MBC1887 T:ANE

Just east of Stephen Siding and flowing from the north to the east into the Bow River lies Bath Creek. It got its name from an incident involving the discoverer of Rogers Pass, Major Albert Bowman Rogers. Major Rogers was hired by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in April of 1881 to intensify efforts to find suitable passes through both the Rockies and Selkirk Mountains.

Westbound passenger crosses Bath Creek ~1887.

Click on image to enlarge/reduce.

Rogers was an arrogant, eccentric, pipsqueak of a man yet as energetic as they come. He wore his coveralls backwards, sported an outlandish moustache, chewed tobacco, and swore constantly. His habit of providing insufficient food for his men while driving them hard with a near constant stream of expletives led many of his men to dislike him. His fowl language earned him the nicknames “The Bishop,” and “Hell's Bells Rogers.”

In July of 1881 Rogers undertook the task of finding a route for the railway through the Kicking Horse Pass. He sent his nephew Albert Rogers to traverse the Kicking Horse Pass from west to east. When Albert failed to return Major Rogers set out from his base camp west of Banff to locate him.

 

Just east of the summit to Kicking Horse Pass Major Rogers and his assistant, Tom Wilson, came upon a turbulent glacial stream. Wilson suggested that they wait till morning when the volume of water would have dropped due to cooler temperature and lower melt from the mountains at night.

 

Major Rogers replied, “Afraid of it are you? Want the old man to show you how to ford it?” And with that, he and his horse plunged into the icy waters. The water bowled the horse over in an instant, and Wilson was obliged to rescue the Major from his bath in the stream.

 

And so Bath Creek came to be named. Thereafter, whenever the stream suddenly flooded from heavy rains or glacial runoff  from melting snow, surveyors and railway workers were said to have sardonically remark: “The old man is taking another bath.”

Westbound passenger crosses Bath Creek ~1887.

Click on image to enlarge/reduce.

Reference: The Spiral Tunnels and the Big Hill on the Canadian Pacific Railway. 2009. Graeme Pole, Mountain Vision Publishing.

Posted:

Updated:

September 3, 2016

December 18, 2016

How Bath Creek Got its Name