Chapter 1


William Jefferson Carpenter (1861-1925)


Having established himself as a photographic authority of mining and smelting practices, WJ Carpenter set up shop in Rossland, BC in 1897, staying on until 1903, but only after having made a lasting impact on the photographic history of the mining, smelting and hydroelectric power industries that dominated the West Kootenays.  His work included contracts with the West Kootenay Power & Light Co. to document their first hydroelectric dam along the Kootenay River at Lower Bonnington Falls and the subsequent power line construction to Rossland.  Following his tenure in Rossland, Carpenter moved south to Spokane, WA and established himself there as a “Maker of Real Photographs and Portrait Views.” 

Having generated such a remarkable reputation for himself in the Kootenays, the West Kootenay Power & Light Co Ltd. (by then, owned by the CPR – parent company of the Consolidated Mining & Smelter Company of Canada) re-commissioned Carpenter to return and capture the development of some of its key properties, including the new dam at Upper Bonnington along the Kootenay River, the smelters at Trail, Greenwood, Grand Forks and Boundary Falls, and mining properties throughout the region.  All produced as panoramas, this collection is a remarkable chronicle of the growth of industry in our region, dated from 1905-1908.  Having refined his technique in the use of the Cirkut camera and its innovative flexible film, Carpenter was the perfect choice for such a project.

After his stay in Spokane, Washington, Carpenter left for Vancouver and spent 4 years there, until 1913.  His whereabouts and work subsequent to this is virtually unknown until 1918, when he surfaces in Wyoming in 1918.  A death announcement was eventually published in the Rossland Miner on August 6, 1925, reporting the death of “old timer” WJ Carpenter in April 1925 in the city of Port Angeles, WA.  A formal obituary was never released.

Carpenter panoramas for this exhibit feature hydroelectric development and grand views of properties (such as the Trail Smelter) at the turn of the century, during times of great industrial expansion, brilliant business schemes and mass migration to the West Kootenays.

Taken from the brief biography, William Jefferson Carpenter (1861-1925) by Roger H. Boulet, 2012.

Hughes Brothers

  • Robert Jaffray (1888-1953)
  • Leslie Cameron (1889-1948)


The Hughes Brothers were born in London, England one year apart from each other. Coming to Canada sometime between 1916 and 1920, the two resided first in northern Ontario, eventually heading west to Edgewood, BC. Robert made his way to Trail to open his photography business, joined a few years later by Leslie.

Opening shop at 1358 Cedar Avenue, the building featured an apartment above. The firm dealt in Kodak Eastman and German cameras, movie cameras and stocked greeting cards and artist supplies. Robert eventually left for Vancouver to open his business in Kerrisdale, leaving the shop to Leslie and his wife, Hildred.

The company was eventually sold in 1945 and Leslie and Hildred moved to Nelson.  Leslie passed away in 1948 in Nelson.  Robert passed away in 1953 in Vancouver.


Many of the Hughes prints, negatives and panoramas in the Trail City Archives collection were found in the basement of their former shop.  The collection is large one and features pristine images of the smelter and the growing community of Trail.