Now Is (Not) The Winter Of My Discontent

Los Angeles, CA

I received a warm welcome from my step-daughter Sandy and quickly adapted to the comfort of her home and the surrounding area. But with bathroom renovations and puppies, three adults and ten dogs experienced moments of difficulty. I picked up a new battery for her Harley, added a For Sale sign to the back and enjoyed driving around the area, parking regularly for coffee and advertisement.

On a visit to the beach near Santa Monica (Santa’s winter home?) I recorded the incoming surf for future enjoyment and watched the surfers practice. For a one week break from the puppies I rented a room on “Air B and B”, the new way to stay when away from home. While my stay had some minor issues, the variety and prices to choose from should please even the most discerning of travelers.

After almost six weeks in LA, I drove north and returned to winter.

Spokane, WA

My budget motel was an interesting mix of humanity. I refused my first room due to the hair I found between the sheets. I always check.

In the North West Room at the downtown public library I learned James Monaghan built a mansion in 1898 that became part of Gonzaga University’s music department. James had been the prime developer of the Camp McKinney mine north of Bridesville, BC. Spokane Jimmy, as his friends knew him, hauled in the first stamp mill by sleigh during the winter and turned the camp mine into a profitable venture.

I wandered about the Fairmount cemetery appreciating the history until I found the Monaghan mausoleum. A day later I visited the university and mansion. Though changes and upgrades have occurred, many of the historical features of the home remain and I appreciated the opportunity to experience it. BC gold and the profitable sale of the mine to a group of Toronto investors provided the Monaghan family a great level of comfort and deservedly so.

At the NW Museum of Art and Culture’s research facilities, the gracious staff allowed me to read Monaghan’s diaries covering the years of 1893 to just after the robbery in 1896. Most of the notations referred to details regarding the mine from travel difficulties to monthly bullion amounts. He never once used the word gold. I appreciated all he wrote about Camp McKinney and the difficulties associated with a remote mining camp. James also recorded the illness and loss of his wife. Several years after the robbery he lost a son during a naval conflict in Samoa.

My expenses incurred while visiting Spokane were offset by my appreciation of James Monaghan’s connection to BC history. Spokane played an early role in mining on both sides of the border. More research in Grand Forks, BC quickly revealed how desperate miners were for someone to bring mining equipment into Camp McKinney. Monaghan and two business partners overcame many obstacles in 1893 and 4 to help the town grow. 

About James

As a semi-retired senior, I researched the story of the lost gold bars of Camp McKinney. My years in agriculture allowed me to comfortably search the rugged BC forest uncovering valuable clues over the years. Although I have paid a high cost for my unwavering search, I have once again seen the magick and power in nature.
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