BC Geographical Names

Name Details:

Name: Phoenix
Feature TypeClick here for a list of
Feature Types.
:
Abandoned Locality - A previously populated place with no current population; often a modern landmark in a remote location.
StatusClick here for an explanation of Status.: Official
Relative Location: E of Greenwood, NW of Grand Forks (city), Similkameen Division Yale Land District
Latitude-LongitudeClick here for an explanation of Position Type.: 49°06'00''N, 118°35'00''W at the approximate population centre of this feature.
DatumClick here for an explanation of Datum.: NAD27
NTS MapClick here for an explanation of NTS Map.: 82E/2
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Origin Notes and History:

Phoenix (locality) adopted 6 October 1955 on 82E, as identified in post office records and Directories since 1898, and as labelled on BC map 1EM, 1915. Form of name changed to Phoenix (abandoned locality) 2 March 2005 on 82E/2.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Phoenix Post Office was opened 1 October 1898. CPR station opened 1898. Incorporated as a City in 1900. GNR station opened 1904. Incorporated status dissolved 1919. Phoenix Post Office closed 1 October 1920 [elsewhere closing date is given as 15 September 1920].
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Named after the "Phoenix" mineral claim located by Robert Dengler in 1891 on this site, in turn as named by Dengler after a mining camp in the American Cordillera. Phoenix (BC) thrived from 1899 to 1919; with 4,000 people, hospital, tennis courts, skating rink, brewery, 17 saloons and 4 churches, this was one of BC's largest towns. In 1919 the price of copper dropped, a miner's strike in Fernie closed the coke ovens, and consequently the smelters in the Boundary mining area, thence the Phoenix mine. Before it closed its doors, the town council sold the skating rink building for $1200, bought a granite cenotaph as a memorial to the townsmen who had died in WW I, and paid the Royal Canadian Legion branch in nearby Grand Forks $400 to look after the monument. Eventually Phoenix became a ghost town, and by the early 1950s only the cenotaph and a small cemetery remain at the original site. New mine buildings constructed about 1 mile east in Lot 2701, according to 1959 advice from Grand Forks municipal staff.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
"December 5: The snow fell softly today on the freshly-dug earth covering the grave of Phoenix' last inhabitant. William Henry Bambury was the last citizen of what was once Canada's highest city - a bustling mining town of five churches, 17 saloons, two railways, an opera house, three schools and 3500 people. Phoenix boomed in 1899 and busted in 1919. Two stayed. One was a Belgian caretaker named Adolf Sercu who signed himself 4 Paw. For years 4 Paw paraded the city's rotting streets with a 30-30 rifle under his arm and a homemade badge on his chist. He died in 1942. The other who stayed was Bambury. He came to British Columbia from Postmouth, England, to work on the Canadian Pacific [railway]. He arrived here in 1900 at the age of 33 to work as a carpenter. He never left except for a few months in hard winters when he made his way to the hotel in the nearby mining town of Greenwood. He did leave again, in October, to go to hospital in Trail. But he returned. At this request he was buried in the cemetery on the hillside near the old coppermine's glory hole. After 1919, when the copper ore ran out, Phoenix emptied. One by one the houses fell down until today only one is left standing. When everyone else left Bambury moved in and there he stayed until today." (excerpt from 'Only Ghosts Inhabit Phoenix Now' published in Victoria Daily Times, 6 December 1951, p.12)
Source: included with note