A row of crosses is seen in the Nelson cemetery on Ypres Day in 1921. The three on the far left are for soldiers who died in the Balfour sanatorium. Courtesy Touchstones Nelson

GREG SCOTT: Nelson contemplates forming Rotary Club

In 1920, the Nelson High School Overalls Club made themselves known

Highlights from the archives of the Nelson Daily News a century ago, compiled by Greg Scott

Dateline April 6, 1920

With the canal and forebay of the city power plant at Upper Bonnington as clean of gravel as the proverbial whistle, the Kootenay River is now pouring through the city penstocks, and the city turbines are whirling from the pressure the water exerts against their countless blades.

Scores of feet above the turbines, the two generators, or respectively 750 and 1,000 horsepower, are humming, carrying the city power load, which was taken over from the West Kootenay Power and Light Company on Saturday. Everything has been cleaned and overhauled during the shutdown, while the company was removing the gravel from the city’s canal, and the plant has been tuned up and is behaving perfectly.

Dateline April 16, 1920

A deal in Baker Street realty that will mean eventually a new three-story brick store building was announced last night, the Nelson Hardware Company having purchased from H. and M. Bird the 36-foot lot, with frame office and store building, between the Nelson Hardware and Hudson’s Bay blocks.

J.R. Hunter, of the Nelson Hardware Company, who gave particulars of the deal, stated that in the comparatively early future, but not the present year, the frame building would be removed and the Nelson Hardware Company’s store building would be doubled in size, occupying a new frontage of 60 feet.

The new move is necessitated by the growth of the business, and the intended embarkation on some new lines, not at present offered. H. and M. Bird have disposed of their insurance and rental business to C.W. Appleyard, who has moved into their late offices in the frame block referred to.

Dateline April 20, 1920

After hearing an address on some of the principles of Rotary by Capt. H.A. Pearson of Vancouver, about 20 prominent citizens, who had met in the Board of Trade rooms last evening to consider the formation of a Rotary Club in this city, appointed a committee, which will shortly meet to further consider the matter of organization.

J.R. Hunter acted as chairman and introduced the speaker who in outlining the history and principals of the organization said, in part: Starting in Chicago six years ago with six members, Rotary now has 600 clubs with a membership of more than 60,000.

The membership of Rotary is made up of one man to represent each line of business, who must be at the head of his particular profession and is organized to seek means of serving the community not to promote its own self interest. Clubs are organized in all important cities and towns in Canada including Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.

Dateline April 26, 1920

Ypres Day, commemorating the Second Battle of Ypres in which the Canadian troops unaided staved off the German rush towards Calais, was observed in this city yesterday by returned men and civilians alike, large numbers of people turning out to join the veterans on parade, in paying honor to the heroic dead both at the memorial service in the Church of St. Mary Immaculate in the morning, and at the cemetery in the afternoon, where the graves of the comrades were decorated with wreaths and flowers by the veterans.

The parade of veterans, led by the band, marched to the soldiers plot in the cemetery, followed by a great concourse of citizens, where grouped around the long line of graves and took part in a union service. While the last hymn was being sung, members of the part laid wreaths of mountain box and Oregon grape on the crosses marking the graves of soldiers in the plot.

Dateline April 27, 1920

“Aw, the business men in this town are pikers, so we had to lead the way and do the ‘bring-down-the-high-cost-of-living stunt ourselves,’” was the way one of the youthful organizers of the Nelson High School Overalls Club expressed his views last night.

When the classes resumed work after the weekend holiday several of the high school boys proved that they meant business by turning out in overalls. By the afternoon session two-thirds of the school youths were wearing that conservative regalia, and it was also noticed that one of the teachers, who at first frowned on the movement, was wearing, in the words of one of the scholars, “not exactly overalls, but his old suit.”

The young ladies of the institution are, as yet, undecided as to whether they will follow the lead of the boys or not, though one of the young Dianas was heard to remark “Gee, I wish I was a boy. Boys can do just as they please.”

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