Glade to Nelson to communally operate the CPR Flats yard, with Konstantine serving as yard foreman.[lv]

To house the family, a one-story dwelling (dom) was constructed at the CPR Flats yard in early 1915.[lvi] It had 3 bedrooms, a living room and special room (gornitsa) reserved for Peter V. Verigin when he visited.[lvii] The cellar housed a bakery kitchen (pekarnya) with wood stove and large brick oven for the family’s private use when there were no other guests at the yard, which was rare.[lviii]

View of coal and wood yard in the CPR Flats, c. 1920. At center, the large brick warehouse; the small white building to the left of the warehouse is the office; the long low building at left (behind wood piles) is the coal bunkers; in front of the bunkers (extreme left, partially visible) is the barn; between the barn and bunkers is the blacksmith shop (not visible); to the right in the center foreground is the communal kitchen and workers’ quarters; further right from the kitchen is the steam bathhouse; between the bathhouse and foreman’s dwelling (extreme right, partially visible) is the apiary. Mary Shukin/ISKRA Publications Collections.

Across from the house, a steam bathhouse (banya) was built for the family and visitors.[lix] It consisted of two parts: in one room all the clothing and linens were washed by hand by Konstantine’s wife Dasha and mother Hanyusha, and in the other was the steam bath.[lx] During his stays in Nelson, Peter V. Verigin often came to visit the family and enjoy the cleansing, relaxing and rejuvenating vapors of the bathhouse.[lxi]

A large two-story wood structure was erected between 1915-1917.[lxii] On the ground floor was a communal kitchen (obshchinnaya kukhnya) with cooking and dining area, and on the upper floor were sleeping quarters (khvateri).[lxiii] It housed labourers from outlying Doukhobor settlements who worked at the yard during peak heating season, such as Konstantine’s brother-in-law Eli D. Poznikoff of Ootischenia[lxiv], Andrei S. Fofonoff of Shoreacres, and many others. Doukhobor travellers who came to Nelson on business matters or to see a doctor also stayed there.[lxv] Dasha Verigin and Hanyusha Bawoolin cooked on its wood-burning stove and hosted the guests.[lxvi]

Peter V. Verigin, as company president and batyushka (caring ‘father’ figure) of the Community, was not adverse to involving himself with the minutiae of his members’ lives. In the case of those seeking medical treatment in Nelson, he had no issue with paying their costs and providing accommodations at the yard during their stay, but he ensured they were not a drain on the Community by requiring them to work off the costs of their stay and treatment with their labour. For example, in a letter to yard foreman Konstantine P. Verigin dated November 18, 1915, the Doukhobor leader wrote, “My dear friend Kostya, The bearer of this letter, Andrei Fofanoff, wishes to treat (heal) his teeth. Let Anton (Strelaeff) take him to the doctor (dentist). But you are to give him work for as long as he requires to treat his teeth. During this time he will be employed. Wishing you all the blessings of the Lord. P.V.”

November 18, 1915 correspondence from Doukhobor leader Peter V. Verigin to CPR Flats yard foreman Konstantine P. Verigin advising that Andrei Fofanoff of Shoreacres would stay at the yard during his dental treatment and be employed there to cover the costs. Translated from the original Russian by Jonathan J. Kalmakoff with the generous assistance of Wendy Voykin. Courtesy Lucille Ostrikoff.

Between 1915-1917, a large two-story 40’ x 75’ brick warehouse (sklad) with full concrete basement, high ceilings and a sheet iron roof was built in the yard.[lxvii] The bricks used to construct it were made at the Doukhobor Society brickworks in Grand Forks and shipped by rail to Nelson.[lxviii] It was mainly used for storing feed oats and hay for use by the company and for resale.[lxix] After October 1917, it was also used as a fruit depot managed by Anton F. Strelaeff for the Doukhobor jam factory.[lxx]

A large communal vegetable garden and 16-hive apiary was also established at the coal and wood yard to help feed the Verigin and Bawoolin families and their many guests.[lxxi]  

Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. cheque dated January 20, 1916 signed by manager J.W. Sherbinin for the sum of $50.00 made to Kost (Konstantine) Verigin, yard foreman, CPR Flats. Mary Shukin/ISKRA Publications Collections.

Finally, in June 1915, Peter V. Verigin bought the adjoining half-acre lot (now 45 Government Rd) west of the yard from Konstantine Popoff.[lxxii] Verigin had earlier purchased a portion of the lot from Popoff to build a wooden warehouse for the Doukhobor jam factory in April 1911.[lxxiii] However, by March 1915, the jam factory relocated to Brilliant[lxxiv] and the fuel company took over the warehouse to store livestock feed. The remainder of the lot was used for wood-stacking, eliminating the need for leased stacking sites elsewhere.   

  • Mountain Station

Steep increases in bulk wholesale prices and aggravating shortages of Alberta coal during wartime drove the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. to diversify its supply sources.

Peter V. Verigin shrewdly realized that lignite coal could be purchased from Wyoming and brought in on the Great Northern Railway (GNR) Marcus-Nelson line for 75¢ to $1.00 a ton cheaper, in spite of duty and freight charges.[lxxv] The GNR freight depot at Mountain Station, however, was located at the opposite end of Nelson from the company yard in the CPR Flats.  

The Great Northern Railway ‘Mountain Station’ overlooking Nelson, c. 1915. Touchstones Nelson, SM1987_145_007.

To this end, Verigin purchased a 1.75 acre lot (bounded by Hall, Hendryx, Gore and Innes St) on the GNR right-of-way south of Mountain Station from Charles F. McHardy in January 1915.[lxxvi] Over the next 2 years, a second coal and wood yard was developed at this location. The Wasyl F. Kootnikoff family of Brilliant was selected to operate the yard, with Wasyl as foreman and sons William and Nick driving horses.

A one-and-a-half-story dwelling (dom) was constructed at the yard (now 710 Gore St) to house the family.[lxxvii] It had 3 bedrooms, a living room and a special room (gornitsa) where Peter V. Verigin stayed when he visited. Additional sleeping quarters (khvateri) were located in the attic for seasonal workers. A steam bathhouse (banya) was built near the house for the family and workers.[lxxviii]

South of the house, a large two-story 40’ x 30’ wooden warehouse (sklad) was constructed with 500-ton coal bunkers, stables for the horse teams and hay loft for feed.[lxxix] Nearby an implement shed was erected to house wagons and sleighs transferred there from the CPR Flats yard.[lxxx] A large portion of the yard to the south of the buildings was used for wood-stacking.

Communal vegetable gardens were grown on the remaining vacant lots by Wasyl’s wife Tanya and daughter-in-law Tanya, as well as by Dasha Verigin, Hanyusha Bawoolin and Polya Strelaeff, who would catch the street car from the Hudson Bay Co. store on Baker St to go and work in these gardens.[lxxxi]

With the establishment of the second company yard, customer orders placed with Charles F. McHardy at the business office in the Green Block were dispatched to either the CPR Flats yard or Mountain Station yard, depending on the product requested and the customer location.

Fire insurance map of the Mountain Station coal and wood yard, August 1923. At the top is the yard foreman dwelling and wagon shed at 710 Gore St. The patch added below the dwelling in May 1932 covers the the coal warehouse and stables destroyed in August 1930. British Columbia Fire Underwriters Association.

Commencing in the winter of 1916-1917, coal from the Wyoming Coal Co. mine at Monarch and Carney Coal Co. mine at Carneyville, Wyoming arrived by railcar to Mountain Station, where the cars were spotted on a side track,[lxxxii] unloaded and carted to the warehouse in the yard.[lxxxiii] Despite its lower heating value, the company sold the cheaper American coal at prevailing local prices with a significant profit margin.  

From spring 1917 onwards, the Mountain Station yard also began receiving railcars of wood from the Doukhobor Society’s new sawmill operations on the GNR Salmo-Nelson line.

Company advertisement for Wyoming and other coal varieties, Nelson Daily News, October 31, 1917.

The one drawback of the yard was that the city scales were located in the CPR Flats. This significantly increased the distance and travel time for each delivery of coal from the yard, since it first had to be driven across town to be weighed. Charles F. McHardy thus began lobbying the City of Nelson on behalf of the company to have it install a second set of scales at that point.[lxxxiv]

  • City of Trail

Building on its commercial success at Nelson, the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. opened another branch in the City of Trail. In November 1914, Peter V. Verigin purchased 4 lots on the corner of Bay Ave and Eldorado St where the company erected a large brick warehouse, coal and wood bunkers, and store the following year.[lxxxv] Managed by Sam A. and Wasyl W. Lazareff, it sold coal and wood, hay and feed oats, lumber and building supplies and carried out building contracting.[lxxxvi]

Coal and wood yard on Bay Avenue, Trail, BC, 1920. Prairie Towns.

The history of the Trail branch of the company will be chronicled in a separate article by the writer.

  • Wood Supply

At the outbreak of the Great War, the Doukhobor Society still had five sawmills in operation at Brilliant, Ootischenia, Pass Creek, Glade and Crescent Valley supplying waste wood to its fuel subsidiary in Nelson. These were small to mid-sized operations at the time, with 10,000-35,000 board foot-per-day capacity.

However, in response to soaring wartime lumber prices, the Doukhobor Society launched several new commercial sawmill operations at Koch Siding in January 1916,[lxxxvii] Porto Rico Siding in January 1917[lxxxviii] and Hall Siding in May 1917.[lxxxix] These were large-scale operations with 30,000-60,000 board foot-per-day capacity, vastly increasing the volume of wood available to the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. to sell. 

Doukhobor Timber Tract Purchase at Porto Rico, reported in the Nelson Daily Times, January 24, 1917.

Now having multiple supply points, each company yard received wood from the mills in closest proximity so as to minimize rail transport distances and rates. The Mountain Station yard was supplied by the Porto Rico Siding and Hall Siding mills, the CPR Flats yard by the Koch Siding mill, and the Trail yard by the remainder.

Peak of Success

For a three year period between fall 1914 and summer 1917, the wartime boom and high profits propelled the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. to become the largest, most successful fuel business in Nelson. Indeed, by summer 1917, its three wood and coal yards, including stock, buildings, vehicles, equipment and livestock, were valued at $30,000.00 (over half a million dollars today).[xc]

There are no available records of company revenues at this time. However, taking into accounts its daily delivery capacity and local prices, the Nelson branch may have earned as much as $8,820.00 in coal or $3,087.00 in wood gross revenue per month in the 1916-1917 heating season.[xci] As its profit relative to cost was small for coal but very high for wood, the company’s profit from this same gross revenue may have been in the neighbourhood of $882.00 for coal or $2,778.30 for wood per month ($15,500.00 or $49,000.00 a month, respectively, today).[xcii]   

The success of the Doukhobor fuel company was a remarkable feat in itself. Even moreso that it was a spin-off subsidiary, generating a significant secondary revenue stream from the wood waste produced by the core CCUB sawmilling and lumber operations, which were also experiencing a boom.

However, this success was not to last. Social factors outside of the company’s control would lead to challenging times ahead.

Rising Wartime Anti-Doukhobor Sentiment

From the onset of the Great War, Doukhobors in Nelson encountered discrimination because of their refusal to actively participate in the war effort.[xciii] Yet it was the enactment of conscription in Canada in September 1917 that drew particularly intense backlash against them.[xciv] The idea of pacifists prospering during the war, owing to high wartime prices and their large military-exempt pool of men, aroused popular resentment at a time when hundreds of Nelsonites were being drafted to fight overseas.[xcv]

In December 1915, the Nelson Board of Trade passed a resolution to tax Doukhobor ‘aliens’ declaring it an “outrage that a large body of men should be living in our midst and enjoying every privilege and protection of the country without contributing once cent to the cause.” Daily News, 1915.10.12.

The recent (and in hindsight, ill-timed) expansion of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. only heightened this resentment among Nelsonites. It now seemed to matter little in the court of public opinion that the Doukhobor fuel business was playing a critical role in heating and powering the local home front.

Despite its reputation for honest, reliable and prompt service, by the winter of 1917-1918, the company began to lose customers who, caught up in the jingoistic fervor, sought wood and coal from other more ‘patriotic’ and ‘Canadian’ companies. At the same time, new competitors sprang up to challenge the besieged company such as Irwin’s Transfer & Storage and D.A. McFarland.[xcvi]

It was probably no coincidence that around this time, Nelson City Council voted against installing another set of weigh scales up the hill at Mountain Station for the Doukhobor fuel company, despite the civic revenue it stood to gain by doing so.[xcvii] This effectively ended the long-term prospects of the Mountain Station yard as a coal depot, which ceased to bring in American coal after the 1917-1918 heating season.[xcviii]

To make matters yet worse, the company lost its prized Galt coal franchise to business rival West Transfer Co. in late 1917, forfeiting its most popular and highest-selling coal brand.[xcix] The reason for the agency cancellation is not known; it may have been in retaliation for the company’s importation of cheaper American coal, or it might perhaps have been fueled by anti-Doukhobor sentiment.

By late 1917, business agent C.F. McHardy ceased using the company name on fuel advertising amidst rising anti-Doukhobor sentiment and patriotic fervor. Nelson Daily News, November 14, 1917.

Against this backlash, Charles F. McHardy remained on good terms with the Doukhobors, selling the CCUB his 20-acre ranch at Shoreacres in September 1917.[c] He continued to serve as agent of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. However, he would find it increasingly difficult to navigate between that role and the rest of his business and civic career.

In November 1917, McHardy joined the Nelson Victory Bonds Committee to sell bonds to finance Canada’s war effort.[ci] Within days, he publicly distanced himself from the pacifist Doukhobor company by dropping its name from his fuel advertising.[cii] Over the next 20 months, he continued to advertise and sell company wood and coal under his own name.[ciii] Finally, in July 1919, after having been elected city alderman at the height of wartime anti-Doukhobor sentiment in Nelson, McHardy left the company.[civ]

Post-War Operations

After the Great War, the Nelson economy struggled in a global post-war recession, as prices for lumber, ore and other commodities plummeted. Despite this, local prices for heating coal and wood remained buoyant and even increased. In 1921, coal sold for $10.00-13.00 a ton and wood for $6.00-9.50 a cord,[cv] while in 1923 coal sold for $10.50-13.00 a ton and wood for $7.50-10.00 a cord.[cvi]

With high post-war prices, new companies flooded the Nelson wood and coal market. These included Minnis Transfer & Fuel Co., Olynyk Fuel & Transfer Co., Fairview Fuel & Teaming Co., Haggart & Son, A. Balcom, Fred Williams Transfer and Nelson Transfer Co. Ltd.[cvii] that vied with Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co., West Transfer Co., MacDonald Cartage & Fuel Co. and D.A. McFarland for business.

For its part, the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. emerged from the war battered but not broken. It lost a sizeable portion of the Nelson market, its business reputation was unfairly tarnished, and it no longer had a downtown office presence. Nevertheless, it retained enough customers to remain viable on a reduced scale. From thereon, it was one of a number of mid-sized transfer companies in the city.

After July 1919, the company no longer retained an outside business agent and managed its own customer orders and books instead. John F. Masloff of Ootischenia was appointed secretary-treasurer and bookkeeper for this purpose.[cviii] A small office was constructed at the CPR Flats yard where orders were placed, delivery records kept, and cash stored in a strong box.[cix] Company advertising ceased altogether.  

The company’s clientele was now comprised mainly of residential rather than commercial or industrial customers. With lower volumes of deliveries and less stock turnover, fewer workers were required to run the operation. The company’s fleet of wagons and sleighs was reduced to two at each of the CPR Flats and Mountain Station yards.[cx]   

Fuel yard land sale headline, Nelson Daily News, 1920.04.16.

The company further downsized by selling or leasing land and buildings no longer used. In April 1920, the westerly .80 acres of the CPR Flats yard with the smaller warehouse was sold to the Imperial Oil Co. leaving a half-acre yard remaining.[cxi] Then in August 1922, the larger warehouse in the CPR Flats yard was leased to the Okanagan United Growers Ltd. as a fruit packing house until its liquidation in June 1923.[cxii]  

Coal was shipped to the CPR Flats yard from the Pacific Coal Co. mine at Bankhead and Canada West Coal Co. mine at Taber, AB,[cxiii] which also continued to receive wood from the Koch Siding mill. Now exclusively a wood depot, the Mountain Station yard continued to receive shipments from sawmills on the GNR Salmo-Nelson line, which after July 1921, included two large new mills at Porcupine Creek.[cxiv]

The Verigin family continued to occupy the CPR Flats yard. When the Canada Census was taken in June 1921, Konstantine (26) and Dasha (26) Verigin were enumerated there with daughter Mary (7) and sons Peter (4) and Konstantine (1) and step-father Michael (65) and mother Hanyusha Bawoolin (58).[cxv]

Verigin family, Nelson, c. 1920. Standing (l-r): Dasha P. Verigin, (her husband) Konstantine P. Verigin, Grigory Sherbinin, (his wife) Masha P. Sherbinin (sister to Konstantine). Sitting (l-r): Michael A. Bawoolin, Kostei (Kay) K. Verigin, Hanya Bawoolin (Konstantine’s mother), Peter K. Verigin and Mary K. Verigin. Mary Shukin/ISKRA Publications Collections.

During this period, Konstantine also broke and trained wild horses for communal use. According to an account by his granddaughter Mary Shukin, this was carried out as follows:

“Occasionally, wild horses were unloaded from the train into the CPR stock yard. A horse would be chosen and lassoed by grandfather and a helper. A harness would be thrown on while the animal bucked and fought. They would then hitch the untamed horse with an older horse, and for several days have them pull a heavy sleigh on the ground, until the wild horse was ‘broken in’.[cxvi]

The new horses were then either kept at the yards to haul coal and wood or else sent to the different outlying Doukhobor settlements, wherever they were needed.

The Kootnikoffs also remained at the Mountain Station yard. At the taking of the 1921 Canada Census, Wasyl (47) and Tanya (45) Kootnikoff, son William (21), daughter-in-law Tanya (19), granddaughter Vera (5 months), son Nick (17) and daughter Mary (8) were enumerated there.[cxvii]

Wasyl F. Kootnikoff and daughter Mary in Nelson, 1915. Büter Family Collection.

Beginning in 1921, the youngest Kootnikoff child, Mary, attended Central School in Nelson. In 1923, she was joined by all three Verigin children. On enrollment, the Doukhobor children spoke only Russian, but rapidly acquired English. Within a year of their enrolment, the Verigin children were promoted from Grade 1 to 3.[cxviii] The children of both families regularly made the honour rolls for academic achievement.[cxix]

In terms of spiritual life, the Verigin and Kootnikoff families each held prayer service (moleniye) on Sunday morning at their own homes.[cxx] Later that day, dressed in their best attire, they exchanged visits with other Doukhobor families living in or near Nelson, where they would all take part and enjoy the singing of hymns and psalms.[cxxi] From time to time, they were joined by Peter V. Verigin and a special choir of 20 Doukhobor singers from Brilliant and Glade who often accompanied him on his trips.[cxxii]

Decline & Dissolution

The Nelson branch of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. might have continued to operate into the foreseeable future. However, between January 1923 and January 1926 it suffered a series of devastating setbacks from which it was unable to recover.

First, with the post-war collapse in lumber prices, the CCUB opted not to renew its lease of the Koch Siding sawmill when it expired in January 1923.[cxxiii] Three months later, in May 1923, the Hall Siding mill caught fire and was destroyed.[cxxiv] It was not rebuilt given the lumber crash. Finally, the two sawmills at Porcupine Creek were destroyed in a July 1924 forest fire along with their timber stands.[cxxv]  

Consequently, the Nelson branch of the company lost most of its wood supply, which was its primary revenue source, and indeed, its raison d’etre. The Mountain Station yard continued to receive some wood from the Porto Rico Siding sawmill, although its output after 1924 was relatively small. The CPR Flats yard received comparatively little, as the Slocan and Kootenay River sawmills continued to primarily supply the Trail branch with their output.

Company president Peter Vasil’evich Verigin, 1859-1924. BC Archives, C01813.

Then, in October 1924, Peter V. Verigin was killed in a mysterious train explosion at Farron. His death was a devastating blow to his followers, including those at Nelson, who revered him as their spiritual guide and secular leader. From a business standpoint, Verigin was the directing mind and force behind the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. and upon his death, the subsidiary was left largely rudderless.  

In December 1924, the CCUB Board of Directors appointed Andrew P. Verigin of Crescent Valley as business manager and Timofey A. Stoochnoff of Ootischenia as secretary-treasurer of the Nelson branch of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co.[cxxvi] Over the next year, the pair managed the branch as best they could, but with little wood to sell and little revenue coming in, it continued to flounder.  

Amid this turmoil, a newsworthy event occurred in February 1925, when Peter V. Verigin’s choir of special singers arrived in Nelson to perform in memory of the departed leader.[cxxvii] The Daily News reported that they led an 8:00 a.m. prayer service at the Verigin-Bawoolin house in the CPR Flats, then sang at the Strelaeff stopping house at 9:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., singing for about an hour each time. In the evening they sang at the Trinity Methodist Church before departing by train to their settlements.

Notice of tax sale of the CCUB property in Nelson. Creston Review, November 27, 1925.

By November 1925, the Nelson branch of the company was having difficulty paying property taxes and several lots were listed for sale by public auction for arrears.[cxxviii] The taxes were ultimately redeemed by the CCUB; however, its Board of Directors concluded that the branch was no longer viable.

Two months later, at the annual CCUB Board of Directors meeting at Brilliant in January 1926, it was resolved that the Nelson branch of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. be dissolved and its associated properties put up for sale.[cxxix] A telegram to this effect was summarily issued to the Verigin and Kootnikoff families in Nelson, reassigning them at once to Ootischenia and Brilliant, respectively.[cxxx]  

And so, with a show of hands in the Brilliant central office, the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. ceased branch operations in Nelson on January 12, 1926 after 14 years of business.

Aftermath

Having grown accustomed to a less rigidly communal life while running the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. in Nelson, neither the Kootnikoff nor Verigin family remained long at their reassigned places. By May 1927, Wasyl F. Kootnikoff resettled to Rossland, where he and his sons worked as carpenters.[cxxxi] In December 1931, Konstantine P. Verigin resettled to Blewett, where he bought a 40-acre farm.[cxxxii]

The Anton F. Strelaeff family initially remained in Nelson at 509 Falls St,[cxxxiii] their caretaking role expanded to include the now-vacant coal and wood yards. In February 1926, Anton started a fuel business of his own, the Doukhobor Transfer Co.[cxxxiv] Using wagons and remaining stock from the yards, with his house as his office, he offered coal, wood and transfer services.

Receipt from Anton F. Strelaeff’s short-lived Doukhobor Transfer Co, 1926. Greg Nesteroff Photo, Paul Strelive Collection.

Anton’s fuel enterprise would be short-lived. MacDonald Cartage & Fuel Co. had already taken over the customers of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co.,[cxxxv] leaving him to advertise for new ones amid stiff competition.[cxxxvi] Months later, he lost his voice due to illness, making continuation of the business impossible.[cxxxvii] In May 1928, he was reassigned to the Doukhobor settlement of Dorogotsennoye at Taghum.[cxxxviii]

Interestingly, it was only at this time that the CCUB advertised its various Nelson properties for sale. The two-year gap following the closure of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. may be explained by the Board of Directors’ reluctance to dispose of the properties until their new leader, Peter P. ‘Chistyakov’ Verigin, arrived in Canada to guide them in September 1927.

May 18, 1928 Nelson Daily News advert listing various CCUB properties in Nelson for sale.

By late 1928, the Strelaeffs were replaced by Eli N. and Malanya Chernoff of Ootischenia, who took up residence at 509 Falls St.[cxxxix] They were joined by Malanya’s parents Philip P. and Nastya Lazareff, and for several months, by Russian Tolstoyan Pavel I. Birukoff and his daughter Olga.[cxl] A carpenter by trade, Eli worked for building contractor T.H. Waters & Co. Ltd. while caretaking the Doukhobor yards.

Two years later, in November 1930, the house at 509 Falls St was sold to Bud Sevens,[cxli] whereupon the Chernoffs relocated to the house at the CPR Flats yard.[cxlii] There, they discovered that the road running past the front was built six feet over the CCUB property, while the CPR rail spur running past the back was also encroaching, resulting in a lawsuit by the CCUB against the City of Nelson and CPR for trespass.[cxliii]

Eli N. Chernoff, c. 1930. Wendy Chernoff Collection.

Meanwhile, in July 1930, Eli bought the vacant yard at Mountain Station from the CCUB.[cxliv] The large warehouse there was destroyed by fire shortly after.[cxlv] In early 1931, he resold the yard to none other than Wasyl F. Kootnikoff, who returned with his family from Rossland to reside at 710 Gore St.[cxlvi]

Wasyl died within months of his return. His widow Tanya remained at 710 Gore St. with daughter Mary until her death in 1949,[cxlvii] followed by Mary and husband William J. Shukin until 1959.[cxlviii] By 1937, son William W. Kootnikoff and wife Tanya (Emma) built a home at 724 Gore St for themselves, and in 1950, a home at 723 Innes St. for their son Michael. In 1962, the Kootnikoffs and Shukins subdivided and sold the remaining Innes St. lots.[cxlix] The Kootnikoffs joined the Shukins at the coast in 1965.[cl]

Eli N. Chernoff lived at the CCUB yard in the CPR Flats until September 1931 when the property was leased out, then resettled to Taghum. The lessees, Harry and son Gordon K. Burns, established a fuel distributorship there as Burns Coal & Cartage Company,[cli] which offered coal and wood as well as moving, storage and distributing services. The business operated at the lease site for nine years. The Burnses used all the existing buildings for storage except for the dwelling house, which was rented out.

September 11, 1931 Nelson Daily News advert for Burns Coal & Cartage highlighting the Doukhobor-built brick warehouse for its storage services.
September 11, 1931 Nelson Daily News advertisement by Burns Coal & Cartage for the rent of the dwelling house at the CPR Flats yard.

In February 1939, the Burns purchased the property from the receiver of the now-bankrupt CCUB and established a new business, Burns Lumber & Coal Co., selling building materials and supplies, fuel, transfer and storage services over the next 39 years.[clii] By September 1948, the original Doukhobor dwelling house and workers kitchen were dismantled,[cliii] while the coal bunker, blacksmith shop, barn and implement shed continued to be used for storage until at least May 1959.[cliv]

Fire insurance map of the former coal and wood yard in the CPR Flats, now Burns Lumber Coal & Lumber Co, August 1938 (as revised August 1940, September 1948). The patches added in August 1940 cover the Doukhobor dwelling house and workers kichen that no longer existed at that time. The coal bunkers, implement shed, blacksmith and barn were repurposed as lumber sheds. The brick warehouse remained in active use. British Columbia Fire Underwriters Association.
The CPR freight yards in Nelson, with the former Doukhobor fuel yard – now Burns Lumber & Coal Co. circled in white, c. 1960. Ellis Anderson courtesy Lost Kootenays.

In September 1978, the lumber yard was purchased by Louis Maglio,[clv] whose sons Tony and Dominic operated it as Maglio Building Centre. By this time, the Doukhobor brick warehouse was the only original structure still standing and in use. In February 2019, the business was purchased by Fraser Valley Building Supplies, which continues to operate as Rona Maglio Building Centre today.[clvi]

Today

Nearly a century after the demise of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co., evidence of the Doukhobor fuel business can still be found throughout the City of Nelson.

The McCulloch Block on Baker St and Green Block at Ward St, which housed the company’s business office over its first six years, are going concerns. The foreman’s dwelling house at 710 Gore St still stands in its original condition. The stopping house of Peter Verigin is also in pristine form, although it no longer stands at 509 Falls St, having been moved to 120 Vernon St in May 1931.[clvii] The two-story brick warehouse remains a hidden mainstay of the RONA Maglio Building Centre at 29 Government Rd, three of its exterior walls now interior walls of the store building.

Perhaps a more pervasive reminder is the cast-iron coal doors that still adorn the exterior of scores of Nelson heritage buildings; many if not most of which were served by the Doukhobor fuel business in the Teens and Twenties.

One of the exterior walls of the Doukhobor brick warehouse now forming an interior wall inside the RONA Maglio Building Centre store. Photo courtesy Stan Sherstobitoff.

The 107-year old Doukhobor brick warehouse at the former CPR Flats coal and wood yard continues to form an integral part of the RONA Maglio Building Centre at Nelson, BC today. Courtesy Stan Sherstobitoff.

After Note

Special thanks to Greg Nesteroff, Lucille Ostrikoff, Mike & Lorraine Malakoff, Klaas, Lorrie and James Büter, Jean-Philippe Stienne and Judy Deon (Touchstones Nelson), Barry and Stephanie Verigin (ISKRA) for sharing their information and images.

This article was originally published in the following periodical:

  • ISKRA Nos. 2172 (March 2022), 2173 (April 2022) and 2174 (May 2022). (Grand Forks: Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ).
The 107-year old Doukhobor dwelling house at the former Mountain Station coal and wood yard still stands today in its original condition at 710 Gore Street, Nelson, BC. Courtesy Greg Nesteroff.

An abridged version of this article was published in the following newspaper:


End Notes

[i] From the 1880s through 1920s, a ‘transfer’ was a transportation company that used a fleet of horse-drawn wagons and sleighs to deliver coal, wood, livestock feed, ice and other bulk goods short distances within a community.

[ii] Most stoves, boilers and furnaces burned either fuel or could be converted to do so. Frequently, the choice came down to price and practicality. Wood was considerably cheaper than coal, while coal burned much longer and hotter than wood but was also much dirtier to handle.

[iii]W.A. Jeffries Nelson City Directory (1913) (Nelson, BC: W.A. Jeffries, 1913) at 117; Nelson Daily News, 1913.01.06.

[iv] W. Blakemore, Report of Royal Commission on Matters Relating to the Sect of Doukhobors in the Province of British Columbia, 1912 (Victoria: Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, 1913) at 31. Based on the West Kootenay average of 5,000 feet of saw timber per acre, the Doukhobor lands may have held as much as 53,055,000 feet of saw timber based on their West Kootenay landholdings as of 1913: Canadian Pacific Railway, British Columbia, Canada’s Pacific Province: Its Natural Resources, Advantages and Climate (Victoria: The Colonist Presses, 1910) at 63.

[v] Doukhobor sawmilling in the 1908-1913 period manufactured lumber primarily for their own communal building purposes. However, there was some commercial sale of surplus lumber; most notably the sale of 100,000 railway ties from Glade and another 100,000 ties from Brilliant to the CPR in 1910-1911: Nelson Daily News, 1910-09-21; Victoria Daily Times, 1910-09-28; The Province, 1911-03-17; Winnipeg Free Press, 1911-04-25.  

[vi] Supra, note 3at 33; Manitoba Free Press, April 25, 1911.

[vii] Based on the standards of the day, wastage was upwards of 45 percent of every foot of saw timber: J.H. Jenkins, “Wood-Waste Utilization in British Columbia” in The Forestry Chronicle (Vol. 15, No. 4, December 1939) at 192.

[viii] Manitoba Free Press, April 25, 1911.

[ix] Nelson Daily News, 1913.04.01.

[x] Nelson Daily News, 1913.04.01. to 1913.04.14.

[xi] Nelson Daily News, 1913.04.07; New Westminster News, 1913.04.08; Winnipeg Free Press, 1913.04.12. The Kootenay Ice & Fuel Co. (renamed Kootenay Ice Co. in April 1923) continued selling ice (only) from its Mirror Lake plant in Nelson and district until 1931.

[xii] The easterly 208 feet of Lot 1, of subdivision of part of Lot 95 and Lot 304, Group 1, Kootenay District, Map 904 was sold for $6,000.00 under Agreement for Sale dated April 7, 1913 by William P. Tierney (railroad contractor and Kootenay Ice & Fuel Co. principal) to Peter Verigin. Upon payment in full, title was transferred from Tierney to Verigin under Indenture No. 18505a dated November 10, 1913. Verigin filed for title on November 22, 1913, registered as Certificate of Title AFB 30/234 dated November 26, 1913. The property was subsequently transferred to the CCUB by Deed of Land No. 4927 dated October 20, 1917 and new Certificate of Title No. 4927i dated October 26, 1917 was issued.

[xiii] Ibid; Nelson Daily News, 1913.01.06.

[xiv] Mined in Lethbridge by the Galt Coal Company, this fuel burned more cleanly than most coals generally available and enjoyed a high reputation across Western Canada. It was a lucrative contract for the Doukhobor Society as it gave it control of the Nelson market for the best and most practical source of heat in the often bitter winters. See: McCord Museum: https://tinyurl.com/mjbdztjv; Toole Peet 1897 – 1997: https://tinyurl.com/yvub6924.

[xv] Nelson Daily News, 1913.04.08; New Westminster News, April 8, 1913.

[xvi] Ibid.

[xvii] The company name was a reference to the Doukhobor Society’s headquarters at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. It also leveraged the name-recognition of the Society’s existing and well-known subsidiary in Nelson, the Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works (est. 1911). Variations of the name sometimes used: Kootenay Columbia Fuel Company, Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Co., Kootenay Columbia Fuel Co., Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Company, Kootenay Columbia Fuel Supply, Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co., Kootenay Columbia Fuel & Supply Co., Kootenay Columbia Fuel & Supply Co. Ltd.       

[xviii] W.A. Jeffries Nelson and District Directory (1914) (Nelson, BC: W.A. Jeffries, 1914) at 78.

[xix] Henry Howard (H.H.) Crofts (1877-1952), a confectioner from Warwick, Eng., immigrated to Canada in June 1903, settling in Winnipeg, MB. From September 1907 to July 1911, he served as Deputy-Sherriff of the Winnipeg Judicial District, then relocated to Nelson, BC to engage in real estate. In September 1911, he formed a realty partnership with Russian émigré realtor Konstantine Popoff as ‘Popoff & Crofts’. Over the next 15 months, he “sold quite a bit of land” to the Doukhobors in Nelson, at Brilliant and on the Slocan: Transcript of Proceedings, Royal Commission on Matters Relating to the Sect of Doukhobors in the Province of British Columbia (1912), Volume 2 at 567 (BC Archives Item No. GR-0793.2).

[xx] Supra, note 18.

[xxi] Based on the labour force employed by the Kootenay Ice & Fuel Company five months earlier: Nelson Daily News, 1913.01.06.

[xxii] Nelson Daily News, 1913.05.07 to 1913.05.09, 1913.05.12.

[xxiii] Jonathan J. Kalmakoff, “The Doukhobor Jam-Making Enterprise” in West Kootenay Advertiser, 23-30 April and 7, 14, 21 May 2020: https://tinyurl.com/7938yz47; https://tinyurl.com/4h7ka3kk; https://tinyurl.com/43axfdjk; https://tinyurl.com/pr8f6yc5; https://tinyurl.com/vjj9pcuj; Greg Nesteroff, The Doukhobor Jam Factory in Nelson, B.C.: https://tinyurl.com/tywvxh.

[xxiv] See for example: Nelson Daily News, 1914.09.29 to 1914.10.02, 1914-10-17 to 1914.10.21, 1915.01.28 to 1915.03.04.

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Nelson Daily News, 1914.04.27 to 1914.05.02.

[xxvii] Mary Shukin, “The Kootenay Columbia Fuel Supply” in ISKRA No. 1708, April 11, 1990 (Grand Forks: Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ).

[xxviii] While there are no Nelson Daily New adverts, the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. almost certainly offered general transfer services through its fleet of wagon and sleigh teams when not in active use delivering coal or wood. Its wagon teams may also have been used for fruit hauling by sister subsidiary Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works in the summer fruit season.

[xxix] Nelson Daily News: 1917.09.24; Stan Sherstobitoff photograph collection: Doukhobors construction work, Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works in foreground, Nelson, c. 1912: tiny.cc/zwkmuz; Doukhobor scaffolding, Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works in foreground, Nelson, c. 1912: tiny.cc/7xkmuz.

[xxx] A common complaint by Nelson merchants was that the Doukhobors’ large pool of unpaid labour enabled them to undercut the local market by selling goods for less than local merchants could afford to: Nelson Daily News: 1912:09.17. However, Nelson Daily News advertisements from 1913-1915 confirm that the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co sold fuel at prevailing local rates. For example, in October 1914, it sold Galt Coal for $8.00 per ton, the same price advertised by West Transfer Co.; while it sold wood from $4.75 to $5.50 a cord while Taylor Milling Co. sold it at $5:00 per cord: Nelson Daily News, 1914.10.02. Indeed, by 1917, all Nelson transfer companies were selling wood and coal under a common rate sheet: Nelson Daily News, 1917.09.28.

[xxxi] V.N.L. Van Vleck, “Delivering Coal by Road and Rail in Britain” in The Journal of Economic History Vol. 57, No. 1 (Mar 1997) at 140 quoting Thorstein Veblen, Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution (New York and London: Macmillan, 1915); Nelson Daily News, 1917.07.31.

[xxxii] See for example Nelson Daily News, 1914.03.05 which reported, “The Doukhobor colony shipped another car of wood to Nelson on Saturday.”

[xxxiii] The Use of Wood for Fuel (Bulletin No. 753) (Washington D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, March 10 1919) at 16. Note a ‘cord’ was a stack of wood four feet high, four feet wide and 8 feet long.

[xxxiv] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[xxxv] See Note 40.

[xxxvi] Christopher F. Jones, “Fraud, Failure, and Frustration: This Is the Story of America’s First Energy Transition” in The Atlantic, April 15, 2014. Based on this estimate, Nelson’s population of 5,000 or so residents in 1913 consumed from 6,700 to 20,000 cords of wood or 4,200 to 13,300 tons of coal annually.

[xxxvii] For example, the Nelson Iron Works operated a 80-horsepower boiler that consumed approximately 4.5 lbs. of coal per horsepower-hour: Mining and Engineering World, Vol. 43, November 27, 1915 (Chicago: Mining World Company) at 876; Alessandro Nuvolari, “The theory and practice of steam engineering in Britain and France, 1800-1850 in Documents pour l’histoire des techniques, No. 19, December 1, 2010 at 194. Note wood was not generally preferred by most industries because of its lower heating value.

[xxxviii] The Use of Wood for Fuel, supra, note 33 at 15; The Black Diamond (Vol. 53, No. 12) (National Coal Exchange, September 19, 1914) at 225.

[xxxix] Ibid.

[xl] Interestingly, if the company fleet of 6 wagon teams delivered a minimum of 42 loads of coal (42 tons) or wood (21 cords) per day, then the company 1,000-ton coal and wood bunkers would have required replenishment at least once every 24 days.

[xli] Royal Commission Into All Matters Pertaining to the Doukhobor Sect in British Columbia, BC Archives Series GR-0793 (1912), Vol. 1 at 10 and 121 (B56).

[xlii] Ibid.

[xliii] For instance, the Nelson Daily News reported on July 11, 1913 that “Peter Veregin, the leader of the Doukhobors, was in town on Wednesday looking over the local Doukhobor property.”

[xliv] Nelson Daily News advertsfor Popoff & Crofts dwindled over the winter of 1913-1914 and ceased altogether on May 6, 1914. By June 8, 1914, Crofts and family left Nelson and returned to Winnipeg, MB. On August 8, 1914, Popoff published formal notice of dissolution of partnership, and on October 10, 1914, obtained a court order seizing Crofts’ Nelson property for absconding from the partnership debts. Back in Winnipeg, Crofts served as a government registrar until his retirement in the 30s.

[xlv] Nelson Daily News, 1914.10.03 and 1914.12.05.

[xlvi] Nelson Daily News, 1914.04.1. Charles Forbes McHardy was born in Lucknow Township, Bruce County, ON in August 1875. In late 1900, he resettled to Nelson, BC where he clerked at Nelson Hardware Co. until July 1903. He then partnered with Edward B. McDermid to purchase the real estate and insurance business of Harry H. Ward, operating as McDermid & McHardy. Between September 1906 and August 1908, McHardy and McDermid obtained Crown Grants over 1,270 acres of land at the Slocan River and Goose Creek confluence (named Crescent Valley by McHardy). McHardy then bought out McDermid’s interest in the land and their partnership dissolved in July 1909 as McHardy developed his ranch. In October 1911, McHardy sold the ranch to the Doukhobor Society. In October 1912, he became the first man to ride a horse from Nelson to Vancouver. That November 1912 bought out McDermid’s insurance and rental business while also starting a real estate business. His extensive civic involvement throughout this time included the Nelson Board of Trade, Nelson Improvement Association, Kootenay Fruit-growers Union, Nelson Conservative Association and others.

[xlvii] Nelson Daily News, 1911.10.05.

[xlviii] Nelson Daily News, 1912.04.04.

[xlix] Royal Commission, supra, note 41, Vol. 2 at 341-348.

[l] Nelson Daily News, 1914.04.1; 1914-04-03 to 1914.04.14.

[li] Between April 1914 and October 1917, McHardy placed an incredible 388 advertisements in the Nelson Daily News: 1914.04.01; 1914.04.03 to 1914.04.14; 1914.04.27 to 1914.05.02; 1914.07.08 to 1914.07.14; 1914.08.14; 1914.08.15; 1914.08.26; 1914.09.02 to 1914.09.08; 1914.09.29 to 1914.10.02; 1914.10.17 to 1914.10.21; 1914.11.10 to 1914.11.18; 1914.11.30 to 1914.12.08; 1914.12.21 to 1914.12.24; 1915.01.28 to 1915.03.04; 1915.04.22 to 1915.05.08; 1915.06.24 to 1915.07.15; 1915.09.13 to 1915.10.02; 1915.10.06 to 1915.10.28; 1915.11.09 to 1915.11.27; 1916.01.10 to 1916.03.20; 1916.06.16 to 1916.07.03; 1916.08.28 to 1916.09.11; 1916.10.15 to 1916.10.24; 1917.02.15 to 1917.03.28; 1917.04.16 to 1917.04.21; 1917.09.28; 1917.09.29; 1917.10.13 to 1917.11.13. 

[lii] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[liii] Nelson Daily News advertisements from 1915-1917 show the Nelson transfer companies sold heating fuel at 25% above previous local rates. For instance, the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. sold coal at $9.25 to $10.50 a ton and wood at $7.00 a cord: Nelson Daily News, 1916.10.15, 1917.03.09, 1917.10.13. See Note 30 for 1913-1915 prices.

[liv] The two-story dwelling house at 509 Falls St. stood on Sub-Lots 1-3 of Block 92 of Lot 95, Kootenay District. It was purchased by Peter Verigin on behalf of the Doukhobor Society in late 1914: Nelson Daily News, 1914.12.08. For an excellent historical study of this property, see Greg Nesteroff, “Little-Known Nelson Heritage Buildings: 120 Vernon St.”: https://tinyurl.com/54k47bym.

[lv] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[lvi] Tax rolls for 1915 indicate that the building was part of $2,000 of improvements carried out that year: Shawn Lamb Archives, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History (courtesy Greg Nesteroff); “List of Property Owned by the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, Limited, as at January 1st, 1931” in Snesarev, V.N., The Doukhobors in British Columbia (University of British Columbia, Department of Agriculture, 1931).

[lvii] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[lviii] Ibid.

[lix] Shawn Lamb Archives and Snesarev, supra, note 56.

[lx] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[lxi] Ibid.

[lxii] Shawn Lamb Archives and Snesarev, supra, note 56.

[lxiii] Ibid; Shukin, supra, note 27.

[lxiv] Shukin, ibid.

[lxv] Ibid.

[lxvi] Ibid.

[lxvii] Tax rolls indicate that the warehouse was part of $2,000 worth of improvements carried out between 1915 and 1917: Shawn Lamb Archives, supra, note 56; Snesarev, supra, note 56.

[lxviii] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[lxix] Ibid.

[lxx] Nelson Daily News, 1917.10.08 and 1917.10.09.

[lxxi] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[lxxii] The westerly 138 (130) feet of Lot 1, of subdivision of part of Lot 95 and Lot 304, Group 1, Kootenay District, Map 904 was transferred from Konstantine Popoff to Peter Verigin by Indenture dated June 29, 1915 and registered June 30, 1915 as No. 20403a.

[lxxiii] Part of the westerly 138 (130) feet of Lot 1, of subdivision of part of Lot 95 and Lot 304, Group 1, Kootenay District, Map 904 was transferred from Konstantine Popoff to Peter Veregin by Agreement for Sale dated April 19, 1911 and registered as 6470D in Charge Book Volume 18, Folio 159. 

[lxxiv] Nelson Daily News, 1915.03.12.

[lxxv] The Doukhobor leader may have been aware that since 1913, cheap American lignite and sub-bituminous coal had flooded the B.C. Coast market, where it sold for the same price as Canadian bituminous coal, despite the latter’s superior heating value. See for example The Vancouver Sun, 1913.01.30; “Diether Coal” in Vancouver Daily World, 1915.11.18; “Mackay & Gillespie, Ltd” in Victoria Daily Times, 1914.09.01; Alberta’s Coal Industry 1919 (Bercuson, D.J. Ed.) (Alberta Records Publication Board: Historical Society of Alberta, 1978).

[lxxvi] On March 11, 1913, C.F. McHardy purchased Sub-Lot 33(A) of District Lot 304, Group 1, Kootenay District as shown on Map 766 from Nelson grocer John Alexander Irving, registered as new Certificate of Title AFB 30/9 No. 17465a. On January 16, 1915, McHardy advertised the lot for sale for $2,100.00 in the Nelson Daily News. Evidently, Peter Verigin subsequently entered an Agreement for Sale with McHardy for the lot, as it was reported owned by the Doukhobor Society in 1917: Vancouver Daily World, 1918.09.28. Once all payments were made under the Agreement for Sale, title was transferred from McHardy to the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood under Indenture No. 6620i dated December 3, 1919.

[lxxvii] Fire Insurance Plan of Nelson, BC Surveyed August 1923, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History (courtesy Greg Nesteroff).

[lxxviii] Ibid.

[lxxix] 1923 Nelson Fire Insurance Plan, supra, note 77; Nelson Daily News, 1930.08.05 and 1930.08.06.

[lxxx] Ibid.

[lxxxi] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[lxxxii] Although the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. did not have a spur track of its own running into its Mountain Station yard, the GNR had a passing and house track running parallel between the city and it main line on which cars were parked for unloading, and which conveniently ran to within 400 feet of the coal and wood yard: Great Northern Railway Historical Society, Mountain Station Blueprint, dated April 23, 1913.

[lxxxiii] Nelson Daily News, 1917.02.15 to 1917.03.08, 1917.09.28-1917.09.29, 1917.10.13-1917.09.30.

[lxxxiv] Nelson Daily News, 1930.08.06.

[lxxxv] Creston Review, 1914.11.20; Nelson Daily News, 1915.01.14, 1915.11.13, 1915.12.06; Greenwood Ledge, 1915.02.02.

[lxxxvi] Minutes of Meeting of CCUB Directors, September 8, 1917, Simon Fraser University, Doukhobor Collection of James Mavor.

[lxxxvii] Western Lumberman, March 1916 at 29.

[lxxxviii] Nelson Daily News, 1917.01.24; Canada Lumberman and Woodworker, Volume 37, 1917 at 160; The Timberman, February 1917 at 81; Western Lumberman, April 1917 at 25.

[lxxxix] Western Lumberman, May 1917 at 32; October 1918 at 77.

[xc] Vancouver Daily World, 1918.09.28.

[xci] Presuming the company made 42 deliveries per day (6 wagon teams x 7 trips each), then it would have delivered 882 tons of coal (1 ton/load x 42 loads x 21 workdays) at an average price of $10.00 per ton, earning gross revenue of $8,820.00 a month; whereas it would have delivered 441 cords of wood (½ cord/load x 42 loads x 21 workdays) at an average price of $7.00 per cord, earning a gross revenue of $3,087.00 a month.

[xcii] It is estimated that the Doukhobors’ profit per ton of coal was 10-15%: The Vancouver Sun, 1917.07.05, 1917.09.13; The Retail Coalman, c. 31, v. 31, July 1917 at 96. However, as their only cost associated with wood was freight, the Doukhobors’ profit per cord of wood may have been as high as 85-90%.

[xciii] As early as December 1914, the Nelson Board of Trade advocated a special tax be levied on Doukhobors who “would not either fight for, or subscribe to, the protection which is afforded under the British flag: Nelson Daily News, 1914.12.11. In December of 1915 and January of 1916, it passed resolutions asking the government to adopt such a tax, declaring “it is an outrage that a large body of men should be living in our midst and enjoying every privilege and the protection of the country without contributing one cent directly to the cause of the country.”: Nelson Daily News, 1915.12.10 and 1916.01.28. The Board also called for a boycott of Doukhobor products in July of 1915, arguing that they were an “alien race” who “could not be called upon in time of war to come to the assistance of the country in which they made their living: Nelson Daily News, 1915.07.09.

[xciv] By 1917-1919, anti-Doukhobor rhetoric intensified in Nelson, with the Nelson Branch of the Canadian Patriotic Fund publicly demanding a $75,000.00 subscription in arrears from the Doukhobor Community: Nelson Daily News, 1919.11.17; the Nelson victory bond campaign demanding $50,000.00 subscription from the Doukhobor Community: Vancouver Daily World, 1919.11.14; local citizens’ meetings in Nelson passing resolutions demanding the purchase of Doukhobor lands and local reconstruction committees formed for the purpose of securing the land for returned soldiers: Calgary Herald, 1919.04.21 and Vancouver Daily World, 1919.04.24; the Nelson Branch of the Great War Veterans Association passing a resolution that the Dominion Government deport all Doukhobors presently in the country: The Gazette, 1919.03.20 and Calgary Herald, 1919.04.07; and the Nelson Board of Trade resolved that the Dominion Government “make the Doukhobors live as Canadian citizens or deport them.”: Calgary Herald, 1919.05.02.

[xcv] George Woodcock & Ivan Avakumovic, The Doukhobors (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1968) at 253. This sentiment is captured in the September 17, 1917 letter to the editor of the Nelson Daily News from rancher J. Marsden of Taghum: Nelson Daily News: 1917.09.24.

[xcvi] Nelson Daily News, 1916.01.21 to 1923.11.30; Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory, 1916-1919.

[xcvii] Nelson Daily News, 1930.08.06. Unfortunately, the specific date the Nelson City Council voted against installing weigh scales at Mountain Station is not known, as the council minutes for this period are lost and missing: Shawn Lamb Archives, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History.

[xcviii] The last company advertisements for Wyoming coal appears in the Nelson Daily News on November 17, 1917.

[xcix] The last advertisement for Galt coal by the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. appears in the Nelson Daily News on September 28, 1917. By April 1918, Galt coal was being advertised in the newspaper by West Transfer Co.

[c] Nelson Daily News, 1917.09.27.

[ci] Nelson Daily News, 1917.11.10.

[cii] On November 13, 1917, three days after C.F. McHardy’s appointment to the Nelson Victory Bonds Committee, his hitherto-prolific advertising for the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. in the Nelson Daily News abruptly ceased. Thereafter, from November 14, 1917 to July 5, 1919, McHardy advertised in the newspaper as “Charles F. McHardy, Insurance, Fuel, Real Estate.”  

[ciii] Despite the absence of newspaper advertising for the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co., C.F. McHardy continued to be listed as agent for the company in the 1918 and 1919 editions of Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory.

[civ] There are no further references to C.F. McHardy as a fuel dealer after the July 5, 1919 edition of the Nelson Daily News. McHardy went on to serve two terms as alderman between January 1919 and January 1921, unsuccessfully running for mayor in 1920. He was elected mayor for two terms between January 1921 and January 1923. In May-June 1924, he was a conservative candidate for the BC Legislature. For many years McHardy headed the Nelson Conservative Association and was also one-time president of the Board of Trade, a life member of the Kootenay Lake General Hospital Society and for six years was president of its board of directors. He was also a charter member of the Nelson Rotary Club, and early president of the Nelson Fair Board, early member of Clan Johnstone, later Clan McLeary, a member of St. Saviour’s Anglican Church Parish, on the board of B.C. Fire Underwriters, and vice-president of the Notary Public’s provincial organization.

[cv] Nelson Daily News, 1921.10.14.

[cvi] Nelson Daily News, 1923.12.25.

[cvii] Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory, 1919-1924; Nelson Daily News, 1919.12.01 to 1925.12.01.

[cviii] At the taking of the 1921 Canada Census, John F. Masloff was living in Ootischenia but his occupation was listed as “Bookkeeper, Fuel Supply”: British Columbia, District 18, Sub-district 10A, page 3. By 1922, Masloff had left the fuel subsidiary to manage the Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works in Brilliant.

[cix] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[cx] Ibid.

[cxi] Nelson Daily News, 1920.04.16. The westerly 110 feet of Lot 1, of subdivision of part of Lot 95 and Lot 304, Group 1, Kootenay District, Map 904 was transferred from the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood Ltd. to Imperial Oil Ltd. for $8,000.00 under Indenture No. 7260i dated April 9, 1920.

[cxii] On August 1, 1922, the Nelson Daily News reported that the Okanagan United Growers had taken over fruit marketing in Nelson from the Kootenay Fruit Growers’ Union and would erect a warehouse at once in the CPR Flats for assembling that season’s crop. Evidently, it opted to lease the large warehouse at the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co. yard instead. On October 6, 1922, the Nelson Daily News reported that the packing house of the Okanagan United Growers situated in the Doukhobor building on the CPR Flats was a busy centre with fruit coming into the house from all the ranches in and around the city. On June 13, 1923, the Okanagan United Growers had gone into bankruptcy and liquidation.

[cxiii] Nelson Daily News, 1917.11.17.

[cxiv] Western Lumberman, April 1922 at 40; Nelson Daily News, 1923.05.04.

[cxv] 1921 Canada Census, British Columbia, District 18, Sub-district 10A, page 53.

[cxvi] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[cxvii] 1921 Canada Census, British Columbia, District 18, Sub-district 10A, page 53.

[cxviii] Ibid.

[cxix] Nelson Daily News, 1922.05.03; 1922.06.28; 1922.07.03; 1926.04.03; 1926.06.26; 1927.05.06; 1927.06.27.

[cxx] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[cxxi] Ibid.

[cxxii] Nelson Daily News, 1925.02.17.

[cxxiii] Canadian Forest Industries (January-June 1923) at 1106. The sawmill property was later purchased by the CCUB from W.C.B. Koch in November 1927.

[cxxiv] Vancouver Daily World, 1923.05.26; The Province, 1923.05.26; Victoria Daily Times, 1923.05.26; Western Lumberman, June 1923; Vancouver Sun, 1923.05.03.

[cxxv] Lethbridge Daily Herald, 1924.07.15; Circleville Daily Union Herald, 1924.07.15; Nevada State Journal, 1924.07.16; Findlay Morning Republican, 1924.07.16; Winnipeg Free Press, 1924.07.16; Calgary Herald, 1924.07.19; Vancouver Sun, 1924.07.18.

[cxxvi] Nelson Daily News, 1924.12.18.

[cxxvii] Nelson Daily News, 1925.02.17; The Province, 1925.02.22.

[cxxviii] Nelson Daily News, 1924.11.18.

[cxxix] The two-day CCUB shareholders and Board of Directors meeting held January 11-12, 1926 appointed 14 Directors and 24 Officers of the various CCUB local branches and subsidiaries, including the Trail branch of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co.; the Nelson branch of the fuel subsidiary was conspicuously omitted: Nelson Daily News, 1926.01.13. The letter sent to Konstantine P. Verigin pursuant to that meeting stated that the CCUB properties at Nelson, Hall Siding, Skalistoye and Dorogotsennoye were all to be put up for sale: Shukin, supra, note 27.

[cxxx] Shukin, supra, note 27.

[cxxxi] Nelson Daily News, 1927.05.02; Border Crossing Manifest dated August 30, 1927 of William W. Kootnikoff, carpenter, of Rossland.

[cxxxii] Lucille Ostrikoff, Nelson, BC, interview by author, 2021.12.30. Note Konstantine P. Verigin’s name lives on today in the form of Verigin Road and Kays (Konstantine’s) Road in Blewett, BC.

[cxxxiii] Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory, 1926-1928.

[cxxxiv] Nelson Daily News, 1926.02.27 to 1926.03.05.

[cxxxv] Lucille Ostrikoff, Nelson, BC, interview by author, 2021.12.30.

[cxxxvi] Supra, note 134.

[cxxxvii] Nelson Daily News, 1929.09.02.

[cxxxviii] Nesteroff, 120 Vernon St., supra, note 54.

[cxxxix] Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory, 1929-1930.

[cxl] Ibid. Friend, follower and biographer of Lev N. Tolstoy, Pavel Ivanovich Biryukov (1860-1931) investigated the Doukhobor movement in the Caucasus in 1895 and was exiled in 1897 to Courland for publishing an appear on behalf of their plight. A year later he was permitted to go abroad, where he stayed until 1907. Later, he spent considerable time in Russia, Switzerland and the UK. In September 1927 he accompanied Doukhobor leader Peter P. ‘Chistyakov’ Verigin to Canada to help establish Russian schools and a newspaper among the Doukhobors. Within a year, however, he suffered a debilitating stroke. Thereafter, the ailing Tolstoyan was cared for by the Chernoffs at 509 Falls St in Nelson until his daughter Olga left art school in Paris and came to Canada in October 1928. The Biryukovs remained in Nelson until April 1929, whereafter they returned to Geneva where Biryukov died in October 1931.

[cxli] Nelson Daily News, 1930.11.22.

[cxlii] Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory for the year 1931, which was compiled prior to November 1930 when the 509 Falls St property was sold, lists the Chernoff family still living there; however the 1932 directory lists the family living at Granite Road where the former coal and wood yard of the Kootenay-Columbia Fuel Supply Co was located.

[cxliii] Nelson Daily News, 1930.11.12.

[cxliv] Lot 33A of District Lot 304, Group 1, Map 766 was transferred by the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood Ltd. to Eli N. Chernoff by Indenture No. 30611i dated July 25, 1930.

[cxlv] Nelson Daily News, 1930.08.05 and 1930.08.06.

[cxlvi] British Columbia Death Registration No. 39244 dated June 19, 1931.

[cxlvii] British Columbia Death Registration No. 49-09-001741 dated January 28, 1949.

[cxlviii] Nelson Directory, 1955; British Columbia Death Registration No. 63-09-004738. In 1959, the house at 710 Gore St. was sold to Tony and Gladys Semeniuk: Urban Preliminary List of Electors, Electoral District of Kootenay West, City of Nelson, Urban Polling Division No. 128, September 27, 1965.

[cxlix] Subdivision Plan No. 4558 dated January 8, 1962 of Lot 4, Block 33, Plan 349 of Lot 150 and part of Block 33A, Plan 766 of Lot 304. Interestingly, the house at 723 Innes was purchased by Kay Verigin, who grew up at the CPR Flats yard 40 years earlier when his father Konstantine ran the coal and wood yard there: 1965 City of Nelson Voters’ List, ibid.

[cl] British Columbia Death Registration No. 1965-09-002145.

[cli] Nelson Daily News, 1931.09.11.

[clii] Agreement for Sale from the Receiver for the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, Ltd. to Harry and Gordon K. Burns dated February 1, 1939. Five years later, in 1944 when the property was paid in full, title was transferred to Harry and Gordon K. Burns under Certificate of Title No. 58607i.

[cliii] Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory, 1931-1939; Fire Insurance Plan of Nelson, BC Surveyed August 1938 (Revised August 1940 and September 1948), Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History (courtesy Greg Nesteroff).

[cliv] Fire Insurance Plan of Nelson, BC Surveyed May 1959, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History (courtesy Greg Nesteroff).

[clv] In 1978, the property was transferred to Louis Maglio under Certificate of Title No. M7771. In 1986, the property was transferred to Louis Maglio Enterprises, under Certificate of Title No. V17188.

[clvi] ”’Business as usual’ in Trail after sale of Maglio Building Centre” in Trail Times, 2019.02.26.

[clvii] Nesteroff, 120 Vernon St., supra, note 54.

The Doukhobor Jam Factory in Nelson, British Columbia

by Greg Nesteroff

The Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works Jam Factory in Brilliant, British Columbia is perhaps one of the best known communal enterprises of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB). However, few are aware that the Doukhobor jam enterprise got its start in Nelson, and fewer realize that the original factory building – built in 1909 – is still standing there today. The following article by Kootenay resident Greg Nesteroff examines the origins and history of the building now known as the Front Street Emporium at 601 Front Street in Nelson. Originally published as “The Building With Jam” in The Nelson Daily News (June 29, 2009). Reproduced by permission.

It’s a year of centennials for Nelson heritage buildings: the courthouse and Central School recently celebrated their 100th birthdays in style, and the United Church will do so soon. Meanwhile, an open house last week marked another anniversary that almost went unnoticed. It’s no secret that the Front St. Emporium was built in 1909, but until recently, few remembered or realized the building’s original purpose.

601 Front Street, probably during the winter of 1911-12. At this time the building was home to the Kootenay Columbia Preserving Works, the Doukhobor-operated jam factory. Photo courtesy Pete & Dasha Hadikin and Marlene Anderson.

On June 23, 1909, Premier Richard McBride presided over the grand opening of the Kootenay Jam Company’s new factory in front of a large crowd. Before turning on the steam under the first boiling vat, he delivered a speech that “dealt with the progress of the fruit industry in the Kootenays and spoke of the astonishment with which the idea of the jam factory supplied by local growers would have been regarded a few years ago. No better fruit could be grown anywhere in the province and he felt sure that the undertaking would prove a success.”

The operation was founded the previous year by two English brothers, George and Howard Fox (nicknamed Red Fox and Black Fox on account of their hair), who established a modest cannery across from Harrop. Having outgrown their original premises, they incorporated a new company with $50,000 in capital, and announced plans to build a factory in Nelson.

Inside of the second floor of the jam factory. The long troughs were used to cool the jams in. On the extreme left background you can see the kettles that the jams were cooked in. Photo courtesy Pete & Dasha Hadikin and Marlene Anderson.

Around late October 1908, they bought Lots 1 and 2 of Block 71 from the CPR at 601 Front St., next to the warehouse of J.Y. Griffin & Co. (today’s Reo’s Videos). This spot required extensive excavation and levelling and was sometimes referred to as the foot of Josephine St., which was then a through-road to the waterfront.

Construction began in mid-April 1909, with contractor John Burns working briskly from the plans of local architect Alex Carrie, and within three weeks the unpretentious frame building was pronounced “practically completed” and ready for jammaking equipment. It measured 100 by 50 feet with a second story of 50 by 50, later expanded. (The actual cost of the building is unknown, but in 1910 it had an assessed value of $1,300 for the property and $3,000 for improvements.)

Doukhobor workers John Faminoff and Pete Katasonoff feed each other inside the Kootenay Columbia Preserving Works. Photo courtesy Pete & Dasha Hadikin and Marlene Anderson.

Following the premier’s optimistic prediction, the factory began accepting fruit shipments and cranking out thousands of pounds of jam and preserves per day. However, for all the chest-puffery, and despite a further endorsement from Governor-General Earl Gray (who admired the company’s exhibit at the Nelson fruit fair and ordered a case of their product, leading to an official decree on their labels: “By appointment to H.E. the Governor General.”), the operation was not a great success.

In the spring of 1911, the Kootenay Jam Co. moved to Mission, citing an insufficient local fruit supply. They sold 601 Front St. to the Doukhobors (CCUB), who renamed it the Kootenay Columbia Preserving Works, and kept on a few managers, but otherwise utilized their own workforce. Judging by the jump in the building’s tax assessment the following year, it received a major upgrade, presumably including the brick facade and arched windows it retains today. In the first year under new owners, factory output was 70 tons, which increased to 92 the following year, and 177 the next.

Doukhobor Jam factory crew, from left: John Sherbinin, John Faminoff, Babakaeff brothers.Photo courtesy Pete & Dasha Hadikin and Marlene Anderson.

In February 1913, the Doukhobors sold the building again to an unnamed local man and announced plans to move their operation to Brilliant, but evidently the deal fell through. Construction of a much larger factory at Brilliant would wait until 1915, after which 601 Front St. was leased (by the CCUB) to a series of wholesalers, including Nelson Jobbers, Western Grocers, and most notably the National Fruit Co., which operated there from at least 1935-62 and apparently owned it following foreclosure on the Doukhobor communal enterprise.

Louis Maglio, with his brother and another partner, then bought the building and in the 1960s rented it to McGavin Bakery, West Transfer, West Arm Trucks, and Maclean Sales Appliances. Ron Allen became the next owner in the 1970s and ran an electrical wholesaling and carpet business, while his mother-in-law had a second-hand shop.

Inside the jam factory, from left: John Faminoff, Mr. Cowen, Dan Kanigan. The wheel shown in the background was used to lower the preserves to the lower floor where they were kept prior to shipment. Photo courtesy Pete & Dasha Hadikin and Marlene Anderson.

When purchased in 1988 by Paula Snow, the building was vacant and derelict, but following major renovations the new Front St. Emporium became home to literally dozens of businesses, including Whitewater Ski Resort, Strutter’s, The Golf Doctor, Kutenai Art Therapy, and even the Holy Smoke Culture Shop.

New owners Gord and Dorothy Kaytor acquired the building this year, just in time for its centennial: “We spent a few months searching for a commercial investment in the area,” Gord says. “We were drawn to 601 Front St. because it is a well-kept heritage building with affordable office space for our long term tenants and for first time small business owners. We are excited about celebrating its 100th anniversary.”

1909 was obviously a banner year for Nelson, and thanks to the preservation of its heritage buildings, 2009 is turning out to be one as well.

The Front Street Emporium at 601 Front Street, Nelson, BC as it appears today. Photo courtesy Greg Nesteroff.

Occupants Of 601 Front St.

1909-11

Kootenay Jam Co.

1911-15

Kootenay Columbia  Preserving Works

 ca. 1917-21

Nelson Jobbers

1922-28

Western Grocers

ca. 1935-62

National Fruit Co.

1960s-70s

West Transfer

E.B. Horsman & Sons

West Arm Truck Lines

McGavin Toastmaster

Maclean Sales Appliances

1980s

Ronald Allen Interiors

Yesterday’s Treasurers

Salvation Army Thrift Shop

Nelson Community Services

Nelson Women’s Centre

Queen City Upholstery

1988 to 2000s

Country Fair Antiques

Front St. Butcher

Protech Sight & Sound

Joe’s Eats

Street Front Graphics

Whitewater Ski Resort

Celeste Comicbook Co.

Kootenay Business Journal

Kutenai Art Therapy

… and many others

For More Information

For more information on the Doukhobors’ Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works jam enterprise in Nelson and Brilliant, British Columbia, see the article, Brilliant Jam Factory was Thriving Industry by William M. Rozinkin.

Shining Waters: Doukhobors in the Castlegar Area

by Vi Plotnikoff

Located in the Kootenay region at the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers, Castlegar is the home of many of British Columbia’s Doukhobors. The following article by Vi Plotnikoff tells the story of Doukhobor culture and lifestyle as it evolved in the Castlegar area between 1908 and 1938.  Their unique communal way of life, sharing of resources, agrarian development, industry, schools and education, and politics and leadership are brought to life in text and photographs.  Reproduced by permission from “Castlegar, a Confluence” (Karen W. Farrer (ed), Castlegar: Castlegar & District Heritage Society, 2000).

From 1908 to 1913, the Doukhobors purchased vast tracts of land in the West Kootenay, but it was at Waterloo that they first settled in BC. Peter V. Verigin renamed the place Dolina Ootischenia meaning “Valley of Consolation”. He also named the community of Brilliant for its sparkling waters.

Village life

Upon arrival in British Columbia, the Doukhobors began constructing temporary houses. These were individual homes, small in size and constructed of logs. As lumber became more readily available, temporary houses were built as long, single-story structures.

In 1911, Peter Verigin divided the land into 100 acre plots and built houses, or doms, which were unique to the area and Tolstoyan in concept because of their uniformity. Eventually, as brick factories were built, the doms were constructed out of brick. Each dom was 32 feet by 40 feet, and was two stories high with an attic, and a half-basement for storage. The wooden buildings in the village were never painted.

Brilliant, BC, circa 1920. British Columbia Archives A-08737.

There were usually two large houses or doms in each village. They were built side by side, approximately 60 feet apart, and joined by one-story buildings in a U-shape. Often families with very young children lived in these buildings, ensuring privacy. They also served as storage areas and summer kitchens. Each large dom had a meeting room with a long table and benches, sometimes used as additional sleeping space. The enormous kitchen was the heart of each dom. It was furnished with a long dining table and benches, a large cook-stove, cupboards to store cooking utensils and dishes, and a huge petch, or Russian-style oven. By 1912, all the kitchens had piped-in water. The head man in each village and his family usually had two bedrooms on the first level. Upstairs, several small bedrooms opened off a long central hall. People slept on long, wooden beds resembling benches, lying feet to feet. Thus a family of four often occupied a small bedroom.. An attic made up the third floor. Each village usually had a room which was used as a maternity room or an infirmary. A courtyard was located in the middle of the square and used for activities, such as drying fruit, vegetables and grains. Barns and outbuildings were built behind the doms. Each village had a banya (steambath), which everyone in the village took turns using. The banya also housed a laundry.

Every village contained about seventy to one hundred persons, or ten to fifteen families, and was known as a “BC One Hundred”. The people in the villages were not necessarily related to one another, but were chosen for their skills and assigned to various villages that needed these skills.

Orchards and gardens were planted and the people produced nearly all of their food. Each garden had an abundance of sunflower plants as sunflower seeds were a favourite snack among the Doukhobors. Fruit and vegetables were dried in the sun or in drying sheds and stored for winter use. Vegetables and grains were exchanged among the villages, and wheat was shipped from the Saskatchewan Community villages, while the British Columbia Doukhobors shipped fruit to the prairies.

The economic structure of the Doukhobor community in British Columbia was based on the mir of Russian peasants. The central committee included Peter Verigin and a head man from each village, also the manager from each of the economic enterprises.

Each individual’s needs were supplied from the community fund. If a person worked outside the community, he handed over his wage to the community, where it went into a common fund from which all purchases were made. Each region had a purchasing agent and if an individual required clothing, food or supplies, he only had to ask. If he had to visit a neighbouring town for medical or business purposes, he simply asked for the funds to cover his trip. Thus, people contributed their labour to the community, and the community looked after their needs.

In 1917, under a Dominion charter, the Doukhobor community was incorporated as the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB). All commune members received flour, potatoes, salt and shelter and every member received a sum of money, which varied from year to year. Widows, the elderly and the men received different amounts, depending upon their needs. Each male member was assessed an annual sum, depending on his earnings. The settlements were functioning as a single unit, with crops and produce being shared by all as necessity arose.

Daily life among the Community Doukhobors was fairly structured, with the men either working outside the community, or in various community industries. Women’s work was laid out formally, with a strict rotation of duties. One week, a woman might be cooking and serving the meals, while the following week, she would be weeding the gardens or milking the cows and separating the milk.

This system allowed each woman to work and participate in all aspects of village life. Although the women sewed most of the clothing for their families, the exception was the denim work clothes sewed for the men. These were produced in a community factory. Many of the older women spent much of their time spinning wool and knitting stockings and mittens. Shoes were sewn in a cobbler’s shop and harnesses for the horses were produced in a harness shop or chebatarna.

Children spent much of their time weeding the gardens and working in the orchards. They also helped the elderly pick nuts and wild berries. Girls learned to knit, sew and cook at an early age, and boys helped with the cattle and learned carpentery or blacksmith work. Both boys and girls up to the age of twelve wore a dress-like garment and went barefoot all summer.

Doukhobor communal workers at mealtime – Brilliant, BC, circa 1920. British Columbia Archives C-01490.

Meals were prepared and eaten in the large kitchens with everyone in the dom sitting down to eat together. The Lord’s Prayer was recited prior to each meal. Borshch and piroghi were usually prepared for weekends. Large pots of soup were served daily, and vegetables, fruits or traditional pastries such as vareniki rounded out the meals. Cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt were also part of the diet. Tea or atvar (fruit juice) were the favourite beverages. Bread-baking was done often and in large quantities. The loaves were huge and usually round. They were baked in the petch which stood in a corner of the kitchen.

Living in a village was a social experience, for one was seldom alone. People of all ages gathered on the porches of the doms or in the courtyards in the summertime, working at drying fruits and vegetables, mending or spinning. Evening singsongs were commonplace and most winter evenings were spent in the kitchens near the petch, perhaps eating sunflower seeds. The babas (grandmothers) and children often lay on top of the warm petch and the children learned to recite psalomchiki, or listen to stories about Russia.

The young people socialized, at the sobranye which the youth from other villages attended. Sunday afternoons, group singing was popular, especially in the summer. Young people would often meet outdoors and dance to harmonicas. In the winter, boys played hockey on the sloughs, and evening gatherings took place indoors. The girls spent their winters working on needlework for their sunduk (hope chest).

On Saturdays, work stopped at noon. This was the time for visiting the banya and preparing for Sunday, when everyone attended the molenye (prayer service), and the sobranye, where business would be discussed and hymns sung. In the summertime, large sobranye were held on the meadows near the Kootenay River in Ootischenia where hundreds might attend, especially if the leader were present.

By 1922, there were fifty-seven sets of double houses, and several single ones built in the West Kootenay, and twenty-four in the Fruktova area. The largest settlement was still at Ootischenia with twenty-four villages.

Agrarian Development

Throughout their history, Doukhobors were agrarians, and upon their arrival in British Columbia, they immediately began clearing land for agricultural purposes. The first area to be cleared was Brilliant, and the second area was the lowest terrace at Ootischenia. Krestova had also been partially cleared by 1909. Soon afterwards, in 1912, the Brilliant bench, nearly all of the second terrace at Ootischenia, 160 acres in Pass Creek, several hundred acres in Krestova and nearly all of Glade was ready for planting. The Fruktova (Grand Forks) area was easier to clear because it was mostly open land, with little underbrush and a light stand of timber.

Many of the trees were more than three feet in diameter and over one hundred feet high. The timber was cut by two men using cross-cut saws, and hauled to community sawmills by sled in the winter. Smaller trees were cut and used for producing railway ties for sale and for poles, posts and small buildings on community property. Cordwood was also cut, both for sale and for use by the Doukhobors. The underbrush was cleared, using grubbing hoes, axes, saws and shovels and the brush was used as fuel for the community steam engines. A rotary drum and ratchet puller, and horses were used to clear stumps. Boulders were also removed using this method. Stubborn stumps and rocks were sometimes removed by dynamite.

Sorting apples at Brilliant, BC, circa 1920. British Columbia Archives C-01535.

As land was cleared, a five acre plot was assigned each village and the people immediately began planting. It was expected that food would be produced within forty-five days to feed a village and make it self-reliant. Crops included vegetables and berries. Wild nuts and berries supplemented the diet. Fruit trees were planted for commercial purposes, along with a large variety of berries. Grains and hay were sown in other areas. Soil at Krestova proved too sandy for successful crops; however, Brilliant, Ootischenia, Pass Creek and Shoreacres had thriving orchards within a short time. The Doukhobor communities in British Columbia used what they could, then shipped fruit to the prairies or sold it at local markets. Each village assigned about twenty men to work in the orchards and even more during peak times.

The Community Doukhobors practiced double-cropping, which entailed planting strawberries and vegetables between the young fruit trees. As the trees matured and spread, this method ceased because of the lack of sun. Ootischenia had the majority of orchards, producing apples, pears and cherries, mostly located on the second terrace. Grains, strawberries and potatoes were also grown there. Flax for linen clothing was grown in Ootischenia, the Slocan Valley and Fruktova areas. Woolen clothing was also highly utilized.

Linseed oil pressed from flax seed was used in cooking to a great extent, and the honey industry was flourishing. Flour mills were established in Fruktova, Ootischenia, Champion Creek and in the Slocan Valley, and flour was produced from grains grown on CCUB lands. Grains were grown in several places with the largest area being the northern part of the second terrace at Ootischenia. These ( crops included oats, wheat and millet. The broadcasting method was used to sow the grains, and harvesting was done by hand scythes. Various threshing methods were used, depending upon the amount of grain being threshed. If it were a small amount, large farm animals would be led over the grains, loosening hulls. Beans and peas were also threshed in this manner. If the harvest was a large one, either a horse-harnessed sled or a cog-roller was dragged over the grain. The sled was constructed out of wood, three feet by eight feet, with sharp pieces of small rocks studding the underside. This method was used by Doukhobors in the Kars province of Russia, who learned it from the Turks in Caucasia. The cog-roller consisted of a tree trunk with wooden blocks nailed into it.

Since all produce went into the central community, there was no need to separate the crops, and no need for fences. Crops were not fertilized by mineral fertilizers and there was not enough ‘natural’ fertilizer from farm animals to make much of a difference. This was cited as one of the reasons communities like Krestova did not succeed as agrarian areas.

Industry

The development of irrigation systems in the Doukhobor communities were of prime concern, and by 1912, two irrigation systems were in place in Ootischenia. A concrete tank measuring 75 feet by 125 feet and 14 feet deep was built. It held 1,000,000 gallons when full and was supplied by mountain streams. Located on the second terrace, it operated by gravity, providing water for several villages. A steam-driven, four-cylinder pump was located on the Kootenay River, supplying water to the reservoir through a fourteen-inch wooden pipe. A mill to manufacture staves for the wooden pipes was constructed in Ootischenia. The irrigation system was over seven miles long.

Doukhobor Reservoir at Brilliant, BC, circa 1920. British Columbia Archives D-01927.

Several sawmills were constructed on community lands, with eight mills operating by 1912. Other enterprises soon followed, including a brickyard in Fruktova, blacksmith and woodwork shops, flour mill, and harness-making and cobbler shops. A large honey industry was developed at Brilliant.

Soon after the Doukhobors arrived, they began building their own roads, ferries and bridges. In 1913, they completed the Brilliant Suspension Bridge. The bridge was part of the public highway system until the 1960s. The inscription on the bridge stated ‘Strictly Prohibited Smoking and Trespassing with Fire Arms over this Bridge’. Roads were built, connecting the Doukhobor settlements. The Doukhobors also operated ferries at Brilliant and Glade.

By 1911, more than 50,000 fruit trees had been planted, and the Community Doukhobors purchased the Kootenay Jam Company, which was located on Front Street in Nelson, BC. In 1914, they donated jam to the Red Cross for the families of soldiers.

Although Ootischenia had the largest population of all the Doukhobor settlements in British Columbia, it was in Brilliant where the biggest commercial enterprise was located. At the heart of this enterprise was the jam factory, which was relocated to Brilliant in 1915. It was called the Kootenay Columbia Preserving Works, but was better known as the Brilliant Jam Factory. The complex included a packing house, grain elevator storing prairie wheat, community store, gas pumps, offices, library, a dormitory with sleeping quarters and a dining hall for workers, also the dom of the Doukhobor leader, who also had a home in Veregin, Saskatchewan. Across the road from the complex was the CPR railway station with living quarters attached, and the Brilliant Post Office.

With the relocation of the factory to Brilliant, the production of jam was brought near the heart of the community fields and the output of jam increased. Twelve steam heated copper kettles were in use and the berries were picked and processed the same day. The factory also began manufacturing tin cans and lids for the jam. The community fields of Ootischenia, Shoreacres, Glade, Slocan Valley, Brilliant and Pass Creek provided the berries for the jam. Fruit from the Grand Forks community was shipped by rail. Harry Beach, jam-maker, introduced an old English recipe. It contained only fresh berries or fruit, pure cane sugar and water.

The irrigation system was further developed, with water from Pass Creek being brought in by wooden pipes to the Brilliant area. It was distributed by gravity flow. Two small systems located on the banks of the Columbia River brought water to the lower bench in Ootischenia in six inch wooden pipes to provide irrigation for the orchards. Staves for the pipes were supplied by mills in Champion Creek and Ootischenia.

By 1916, more land was acquired by the Doukhobors including two thousand acres of timber south of Nelson. In Ootischenia, one thousand acres were added to the lands there, extending toward McPhee and Little McPhee Creeks, and bringing in much-needed water supplies from the creeks. The rich soil of the Raspberry area was added to the Doukhobor community, and holdings in Pass Creek were extended by over 3,000 acres. Other land purchases included 360 acres in the Slocan Valley, and 240 acres across the Kootenay River from Shoreacres.

There was great demand for wood during World War I and the CCUB cleared vast tracts of land in Ootischenia, with the second terrace and the side hills between the benches cleared of underbrush and logged by 1921. By 1922, sixty acres on the upper bench were also cleared. The purchase of a steam donkey engine greatly aided stump pulling, but on the upper bench, the large trees were felled by hand, and the holes filled with dirt, thus large rocks below the surface would remain undisturbed, making the soil easier to till.

The eight mills in the CCUB provided adequate lumber for the Doukhobors, and up to three carloads daily besides. Some of the lumber was shipped to Saskatchewan for the CCUB communities, and the surplus was sold. By 1922 the sawmills dwindled to four as the lumber was exhausted.

A second brickyard was constructed in the Slocan Valley to supplement the yard in Fruktova. Bricks began to be used for the construction of the doms, and in the early 1920s, each village had at least one dom constructed out of brick, as fire protection. Other wooden doms were veneered with brick.

As the CCUB developed its industries and villages, fewer labourers were required, resulting in more men working outside of the community and contributing to the income of the CCUB. Some were skilled tradesmen, but most worked as labourers.

Doukhobor Jam Factory at Brilliant, BC, circa 1930. British Columbia Archives D-06930.

Despite the Depression, the Brilliant Jam Factory continued to flourish. Upon Peter P. Verigin’s arrival in Canada, the factory was enlarged and 24 jam kettles were in operation. The community could not keep up with the demand for fruit, so the farmers from Creston, Slocan Valley and Kootenay Lake areas began selling their produce to the jam factory.

During the Depression, household jam consisting of strawberries and apples proved the most popular because it was both economical and delicious. Commercial huckleberry jam was sold for the first time in Canada, but was not economically viable as the berries were not readily available. Other jams included plum, cherry, gooseberry, currant, apricot and peach. Large fields of raspberries were planted on fertile slopes and supplied to the factory. The Doukhobors named this area ‘Raspberry’. But it was the famous strawberry jam which was the most popular.

At peak times, sixty people could produce 1,050 cans of jam per hour, with shipments of 43,000 cases annually. Each case of jam contained 12 four pound cans. During one record-breaking trip in eastern Canada, salesman William J. Soukeroff sold 18 railway freight cars of jam.

From 1915 to 1935, Peter P. Zibin supervised the factory, followed by Mike J.Makeiff. The irrigation system in Brilliant-Pass Creek was very efficient, so it was decided to expand it by replacing the 15 inch pipe with a 24 inch pipe which was also made out of wood staves. The new pipe crossed the Kootenay River on the bridge at Brilliant. However, the wooden pipe could not withstand the pressure of water and attempts to pump it into the reservoir failed. Several Ootischenia villages obtained their domestic water from this system. The system feeding Ootischenia from McPhee and Little McPhee Creeks supplied water until 1953. A forest fire in 1933 destroyed the wooden pipes, trestles, and small pipes leading to the reservoir and damaged the watershed. This greatly reduced the output of the streams in the mountains east of Ootischenia. The water projects, which cost $438,000 to install, could not meet the needs of the Doukhobor community.

At this time, sawmills were abandoned, leaving only one sawmill and planing mill in the Slocan Valley and another planing mill at Champion Creek. They were destroyed by fire before 1938.

Schools and Education

The immigration of Doukhobors to British Columbia from Saskatchewan brought about new challenges to public education. First, there were at least 700 children of school age who had never seen a school and who knew little English. Second, there were the pacifist beliefs of the Doukhobors. Third, there was mistrust of governments by these new immigrants.

The Blakemore Royal Commission of 1912 recommended that “in order to give the Doukhobors confidence and secure their sympathy, some working arrangement might be made under which Russian teachers could be employed in conjunction with Canadian teachers and the curriculum modified so as to include only elementary subjects”.

In 1910, Peter V. Verigin constructed the first Doukhobor school in Brilliant, with eleven small schools being built in Doukhobor areas by 1920. It wasn’t until 1919 that Doukhobor girls were allowed to attend school, and even after that time boys largely outnumbered the girls.

In the next two decades many schools were built to accommodate the Doukhobor children. By 1923, school boards were held responsible for enforcing the attendance law, with compulsory age limit being fifteen years. By 1929, thirteen schools had been destroyed, mostly by arson. These activities were blamed on the extreme zealot group, who opposed the compulsory attendance law.

The name of ‘Brilliant’ was given to each of the schools within a five mile’s radius. They were identified as ‘Brilliant No. 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5’. Brilliant No. I began as a small school, with the teacher being principal for all of the five Brilliant schools. Eventually, overcrowding caused the school to close and a large brick school to be built. It was located at the junction of Pass Creek Road, Brilliant and Raspberry.

Group of Doukhobor schoolchildren at Brilliant, BC, circa 1920. British Columbia Archives D-01929.

In 1930 the school located in the south end of Ootischenia was burned as a cover-up to a theft, so classes were relocated to the old chebatarnia. The drafty old building housed forty students, so another classroom was hastily prepared in the front section of the building. These were Brilliant No. 4 & 5 Schools. The teachers lived in a nearby communal home and walked the four miles to the Brilliant Railway Station for supplies and mail. In the ensuing years, students from this school began attending either Pleasant or Cay Creek Schools.

In 1933 a brick school was constructed in Glade, resembling the Raspberry (Brilliant) and Fructova Schools. The school included a classroom at each end and a four-room teacherage in the centre. Although modern by the standards of the day, water had to be hauled from the nearby river and toilets were outside. The teachers found that one of the hardships of living in an isolated community was the drift ferry. If one wished to cross, one would call out “Parome!” (ferry) and it would be brought to your side of the river.

In 1935, Alexander Zuckerberg was invited by Peter P. Verigin to teach Doukhobor children in Russian. Classes were conducted in various Doukhobor prayer doms. Zuckerberg taught until 1961.

The first Ootischenia School was opened in 1942, consisting of three classrooms and teacherage. The building was not insulated, and the washrooms were outdoors. Wood stoves heated each room. The school was in operation for twenty years, until a modern facility was built. It was also named Ootischenia School and opened in 1963. Despite major additions, enrollment decreased and the school closed in 1986. Both buildings remain today, with the old school being utilized as a Doukhobor community hall.

Possibly the most isolated area in which the Doukhobors settled was Champion Creek. Situated eight miles south of Castlegar on the east side of the Columbia River, it was accessible by walking from Castlegar, then rowing a boat across the river from Blueberry Creek, or horseback riding from Ootischenia. In later years, you could risk your life by driving a vehicle, because the banks were sandy and there was the possibility of landing in the Columbia.

Champion Creek had a thriving population of five hundred people among its five Doukhobor villages. Because of isolation, the men came home only on weekends and holidays. Most worked for the CPR, in lumber camps or mines. The women did the bulk of the farming on the slopes high above the Columbia, growing fruits, vegetables, berries and hay.

The teacherage was located in one of the large doms, and sparsely furnished. Classes were also held in a meeting room of a dom, which was furnished with long desks and benches. Again, there were usually twice as many boys as girls. Wages were $100 per month, while other rural schools paid $79.

John Landis, who later became Mayor of Castlegar, recalled his years at Champion Creek School in the book “School District No. 9“.

I was assigned to Champion Creek School in 1956. The single room had ample space for its eight pupils from Grades 1 to 6. The teacherage consisted of a kitchen and a bedroom. Washrooms were two outdoor facilities past the woodshed. I soon settled into my first teaching assignment. The isolated area was far removed from a library or teaching tools. My copying machine was a jelly pad, and chalk and black on boards my sole visual aid tools. The parents supplied me with fresh produce, and I in turn, wrote letters on their behalf, and when I bought my 1938 Chevy, they received transportation to Castlegar.

“1956-57 was a cold winter, and the stove was kept cherry-red. During spring breakup, I left my Chevy past Blueberry, and then called for the boys to row me across the Columbia.

“P.E. activities were held outdoors except for curling. I used paper rolled out on the floor for a rink, and ink bottle caps for rocks. Curling became the children’s favourite winter pastime.

Isolation had caught up with Champion Creek, and in the mid 1950s, all that remained were three rundown sparsely populated villages. The school closed in 1958. Children began to be bused in 1956. Electricity arrived in 1960, the road was paved, and phone and cable services were installed.

Gibson Creek’s first school was built in 1924. It was small, dark and bare. A wood stove heated the one room and the toilets were outside. Water was hauled from a neighbouring home. Living quarters for the teacher were attached to the school. By 1947, the old Gibson Creek School was deemed inadequate, and a new school was built. It consisted of a stucco building with a large classroom and teacher’s apartment, and modern amenities such as washrooms, furnace room and lots of endows. By 1960 there were electric lights. The school was situated in a remote area. To reach it, one had to branch off of Pass Creek Road and take a scenic winding mountain road. During spring, Gibson Creek overflowed its banks and washed out the road, making it inaccessible. Heavy snowfalls hampered students as they climbed the hill. In 1963, parents withdrew their children from school because of poor road conditions. After that, the road was deemed public and has been maintained by the Highways Department. Gibson Creek School was closed in 1966 and its pupils bused to Pass Creek.

In 1948, a new school was built in Tarrys, just down the road from Thrums. To celebrate the opening, an open house was held. But before a single class could be conducted, it was levelled by fire – the work of an arsonist. Subsequently, the old school was moved to the burned site. It was known as Tarrys School. In 1954, a new school was built next to the old one, and the building of 1910 vintage was finally demolished. In the ensuing years, the school population expanded, and so did the school. Today, students from Tarrys, Thrums, Glade and Shoreacres attend this modern school.

Among Doukhobor students, various activities meant an absence from school. For example, the school register during the 1940s recorded the following reasons for absenteeism: Mrs. Verigin’s funeral, Peter’s Day, pilgrimage to Verigin’s Tomb, and celebration in honour of the elder Mrs. Verigin.

In 1945, when the Cameron Report on School Finance was given, it made no specific provision regarding Doukhobor schools other than that they should be treated no differently than others. “Every effort should be made to get them into the ordinary scheme of things.”

In the 1950s, the BC Government made an all-out effort to enforce school attendance among children in Krestova and Gilpin. Forty children were seized in one pre-dawn raid on Krestova and taken to an old sanatorium in New Denver, a nearby village located on Slocan Lake. The raids on the children continued for the next six years. The children were housed and schooled but not allowed to have contact with their families, except for every other Sunday. On that day, families would travel from Krestova and from Gilpin, the latter necessitating a two day trip in winter. An eight foot high wire fence divided the children and families. A molenye was held, and favourite foods passed to the young inmates. Farewells were said through the ‘chicken wire’ fence. The children were held in New Denver until fifteen years of age. The school closed in 1959.

The Golden Years

It could be said that the early twenties were the golden years for the CCUB. The Brilliant Jam Factory was producing high yields of jams, utilizing fruit from community orchards. The sawmills, flourmills and brickyards were busy, and there was plenty of work outside of the community. Most important of all, there was a noticeable spirit of togetherness among the people.

The Death of Peter “Lordly” Verigin

But on October 29, 1924, tragedy struck the Doukhobor community. Peter “Lordly” Verigin was killed in a mysterious train explosion in Farron, BC. Dynamite had been placed near his seat. Although eight others died, it was believed that Verigin was the target. John Mackie, MLA, was one of the victims, as was Harry Bishop, a hockey player with a Nelson hockey team. Others included a rancher from Grand Forks, two businessmen, labourers and a young Doukhobor woman. Although extensive inquiries were conducted, the murders remain unsolved.

Verigin’s funeral drew an estimated seven thousand people from across western Canada, many non-Doukhobor. After a lengthy and emotional funeral, during which hymns and psalms were sung and eulogies delivered, the leader was buried on November 2, 1924. His resting place was a rocky bluff high above the Kootenay River, Brilliant and Ootischenia, overlooking the vast enterprise he had developed. An elaborate tomb with intricate carvings had been erected, but it was blown up by dynamite several years later and replaced by a plain edifice.

Some seven thousand people attended the funeral of Peter “Lordly” Verigin on a hillside overlooking Brilliant, BC. Simon Fraser University Doukhobor Collection.

Peter Lordly Verigin was the ideal leader for the times. He had led the Doukhobors throughout the most turbulent period in their history, when they were at the mercy of various governments. He had counseled them to reject militarism from his exile in Siberia, which precipitated their move to Canada. After the loss of community lands on the prairies he had brought his people to British Columbia and established a large communal enterprise, which was at the height of its prosperity when he died a martyr’s death. It is no wonder that he is still revered today. “Toil and Peaceful Life” was the slogan he left his people.

Six weeks after the death of Verigin, a memorial service was held at his graveside. Four thousand people attended. They decided that the successor to Peter V. Verigin should be his son, Peter P. Verigin, who was living in Russia. He did not arrive in Canada until 1927. In his absence, the CCUB Board of Directors continued to function. When Peter P. Verigin “Chistiakov’ (Cleanser) arrived, he was greeted by enormous crowds and songs composed in his honour.

The CCUB under Peter Verigin Chistiakov

Verigin immediately implemented economic and cultural initiatives and organizational restructuring. He began by giving commune status to each village, with the CCUB providing leadership to these communes. Building on the structures already in place, he established villages or ‘Families’ in units of 100 persons, while on the prairie, 25 persons were allotted to a ‘Family’. A total of eighty communes or ‘Families’ were established, with an appointed headman from each village collecting earnings from his workers, making purchases, and paying levies and rent assessments to the CCUB for the entire village. Business between individual communes was done on a cash basis.

During the 1930s, CCUB membership was declining. This was attributed to a number of factors including the Depression. Furthermore, many Doukhobors were leaving the CCUB community and moving to towns or farms. There were also a growing number of zealots who didn’t pay assessments and who were sent to live in isolated settlements.

In the early 1930s, as a response to nude parades, several hundred zealots were sent to Piers Island on the west coast of BC. Their children were dispersed among mostly non-Doukhobor families for approximately one year. They returned to the communities of Krestova and to Gilpin near Grand Forks, earning their living by selling garden produce and obtaining outside employment.

CCUB losses by depredation were enormous, with flour mills, sawmills and houses, including the leader’s home being destroyed. By 1937, estimated losses totalled $400,000. These depredations, combined with the Depression, unemployment and declining membership, were major contributing factors leading to the bankruptcy in 1937 of the CCUB operations.

Doukhobors meet at Brilliant, BC with their new leader, Peter “Chistiakov” Verigin. Simon Fraser University Doukhobor Collection.

In ten years, Peter P. Verigin had significantly lowered the debt of the CCUB, however it was refused protection under the Farmers’ Creditors Arrangement Act passed by the federal government during the early years of the Depression. In 1938, Sun Life and National Trust Mortgage Companies instituted foreclosure proceedings on a debt of $350,000, dismantling a communal enterprise valued at over $6 million. On the verge of foreclosure by mortgage companies, the BC government became landlords by negotiating a $296,500 knockdown price on the amount owing. Those living on the land became tenants. The Doukhobors were allowed to rent their former homes at nominal fees.

Upon the dissolution of the CCUB, the centerpiece of the community, the Brilliant Jam Factory stood dark and empty. This once-bustling enterprise was a sad reminder of the thriving, golden years of the Doukhobor community.

The Doukhobors continued to tend the former community orchards and much of the produce was sold at Farmer’s Markets. Non-Doukhobor fruit-processing plants bought the surplus. Many people moved from the villages, seeking employment. They either became Independent Doukhobors or remained ‘Orthodox’ Doukhobors.

Following the dissolution of the CCUB, Peter P. Verigin established the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (USCC) in 1938. Under his guidance, a constitution was developed, and a ‘Declaration’ stating basic principals.

Peter P. Verigin became ill and died in a Saskatoon hospital in February 1939. His funeral was attended by thousands. He was buried in Verigin’s Tomb alongside his father. During the leadership of Peter P. Verigin, more than a dozen schools were built, including Raspberry (Brilliant) and Fruktova Schools. Besides organizing the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ, he also established a strong USCC Youth organization. He left his people the following two slogans, “Sons of Freedom Cannot be Slaves of Corruption” and “The Welfare of the World is Not Worth the Life of One Child”. In 1940, at age 18, John J. Verigin, grandson of Peter P. Verigin, was appointed Secretary of the USCC, taking over many of his grandfather’s responsibilities.

Eventually, Doukhobor lands were re-surveyed, subdivided, appraised and put up for sale. By 1963, all former community lands, except Krestova, were in Doukhobor hands by virtue of sales.

Persecutions in Russia, the arduous journeys to Canada and British Columbia, breaking new ground, building new communities – the lives of the early Doukhobors were fraught with political unrest and heavy with toil. They were yearning for a peaceful life.

About the Author

Vi Plotnikoff (1937-2006) was a well known Doukhobor writer who wrote about her Doukhobor heritage for many years. She published a short story collection, Head Cook at Weddings and Funerals and other stories of Doukhobor Life (Polestar Press) and was a popular lecturer and teacher at Kootenay schools, including the Kootenay School of the Arts and Selkirk College. Prior to her passing, in a return to the roots of her oral tradition, she had begun storytelling. She also released a story CD, The Mysterious Death of a Doukhobor Leader.

Brilliant Jam Factory was Thriving Industry

by William M. Rozinkin

Among the many communal enterprises of the Doukhobor Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB), the most remembered is their Kootenay-Columbia (K-C) Preserving Works Jam Factory in Brilliant, British Columbia. Purchased in Nelson in 1911 and relocated to Brilliant in 1915, it was an important industrial asset of the CCUB, processing the berries and fruit grown in its vast communal orchards. At its peak in 1934, the factory had a jam pack of 35,000 cases. Following the demise of the CCUB in 1937-1938, the jam factory was taken over by the British Columbia government. In 1943, it was destroyed by arson. The following article by Kootenay resident and historian William M. Rozinkin (1923-2007) recalls the thriving industry of the Brilliant jam factory. Reproduced by permission from the Nelson Daily News (June 9, 1967).

When the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood purchased 15,320 acres of land in B.C. interior in 1907, it launched a development program that spread throughout the Kootenay-Boundary regions. Besides some cultivated areas in Grand Forks all the rest were heavily forested and many inaccessible.

The Doukhobors, headed by Peter Lordly Verigin, faced hard pioneer work. By 1911, the communities pushed back the forests and planted 51,000 fruit trees and were building residential villages, roads, ferries and sawmills. By 1914, over 3,000 acres were under orchards and hundreds of acres planted with strawberries, raspberries and other berries. Fields of vegetables and grain were also producing abundant crops as irrigation systems began operating. More land was acquired.

With the expanding supply of fruit and berries, the CCUB purchased the Kootenay Jam Co. factory in Nelson in 1911, whose label proudly stated, “By Special Appointment, Perveyors to H.E. the Governor-General.” The factory was located on Front Street in the building later occupied by National Fruit Co.

Sorting apples at Brilliant, BC, circa 1920. British Columbia Archives C-01535.

Following the purchase, the factory became known as the Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works, producers of the KC Brand products. It operated on the location for five years with six jam making kettles.

In a letter dated March 4, 1915, Mr. Verigin informed the Nelson Board of Trade that the CCUB had decided to relocate the factory from Nelson to Brilliant to be near the large plantations that supplied the factory. Besides freight costs, shipping time was also delaying the processing of berries when they were at their best, he said.

At that time the prairies were purchasing 50 per cent of their fruit from the U.S.A., 35 per cent from Ontario, and only 15 per cent from B.C.

When the KC operations began in 1911, the factory’s business amounted to $25,000, with the manufacture of 70 tons. Ninety two tons were produced in 1912 and the following year, 177 tons.

Immediately after the factory went into production at Brilliant in 1915, Mr. Verigin’s progressive policy promoted the construction of a plant for the manufacture of tin cans needed for jam distribution. In the first operating season of 1916, 150,000 cans were made.

The new jam factory now had 12 special jam-making copper kettles that operated to full capacity processing berries the same day they were received. The strict grading of incoming berries and fruit, together with supervised cleanliness, had far-reaching effects. Nothing else was used besides pure cane sugar and berries in the old English recipe introduced to the K-C operation by Harry Beach in 1911. All jam found a ready market.

With the construction of extensive irrigation systems and with an additional 1000 acres of fruit trees added by 1919, the agricultural development leaped forward, and the $100,000 factory worked at full capacity.

The K-C Preserving Works was the pride of the communities,” recalled William J. Soukoreff of Thrums. “The reputable quality of its products was known in Canada and in the U.S.A.”

Mr. Soukoreff worked from 1915 to 1928 in the offices of the CCUB and its other business holdings, the K-C Fuel Supply in Trail, Salmo Valley Lumber and Pole Col, Slocan Valley Lumber CO., and at the K-C offices in Brilliant. The CCUB also maintained businesses in Nelson and others in Brand Forks, and on the prairies. He went to work in the sales division of the factory in 1928, and recalled his successful business relations with western wholesalers and chain store establishments. Every major city in western Canada was a customer for K-C Brand jam.

The community also maintained two tomato canning plants, one in Brilliant and the other in Grand Forks. While a lot of canned tomatoes were used at home, up to 14 freight car loads were also shipped annually from Brilliant, where tomato canning facilities were located in the jam factory.

In August 1934, Mr. Soukoreff returned home from a sales trip east with orders for 18 car loads of jam from that single trip! “Favorable prairie crop conditions had a direct effect on fruit sales,” he said. Although times were hard, the 18 cars were sold at highest prices.

Doukhobor Jam Factory at Brilliant, BC, circa 1930. British Columbia Archives D-06930.

The same year the factory had a jam pack of 35,000 cases. This included 10,000 cases of strawberry jam that led in popularity, followed by plum and raspberry. Each case consisted of 12 four-pound cans of jam.

During the depression years, the combination of strawberry-apple jam appealed to the bargain-hunting housewife. It was during those years that unemployed persons picked huckleberries and made better than average wages selling them to the factory. About 2,000 cases of huckleberry jam were made in one season, and it was K-C who first introduced this jam to the prairies. Its demand was great.

Mr. Soukoreff recalled that the largest jam pack was the year after Peter Chistiakov Verigin arrived to head the community and doubled the production facilities of the K-C factory. With 24 jam-making kettles in operation, thousands of cases were loaded into 70 freight cars for eastern markets. “The largest obstacle to our sales on the prairies were the freight rates that favored the eastern producers,” he said.

Many old-timers still recall the hundreds of wagons loaded with berries and fruit that streamed to the packing sheds and factory during the summer and fall. They came from Ootischenia, Brilliant, Shoreacres, Robson, Pass Creek, Glade, and Slocan Valley. Grand Forks made heavy rail shipments.

Not only the Doukhobor communities supplied the factory. Farmers from Slocan Valley and others living along Kootenay Lake as far as Creston brought their berries by truck, while others shipped by railway.

Visitors were common at the factory, as they came to view the making of the “best jam they ever tasted”. When the Gyro Club District No. 8 held their convention in Nelson in August, 1935, they toured and had a banquet in the K-C factory. Making the trip were 170 Gyros and Gyrettes, in 42 cars. E.A. Mann, former Nelson club president, recalled the occasion. “It was a big hit with the Gyros,” he said. “The Doukhobor hospitality and cleanliness was most impressive. And their jam was good too!” The club was guided through the factory by John J. Sherbinin, business manager; Peter P. Zibin, jam maker and supervisor, and Joseph P. Shukin, executive director. For a gift each lady was given a four-pound can of jam.

The visitors saw the kettles in operation, activated by steam heat and looked after by an attendant. After the jam was cooked it was poured into smaller copper pots that were placed on wheeled “turtles” and taken to the cooler. Here the temperature was reduced and the jam received final skimming. It was then taken to the tables where it was ladled out into the sterilized cans. The protective special covering was placed on the cold contents and the can sealed with the lid. These cans were moved to the lower floor on the elevator, where labels were affixed on each can designating the contents. They were then placed in cases for shipment.

Most visitors were fascinated by the cherry-pitter and other machinery in the operation that was capable of producing up to 1,055 cans of jam per hour and produced up to 43,000 cases annually.

Among those who worked many years at the factory was Peter P. Zibin, under whose watchful supervision jam was made from 1915 to 1935. William J. Makaeff succeeded him. At peak season the factory employed up to 60 persons.

Office and staff of the Doukhobor Jam Factory at Brilliant, BC, circa 1925. British Columbia Archives C-01593.

In operating the K-C factory and other enterprises the Doukhobor communities tried to establish economic wellbeing for all its members, and where the aged, the orphaned, the widowed and the crippled also had food, clothing and shelter. During those years there was no welfare assistance to the needy, and this practice was a continuation of Doukhobor tradition.

Under the guidance of Lordly Verigin (head and organizer), all capital was turned into development of field and factory that formed the material foundation for this society that had a penniless beginning. When funds were needed for large projects, the executive office borrowed.

The rapid growth and strict religion of the Doukhobor community at times brought considerable suspicion, misunderstanding and disfavour.

In 1924, the year Mr. Verigin was killed in an unsolved train bombing, the CCUB holdings were valued at $6 ½ million, with $1 million owing.

A packing plant’s executive member also escaped death four years later when a speeding auto fired five shots at him near Castlegar. There were no arrests.

Peter Chistiakov Verigin arrived in 1927 and continued in his father’s post. In 10 years under his administration, the CCUB repaid $1 ½ million on loans and expanded manufacturing plants, built new ones, added acreages, settlements, etc. amounting to $1 million. Despite the depression of the 30’s, that caused membership to drop 43 per cent, and the attacking terrorism (total terrorist losses amounted to $1 ½ million), he reduced the debt to $319,276. In 1939 this amounted to 4 per cent of the value of community property. But it led to bankruptcy, foreclosure and ruin of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood enterprises.

Four years after Peter Chistiakov Verigin died in 1939 the Brilliant factory was destroyed by terrorists. Its replacement value was $300,000. Besides valuable equipment and large stocks of tin cans, this “largest industrial building of its kind in the interior” also had its own electric lighting plant. It had been taken over by the B.C. government following finance companies’ mortgage foreclosure. It was insured.

Another jam factory was constructed in Grand Forks in 1935. It was also destroyed by terrorists in the same year, bringing a loss of $75,000.

The CCUB has been replaced by the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ as the major Doukhobor organization. It was organized by Peter Chistiakov Verigin in 1938.

 

For More Information

For more information on the Doukhobors’ Kootenay-Columbia Preserving Works jam enterprise in Nelson, British Columbia, see the article, The Doukhobor Jam Factory in Nelson, British Columbia by Greg Nesteroff.