I’ve traveled through the Phoenix, Greenwood area many times and have never pulled over to explore. I fell in love with Greenwood when stopping for a coffee on my way through but have always felt too rushed to really take any time to look around. It’s always, “I need to get where I’m going!” or “I need to get home!” So some friends and myself made a plan to wander about and see what we could find. We packed up the dogs and hopped in their truck.
We stumbled upon the old Phoenix Cemetery and parked the truck to have a closer look.
It seemed like majority of the headstones were for children and rather young people. I’m sure there were other grave markers buried under the snow, but it was a sobering visit to see the memorials of so many children who had passed so early in their lives.
We headed back to the truck in hopes of checking out the old mine.
Phoenix was a booming copper mining community from the late 1890’s until 1919. Dubbed “the highest city in Canada” by it’s citizens, it was a fully functional town. It included hotels, a brewery, a city hall, a post office and it’s own newspaper, called the “Phoenix Pioneer”. It was even home to it’s own opera house.
With the end of World War I causing the price of copper to plummet, Phoenix began to die. With the mining being the sole industry in this small town, many left. Leaving behind their homes and belongings, making Phoenix the largest ghost town in Canada.
There is not much to be seen in this “ghost town” today. An open pit mine operated in the 50’s but was abandoned in 1978. The mining had caused the historic buildings to be removed, buried or bulldozed. The World War I cenotaph, the first picture in this post, is still standing and easily accessible.
The shelves from the open pit mine can still be observed through the snow. Unfortunately we did not find any access closer to it, but have vowed to return in the summer to explore more.
A wrong turn down a narrow path lead to us being stuck in the snow. The big dodge is kind of a tank so it didn’t really take much to get those wheels spinning. We dug out what we could by hand, utilized the floor mats and while Loni and Kris pushed I drove it out. Minor hiccup, but a shovel would be a smart item to bring along for future adventures.
We made our way into Greenwood and I finally got to have a beer at the Greenwood Saloon! It was a typical small town bar but I was excited anyways, as I’ve always talked myself out of stopping. Finally!
After a really late lunch, or an early dinner, we’re not sure what, we wandered the little town. It is one of those places that you may miss if you blink while driving through. It doesn’t even have a stop sign or light along the main thoroughfare, copper street/highway 3, to cause you to brake. But the remarkable buildings will cause you to slow, and urge you to pull over to see what this little city has to offer.
We couldn’t leave with out being total tourists.
And we wouldn’t want the dogs to feel left out, so we let them have their turn.
It was a good wander in “Canada’s smallest city”. I’ll have to stop again during the summer to see what else I can explore. Maybe bring the tent and camping supplies and stay a night in the “ghost town” Phoenix…