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Sandon was renowned as a rollicking community of wild-eyed silver-seeking prospectors: a town where fortunes were gained in a week and then lost overnight, and where gambling and ladies of the night routinely dominated the night life. The swashbuckling pioneer spirit ruled the roost, and so too did the "everything goes" lifestyle.
From 1892 to 1900, Sandon enjoyed a period of mining prosperity unrivaled in Canadian history. Before the turn of the century, the Sandon silver mines were collectively the richest in the province, generating - at today’s adjusted figures - billions of dollars.
However, as quickly as Sandon achieved prosperity it also soon experienced disaster. In the early hours of May 4, 1900, a fire started behind Spencer’s Opera House. It changed Sandon forever. Miraculously, no lives were lost but most of the downtown core was wiped out.
Sandon never again reached its levels of prosperity from 1892 to 1900 but the city still enjoyed brief periods of renewed fortunes, particularly through the First World War. In fact, it was the most productive period ever for Sandon’s mines - but because more money was needed to dig deeper for ore, profits were not as high as the early pioneer years.
When the war ended in 1918, there was a long and steady decline. In 1920, the city was in receivership and forced to dissolve itself as a city. With no municipal tax base to draw on for regular upkeep, Sandon’s age and wild lifestyle began to show, and buildings and streets noticeably deteriorated.
In June, 1955, a torrential rain fall on a melting snow pack dramatically raised creek water levels, causing logs and debris to plug up the rotting flume. The rising water spilled uncontrollably over much of Sandon, ripping apart streets and the flume. Sandon was obliterated.
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