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Lost Kootenays: A portal into our past

What started off as a Facebook group, Lost Kootenays has now evolved into an upcoming book that will be released this fall.

Co-authored by Greg Nesteoff and Eric Brighton, the two were approached by a publisher following the ongoing success of their group which has just under 50,000 followers. 

Lost Kootenays features images of towns, sites and infrastructure before they were abandoned or demolished. Each photo offers a glimpse into what daily life looked like for Kootenay settlers and early homesteaders. 

“It’s mostly a photo book,” explained Nesteroff. “There are 128 pages and for the most part, there’s one photo per page. Although, some of the images we supplemented with pictures of artifacts or ephemera.”

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Nesteroff’s love of local history began when he visited Ainsworth and Sandon as a child.

“our leading ghost town”, Nesteroff suggests Sandon B.C. as a prime destination (Supplied by the Lost Kootenays Facebook group)

“I’m pretty sure I’ve visited all of the locations in West Kootenay that we are going to feature in the book,” said Nesteroff. “Some of the places no longer exist because they are ghost towns or drowned towns. We will have a picture of Arrow Head which was a town on Upper Arrow Lake that’s a favourite of mine. You can only get there by boat today and I’ve only been there once. There’s a cemetery and some foundations, and at low water, you can actually see the broken pavement where the main street used to be.”

It is no secret that dams have played an integral role in reshaping the Kootenays, often displacing whole communities. 

“People didn’t go willingly,” Nesteroff added. “It is, to this day, a very sensitive subject.”

Greg Nesteroff and Jensen Shields went into further detail about where the images were sourced, the history of the project and what to expect when Lost Kootenays is published.  Nesteroff even teased his future publications as well.

For the full interview, click on the player below.

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