The Nelson Powerplant at Bonnington Falls is officially named Alexander Carrie Hydro Plant. It was dedicated to the architect who designed the building and many others in Nelson at the turn of the century.
Alexander Carrie was born in Yorkville, Ontario on November 14, 1863. As a young man Mr. Carrie made his way westward to Winnipeg, to study construction and architecture, arriving in what was to become Nelson, B.C. on April 17, 1895. Little grass grew under his feet as he commenced employment on April 22, 1895.
On March 26, 1896 Mr. Carrie married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Elliot at Donald B.C. They settled in Nelson and raised their family. Mr. Carrie was not only a Pioneer, a family and businessman, but also a distinguished and contributing member of the City of Nelson. Today the Carrie descendents reside in Nelson, Western Canada and the United States of America.
A talented and prolific architect, Mr. Carrie's career spanned over 52 years in Nelson and the Kootenays. He designed and completed hundreds of structures, both commercial and residential in the region. He was chosen by Architect, Sir Francis Rattenbury, to be his Clerk of the Works for his Nelson projects. A position of some distinction.
Mr. Carrie's last blueprint was completed on July 21, 1947. He died on July 29, 1947, bringing to a close one of the most prolific architectural careers the area has ever witnessed. His buildings have withstood the test of time standing tall and proud throughout the Kootenays. It is no stretch of the imagination to call him the area's most prolific Architect.
Lorne A. Campbell
Lorne A. Campbell was the general manager and electrical engineer for West Kootenay Power and light from 1898, when he was appointed by Sir Charles Ross. He held the position for nearly 50 years, until his death in 1947.
His first task as General Manager was to oversee construction of the No. 1 Plant and the transmission line to Rossland. He also negotiated a contract with Cominco, which was to become WKP&L's largest customer and owner by 1916.
Anecdotal stories describe Campbell as a difficult person. But his determination and dedication to his job provided WKP with a solid foundation for almost 50 years.
Sir Charles Ross
Charles Henry Augustus Frederick Lockhard Ross was born in 1872 at Balnagowan Castle Ross-shire, Scotland. He became a baron at the age of 11 after his father died, was educated at Eton and Cambridge and was a Captain during the Boer War from 1899-1900.
He is known in the Kootenay region for his pioneering vision of the Kootenay River. He named portions of the river after similar landmarks in his native Scotland. Lower and Upper Bonnington Falls and Corra Linn, now names of dams, were beautiful waterfalls before development on the river began.
Sir Charles Ross is well-known in the rest of Canada for the infamous Ross Rifle used by Canadian troops during WWI. Described by some as a gentleman's hunting rifle, it was not well-suited for the muddy trenches of warfare.
William Adolf Baillie-Grohman
William A. Baillie-Grohman, an investor, hunter and entrepreneur attempted to drain the marshlands at the south end of Kootenay Lake for agriculture in the 1880s. The plan involved building a canal between the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers (to draw Kootenay River water north) and dredging a shallow riverbed at the western outlet of Kootenay Lake near Nelson.
A shallow shelf of rock restricted the flow of water out of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake into the Kootenay River. In the late 1880s, as part of his vision, Baillie-Grohman hired Newlin Hoover to blast the rock shelf and dredge 13,700 metres (15,000 yards) of gravel to free water at the narrows.
In the 1930s, in a more successful attempt to drain Kootenay River floodplains and increase water volume through Corra Linn Dam, an additional 228,600 metres (250,000 yards) of rock and gravel were dredged from the narrows.
John Houston was Nelson's founding mayor, started the city's first two newspapers, and served several terms as a Kootenay representative in the British Columbia Legislature. His fiery demeanour earned him friends and foes alike.
Born in Ontario, Houston came to Nelson in 1890 from Donald, British Columbia where he ran a newspaper called The Truth. He started the Nelson Miner, which he soon sold, and then established its rival, The Tribune. His natural sympathies lay with the miners and working people.
Houston pushed for Nelson's incorporation and was elected the city's first mayor in 1897. During his four terms, he set a pattern for public ownership of utilities by championing the purchase of the private water company and the hydroelectric company (of which he was a director) by the city.
After losing a key legal battle with West Kootenay Power in 1905, Houston left his wife and moved away from Nelson. He later turned up in Nevada. From there resigned as mayor. In 1910, he read his own too hastily printed obituary in The Vancouver Daily Province, and wrote to the paper: "Don't be putting in any correction -- I'll make good on the story." Houston died days later of pneumonia and was brought to Nelson for burial. His funeral was Nelson's largest to that date.