Founded in August 2015 and incorporated under the BC Society Act in February 2016, the Boswell Historical Society’s mission is to discover, celebrate, preserve, and share the history of Boswell and the surrounding districts along the East Shore of the South Kootenay Lake.
In keeping with its mandate to celebrate and preserve the historical sites and natural features of Boswell and district, the Historical Society partnered with the Boswell Farmers’ Institute to create new historical signage at the Boswell Cemetery and at the Boswell Boat Launch, and plans to upgrade and add historic signage to our public beach (Mackie Park).


Inaugural meeting of the Boswell Historical Society

The Society hosts an annual public lecture by notable local historians and has sponsored history-related workshops and special events such as our Art Fair in 2016 and Summer Concert and Traditional Tea in 2018. Past lectures have featured the late Joan Lang, Balfour author of Lost Orchards: Vanishing Fruit Farms of the West Kootenay, Jean-Philippe Stienne, Archivist and Collections Manager with Touchstones Nelson, Museum of Art and History, and Greg Nesteroff, well-known journalist and local historian, and author of the recently published and critically acclaimed, Lost Kootenays. Michael Cone, another local historian, delivered a fascinating presentation on “The History of the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service: 1921-1963”. The Annual General Meetings also provide a forum for historical presentations and have featured local Gray Creek historian, Tom Lymbery and our own Boswell resident, Gail Conrad, who shared her expertise through a special presentation on genealogical research.

St Anselm's 1964
St. Anselm's 2020

At the Society’s 2019 AGM a decision was taken to reprint Boswell Beginnings. This foundational document, first published in 1986 by the Boswell Ladies’ Club, describes the early history of Boswell to approximately 1950. In addition to reprinting the original text as a “collectors edition”, the Society decided to include an addendum of newly submitted personalized family stories and a description of noteworthy events and organizations from contemporary Boswell. This compilation, originally referred to as “Where the Hell is Boswell?” (to recognize Mary Cummings’ spontaneous quip) evolved into the publication, Boswell Beginnings and Beyond.

Soon after the Society was formed it entered into a formal agreement with the Anglican Diocese of the Kootenay, which permitted the Society to use St. Anselm’s Church for its meetings, special events, and lectures. In return, the Boswell Historical Society paid the annual Fortis Bill, carried out some much-needed repairs, and covered other general maintenance costs associated with St. Anselm’s Church. Triggered by the Diocese’ decision to sell many of their properties in the Kootenays, our current project involves fund-raising and grant writing in order to take ownership of and to preserve the St. Anselm property.

During the past year, members of the Boswell Historical Society have been focused on raising the necessary funds to take ownership of St. Anselm’s church and property.  After both large and small individual and family donations, several successful grant applications (including a critically important Land Acquisition Grant from Columbia Basin Trust), and many community-focused fund-raising events, the Society reached its goal and is now the owner of the property.  The former St. Anselm’s church was recently deconsecrated in a ceremony conducted by the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Kootenay, and the property will be known going forward as The Heart a gathering place. 

Members of the Boswell Historical Society are grateful for the essential and generous support of our granting agencies and the many residents of the broader Boswell and East Shore communities. We trust that The Heart will be a welcoming space for East Shore community meetings, events, and workshops. The Boswell Historical Society will continue to utilize the building for its meetings, presentations, and fundraising activities.  We will also use this beautiful building to display and store our historical furnishings and artifacts.

In the coming months, in partnership with our graphic designer and artistic guide, Warren Clark, and our local wood-artist, Neil Arrowsmith, the Society will be constructing new external signage as well as an honour wall at the entrance of The Heart to recognize our many supporters.