To the east of this location, and about a block and a half away is the hamlet of Brandon, founded by W.H. Brandon. In 1896, William H. Brandon filed a pre-emption for 160 acres in the community that bears his name. He built the first house in the community and in 1897 he was offering lots for sale. The property was finally surveyed in 1898 to complete the process.
It is only a few houses on a couple of streets hidden at the foot of the mountains, and for many people is an extension of Slocan. But Brandonites will happily disavow anyone of that notion – they are a very separate community. Their water supply comes from an underground spring – said to be the best tasting water around. On foot a person could access Brandon from the highway, but most folks travel through Slocan to get to it. In the late 1890s, Mr Brandon was not happy to see so many people erecting buildings on the lots in his town without purchasing them. Two hotels were transgressors and in 1897 we see The Park Hotel (being the first to be built in Brandon) operated by Billy Harrington and Jack Lowes and the Victoria Hotel operated by the Sloan Brothers moved to Slocan. The buildings were simply picked up and skidded through the woods to their new locations. The Victoria’s new location was on this corner where our current village office stands and the Park situated itself across Delaney Avenue on the corner. The Victoria offered free transportation to the wharf according to ads in the Slocan Pioneer.
In 1904, the Victoria was no longer in operation and the property became part of the Ontario-Slocan Lumber Company holdings. The City had a huge tax sale in 1904, and advertised it far and wide. This got them into a bit of trouble when they couldn’t pay the advertising bill. That and a deal with the Slocan-Ontario Lumber company the year before put the community in a difficult financial position and the City was seized for debt. In 1907, a special Act was passed to mitigate the situation.
In 1921, this property reverted back to the City and eventually in 1955 it was sold to BC Forestry and the current building was built. It served the Forestry until 1966 when it was transferred back to the community which was now designated a village. Extensive renovations were completed in 2009.
In 1928, a road from the north was built over Cape Horn and down the side of the granite wall and through a short iconic tunnel as a one lane (with pull outs) road and was used in this way for more than 45 years. The road linked the other communities on Slocan Lake to Slocan and onward. This would be the beginning of the demise of the sternwheeler traffic. The tunnel has since partly collapsed but the road is still visible. Falling rock makes it dangerous to explore the old byway.
A new road was built in 1973 which bypassed the bluff road and the Village. An article in the Revelstoke Review quoting a letter written by the Village of Nakusp to the Minister of Highways in 1988, described the road into Slocan as “…what was a one-way road hanging on a precipice is now a virtually impassable trail clinging to a mountain side.” The road was known to be quite a hazard and in 1989 it was widened to the highway we travel today.