History author to visit Castlegar

By Contributor
September 30th, 2009

What was it like to live in an isolated company-owned mining village some 50; 60 years ago?

Port Coquitlam author, Larry Jacobsen, interviewed 91 people including the men who worked at the Emerald Mine (Canex), near Salmo, as well as the women and children who actually lived at the mine. He has collected their entertaining, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes poignant, stories in a book titled Jewel of the Kootenays: The Emerald Mine.

With over 350 photographs and illustrations, the book provides the reader with vivid insights into mining life in this special place nearly a lifetime ago.

Using company-donated materials and equipment, volunteers built an Olympic-sized swimming pool, heated with the cooling water from the mine’s giant air compressors.

The Emerald Mine was unique. Under the ownership of Placer Development Inc., it not only generated 8,000,000 tons of lead/zinc ore, but was also Canada’s largest tungsten producer — second largest in North America. It was the first mine in Canada to use heavy diesel-powered equipment underground.

In 1969, the B.C. Workers Compensation Board awarded its first-ever gold medal for bravery to a Canex miner for his part in the dramatic rescue of miner Gil Mosses.
The prestigious Northern Miner newspaper featured this book on its OP/ED pages in its 2008 – Nov. 3 – 9 issue.

Jacobsen is no stranger to the Kootenays, for he spent the first eight of his life near Edgewater before his family moved to a farm in Southeastern Alberta. He returned to the area in 1947 and worked briefly in logging and sawmills before becoming a miner for 13 years including, eight years in the Salmo area. His three children were all born in Nelson.

Shawn Lamb, archivist at Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, says, “This book fills an important gap in the history of the area.”

The author will present Powerpoint slides and talk about life at the mine to the Castlegar and District Heritage Society (CDHS)at the Community Forum, located on 13th Avenue in the CBT building on Oct. 20 from 6-9 p.m.

Donations will be accepted at the door for the CDHS.

Autographed copies of the book will be available after the presentation.

Presentations at local schools during this week can be arranged by contacting the author by email at starrider@shaw.ca

Soft cover, 344 pp. 8 ¼ x 10½, price $29.95, published by Salmo Arts and Museum Society in Sept. 2008, (www.Salmo.net), distributed by Gordon Soules Book Publishers Ltd., West Vancouver, BC. books@gordonsoules.com.

Categories: Arts and Culture


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