The Square, Cobalt, Ontario
In 1903, silver was discovered in Cobalt, Ontario. Without benefit of planning, the town of Cobalt sprung up on the rocky terrain in the middle of the mining field. By the end of 1905 the 16 mines shipped ore valued at more than $1.3 million. In 1906, $3.7 million was mined and shipped. Production continued to increase until 1911, when 31.5 million ounces of silver were extracted.
The town was a rollicking boomtown. Since most of the rich silver veins were close to the surface, many miners were able to extract rich ore without the substantial capital backing that is required for deep mines, leading to widespread wealth for many who participated in the activity. After the gold rush in the Klondike, which had started in July of 1897 and which was now in decline, Cobalt became a site of continent-wide interest.
This card has an AZO stamp box commonly used between 1904 and 1918. The card is written on, with "This is the swell part of Cobalt naturally. Under X - "Sullivan's" is Homer's good customer. Mine are all to the right not shown. Paid 10¢ for this card." appearing on the back. The 'X' refers to the pencil mark made on the photo side of the card.
The detail below shows a closeup of the square, showing Moore's Drug Store, and Proctors, and a barber pole, and much activity. Near the centre of the card, at the right end of the block of buildings that flank the square starting on the left side of the card, is the Canadian Bank of Commerce, shown below. The bank appears to be photographed at an earlier date, as additional buildings are seen in the Cobalt Square photo beyond the bank.
Rainy River, Ontario
This card shows the town of Rainy River celebrating Dominion Day with a foot race on main street in 1905.
On January 1, 1904, the hamlet of Beaver Mills, Ontario became incorporated as the Town of Rainy River. The Town of Rainy River is located west of Lake Superior, near the Manitoba border, on the shores of the Rainy River, which separates Canada from the U.S.A.
The hamlet of Beaver Mills first gained its start in 1895 when a small sawmill was moved overland to a point where the Manitoba and Southeastern Railway planned to build a railway bridge, which was completed in 1901. The mill later grew to be one of the largest mills in the world. In 1898, The Beaver Mills Lumber Company bought the mill, around which mill hands and their families built shacks, creating the hamlet of Beaver Mills. A railway station and roundhouse followed, and, by 1901, there were buildings on Fourth Street pointing towards a new business district. A more detailed history of the town can be found here.
Shown at the right of this card, the town/fire hall, which opened in 1906, is still under construction. The exact date of the card is derived from the signage in the window of Howe's, the store in the second detail shown below. The signage indicates their sale will be over on Wednesday July 5th. In 1905, July 5th fell on a Wednesday, meaning that July 1st, Dominion Day, occurred on Saturday, which is likely the date of this foot race down main street.
This real photo postcard is unused, and has writing identifying it as from Rainy River. The AZO stamp box dates from 1904 to 1918, which reflects the presumed date of the card.
The detail below shows the runners. Notes the ink "X" below the runner leading the race—the card may have been at one time in the possession of this man, or someone who knew him. The details show the plank sidewalk along the store frontages, and reveal a number of the local merchants of the day, such as Tyne Bros., Grayin, and Howes, and The Canadian Bank. Several of the merchants have yet to erect permanent signage, such as the ice cream parlour, which only has a sign in the window. The ice cream parlour also shows a number of Union Jacks displayed at the entry, further confirming that the day is the holiday now celebrated as Canada Day.