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Town site photo

An outcrop and the Vermillion River, ca: 1947

Source: Private collector

Sellwood's beginnings lay in the discovery of iron at Moose Mountain during the 1890s. By 1901, the Moose Mountain Mining Company was established to begin work on the mine and town site. A rail link was added in 1908, and by 1909 the railway had constructed large ore shipping facilities at Key Harbour.

The mine opened in 1906 and by 1908, 300 men were employed. Like most mines, there were numerous ups and downs, however by 1916 the mine was employing over 600 men. Additional work could be found at the Warren Lumber Company, which opened a sawmill around 1910.

The company town site offered a variety of services including four stores, a Chinese laundry, a bowling alley, four pool-rooms and two restaurants. Accommodation could be found at one of the two bunkhouses, or at the 100-room Warren Hotel. Many of the residents owned their own homes. There was also a school, post office and a Protestant church. At its height Sellwood boasted a population of 1,500.

Following a decline in iron prices at the end of World War I, the company quickly began to downsize. The mine finally closed for good in 1920, followed by the lumber mill a few years later. By 1930, Sellwood was completely empty.

The buildings remained unused until 1947, when Lowphos Ore arrived to re-examine the property. A new mine and mill were eventually opened in 1959. Unfortunately the old town site was levelled in the process. The mine operated until 1978, when it closed for good. Today the site is off limits.