DescriptionThe remnants of one of western Canada’s greatest mining towns nestle in the deep, wooded ravine of Carpenter Creek, high in the Selkirk Mountains. Pioneer prospectors Eli Carpenter and Jack Seaton discovered rich deposits of silver-lead ore here in 1891, triggering a rush. At its peak in the late 1890s, Sandon had over 5,000 residents, 29 hotels, 28 saloons, three breweries, theaters, an opera house, a school and a hospital.
Fire destroyed the central business district on May 3, 1900. The town was quickly rebuilt, channeling Carpenter Creek into a flume and converting its former course into the main street. The 1900s, however, ushered in a long decline. Rising metal prices during World War I briefly renewed prosperity, but the town disincorporated in 1920.
During World War II Sandon housed nearly 1,000 Japanese-Canadians, relocated from the Pacific coast, but by the early 1950s fewer than 200 residents remained. Much of the town remained intact until a major flood devastated the canyon in 1955.
Since the 1970s, volunteers have worked to preserve and restore the old mining town and to protect its heritage from souvenir hunters. Visitors are welcome to wander Sandon’s scattered remnants. An old locomotive and other railroad rolling stock idle on a restored section of track. A steep gravel road (a high clearance vehicle is required) leads from the far end of town to Idaho Peak, where a short trail accesses a panoramic view. Galena Trail and K & S Railgrade Trail follow the former railroad routes. The Sandon Historical Society Museum acts as a visitor center.
Things to SeeSandon Historical Society Museum