RPPC photo postcard of downtown Cobalt Ontario, mining town @1910

Nice early photo of Cobalt. Dirt roads, wood sidewalks, couple of horse drawn wagons.  Main building is identified by hand-written text on negative “Royal Exchange Building Cobalt”. Sings on the building include ‘Royal Bank of Canada’, ‘Canadian Explosives Limited’, ‘Union Bank of Canada’, around the corner ‘--- Power Company’.

Postmarked Cobalt (smudged).

Text in German, dated June 25th.

Mailed to East Barten Mass (?) USA.

Light smudges on front. Back has some smudges and paper toning.


The Cobalt silver rush started in 1903 when huge veins of silver were discovered by workers on the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (T&NO)[1] near the Mile 103 post. By 1905 a full-scale silver rush was underway, and the town of Cobalt, Ontario sprang up to serve as its hub. By 1908 Cobalt produced 9% of the world's silver, and in 1911 produced 31,507,791 ounces of silver. However, the good ore ran out fairly rapidly, and most of the mines were closed by the 1930s. There were several small revivals over the years, notably in World War II and again in the 1950s, but both petered out and today there is no active mining in the area. In total, the Cobalt area mines produced 460 million ounces of silver.

The Cobalt Rush was instrumental in opening northern Ontario for mineral exploration. Prospectors fanned out from Cobalt, and soon caused the nearby Porcupine Gold Rush in 1909, and the Kirkland Lake Gold Rush of 1912. Much of the settlement in northern Ontario outside the Clay Belt owes its existence indirectly to the Cobalt Rush.


The Royal Exchange Building, 24 Prospect Avenue

Built in 1910, this 3-storey “fireproof” building was viewed by Cobalt as a milestone, pointing the way to a new and better Cobalt. Massive in size, the block is built with a visible structure of ferro-concrete floors and wall piers, infilled with brick. Together with the sub-divided windows, the concrete structure gives a grid effect to the façade reminiscent of certain Prairie Style buildings

The Royal Exchange Block contained the Canadian Explosives Office, the General Electric Office, the Bank of Toronto, Ontario Surveyor’s Office, the Northern Miner Press, a drinking parlour, restaurant, as well as the Stock Exchange


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