LETTER: Reader remembers Hall Street in the 50s and 60s

Jim Sawada, who had a carpentry shop in the Kootenay Co-op Radio building, describes the old days on that street.

Re: “A Hall Street Retrospective”

My memories of Hall street in the 50s and 60s:

The 200 block, west side, where the West Arm Plaza is now, there was a large wood building and yard at the corner of Lake street for the Nelson Equipment Company (Mr. Greenwood, local man). He salvaged old mining equipment from areas and sold to new mines. I understand Nelson Equipment had another site in North Vancouver.

Rest of the triangle area: Hall, Lake and Front street was all Chinatown. There were two stores, one restaurant (Chunking Chop Suey House?) and Chinese Freemason temple on Lake Street.

On the 200 Block East side was all ball park except the present mining museum (only half of the existing size). There were three baseball teams in town: Nelson Tigers, Nelson Outlaws, and Fairview Athletics (juniors). They practiced in the evenings and there were games every weekend in the summer.

On the 300 block West, you’ve covered with Co-op radio, was all boardwalk and wooden stairs to the top. The corner of Vernon and Hall Street where the video rental was, there was a large grocery store, Liberty Store, operated by the George Kiway and Joe Hingwing familes. The Liberty store was larger than the Safeway on Baker Street location at the time. There is still another Liberty store in Fruitvale now, owned by the same family. The present Finley establishment was the Civic Hotel but people named it “the zoo.” It was a popular stop for a quick beer in between a periods and the end of Maple Leaf hockey games.

Jim Sawada

Nelson