1920: The Nasookin gets stuck on a sandbar

News from a century ago compiled by Greg Scott

The SS Nasookin is seen at Balfour under full steam, date unknown. The largest of the Kootenay Lake sternwheelers, it was operated from 1913 to 1930 by the CPR, and from 1930 to 1947 by the provincial government. A portion of it remains as a private residence on the North Shore. Courtesy Touchstones Nelson

Dateline: Feb. 3, 1920

Reports reaching the offices of the Provincial Board of Heath at the parliament buildings in Victoria do not indicate cause for alarm in the prospect of a reoccurrence of the Spanish influenza epidemic.

Viewed from a purely departmental standpoint, the reports being sent in from the few places where severe colds appear to be prevalent typify the average condition of the public health at this time of the year and were it not for the apprehension caused by last year’s “flu” visitation there would be nothing to single this year out for special mention.

Dateline: Feb. 5, 1920

According to an estimate of the census branch of the department of trade and commerce, based on the increased population between 1901 and 1911, and worked out arithmetically, the population of Canada today numbers 8,835,102 souls.

The estimate is believed to be approximately correct. It is probable that the estimated population of B.C. of 718,660 is somewhat high, inasmuch as during the period which forms the basis of the estimate, there was considerable immigration and that the tide turned the other way during the past 10 years.

City populations based on the figures prepared for local assessments include the following: Montreal 734,964, Toronto 473,829, and Vancouver 102,550. Winnipeg’s population is probably now 200,000. (Nelson’s 1920 population was estimated at 8,000 according to Wrigley’s BC directory, although the 1921 census put it at 5,230)

Dateline: Feb. 19, 1920

Accompanied by about 250 fans, the Nelson senior hockey team went down to Rossland yesterday in a special train, with hopes of tying for the West Kootenay hockey championship. The Nelson boys, however, failed to bring home the bacon, losing 3-1.

The excursion special returned at an early hour this morning. Taking the ice before a rink filled to its capacity with 700 odd spectators, the rival teams opened the first period with fast, even play which continued for most of the game except during the first period when the referee had to put three Rossland players on the fence for one minute and Keating for a dispute with the referee.

The rest of the Rossland players raised strenuous objections, during which a few clinches between various players took place, without, however, anyone being hurt. The dispute lasted an hour, after which play was resumed under protest by Rossland, who continued the game with three men on the fence without any scoring being registered during the first period.

Dateline: Feb. 21, 1920

Through driving in yesterday’s gale and over icy roads was none too pleasant. Kerby Grenfell and Charles Smith, the latter from Silverton, negotiated the distance from Nelson to Slocan City yesterday forenoon in a new car ticketed for Silverton, in 4½ hours. Leaving Nelson at 7:30 o’clock, the pair found the ice and snow the chief obstacle to fast and safe progress, in places the snow being a foot deep, with a crust that would bear a man but not a car.

The road became impassable about Lemon Creek, and from that point to Slocan City, a distance of six miles, they ran along the railway track, which was some improvement but not much. The car, however, stood up well under the punishing work. Slocan City was reached at noon. Mr. Grenfell returned to Nelson last night by train, after seeing the car to Silverton.

Dateline: Feb. 21, 1920

Owing to the extremely strong winds blowing from the northeast all day long the steamer Nasookin failed to clear herself from the landing when starting her outward trip at 6 0’clock yesterday morning and was blown upon the sandbar lying between the landing pier and the boathouses lower down the lake, where she remained despite the efforts of the steamers Hosmer and Kuskanook to free her till after 11 o’clock.

The passengers were taken off, and the through ones remained in Nelson. With the Hosmer heading up-stream and the Nasookin and the Kuskanook reversing up stream, the Nasookin was finally freed and taken into open water. Her troubles were not over even then.

As the lines were cast off, the Nasookin’s line sagged downstream at her stern, and while she was being turned upstream, the loose end of the line became entangled around the paddle wheel and the driving shaft, and she had to head hurriedly for the dock for anchorage, while the Hosmer’s men disentangled the line.

The ferry at Nelson also went aground, being flung high and almost dry on the beach on the northern end of the run. It is understood that the gales are causing trouble all over the interior and that the streamer Sicamous, on Okanagan Lake, also went aground.


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