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Goldpines

History

Town site photo

Foundations

ource: Private Collector, Pub. Canadian Post Card Co. Ltd.

During the Red Lake gold rush, around 1922, a stopping place clustered around a sleepy little Hudson Bay Post, situated between Lac Seul and the English River. As the rush intensified, men, provisions, equipment, and machinery were dragged across frozen lakes and fly infested swamps. The tiny community grew rapidly as the pace of activity increased.

The services available at Goldpines were a welcome change for prospectors who were fighting their way across rugged, untamed land on their journey to Red Lake. Goldpines started out as a tent city in 1926. In almost no time the settlement grew to include three stores, three restaurants, an Imperial Bank of Canada branch, a hotel, law office operated by G.E. Lawson, a barbershop, pool room, and mining recorder office. Two of the stores were owned by Joe Kert and Kelly Chamody. There were also two transportation company offices. Recreation came in the form of a well-patronized tavern. Just to keep things in line, the community also included an OPP detachment, with two constables.

Kelly Chamody, who owned one of the stores, opened the first post office in 1926. Originally, it was named Pine Ridge, but in 1928 the name was changed to Goldpines to avoid confusion with another office of the same name. Most locals knew it better under its former name.

During the time men were passing through the community enroute to the Red and Woman Lake Gold Fields, the population fluctuated from 100-130 permanent residents. There were often an extra 100 transients who remained for a brief or prolonged stop.

Goldpines initial success didn't last long. The first blow came after the Canadian National Railway (CN) added a rail link from Amesdale to Snake Falls, by-passing Goldpines. The loss of freight shipping was catastrophic for the community and by 1933 it lay empty. However things slowly began to rebound as more mines were opened in the vast wilderness of the Patricia District.

One mine in particular was situated on Confederation Lake, where a mad staking and development phase started up in 1938. As luck would have it, Gold Pines received an airstrip and boomed yet again. Over the following months the airfield became the busiest airfield in the world, as mining freight was shipped to surrounding mining sites round the clock.

Goldpines' second moment of glory was very brief. Following the arrival of the Second World War, the smaller mines, apart from those in the Red Lake area were closed. After a highway was pushed through to Red Lake in 1944, the village once again was deserted, except for a handful of residents. The post office lasted until 1950.

The buildings that were once part of Goldpines, are now situated in a campground in the Ear Falls area. Although now under different ownership, the camp continues to operate as Goldpines Camp.