HISTORY: Christmas 1916 at the Hume and in the jail

Greg Scott shares some history with his latest column.

Greg Scott is a historian and columnist.

December 25, 1916

Fifteen hundred one-dollar bills formed part of the cash taken in by one Nelson business firm Saturday, in addition to bills of many other denominations and a large quantity of silver. This, it was stated by the manager, went to make up the largest one day’s business ever done by his firm in Nelson.

The general opinion of Nelson merchants Saturday night, after the doors of their stores had closed on the last of the late Christmas shoppers, was that business for the season this year had outstripped all previous records. One grocery store, it was reported, was cleared completely of several brands of holiday goods before 2 o’clock in the afternoon and beginning in the morning a steadily increasing stream of customers thronged the stores until during the late afternoon and evening the extra employees, engaged to cope with the crowd, found it impossible in many cases to serve all the would-be purchasers.

Purchases of fruit, candies, toys and greeting cards were especially heavy and early in the evening many lines were completely cleared out. Last minute purchases of small gifts, at the jewelers and drug stores, also helped to swell the total amount spent in the city Saturday to a most satisfactory sum from the merchant’s points of view.

It was not until long after the store doors had been closed and locked that the weary staffs were able to “call it a day” and go home, as the wreckage in torn paper, empty cartons and boxes, disarranged show cases and shelves called for much time for rearrangement.

December 26, 1916

The newly decorated dining room at the Hume Hotel, with its rich dark walls and inverted lights, presented a brilliant scene last night when a large number of guests sat down to Christmas dinner at the prettily decorated tables.

The new lighting system does away with the old-time glare of exposed lamps, throwing a soft radiance over the room and reflecting back from the cream colored ceiling, bathes the diners in a soft golden radiance.

Rich brown curtains hand at the windows and harmonize well with the walls and white woodwork. The special Christmas dinner, for which table reservations had been made many days in advance, was attended by a gathering which kept every chair filled from six o’clock until nine.

By special request the orchestra which played during dinner was retained for the balance of the evening and an impromptu dance was arranged, for which a number of the guests remained.

December 26, 1916

Warden Jarvis of the Provincial Jail entertained fewer Christmas guests than ever before, there being but 18 against 25 last year and the day passed off with less revelry than usual at Yule Tide, when the everyday rules and regulations are turned to the wall. This, it was said, was due to the small number of young men in confinement and lack of individual talent.

As usual the men were served the regular Christmas dinner at midday, with roast turkey, plum pudding and the regular holiday “fixings”.

Rule were relaxed and permission given to everyone to do as they pleased within reason, but few availed themselves of the privilege, and the afternoon passed without any attempt at an entertainment as in former years. Several of the men received gifts from friends which were shared amongst the less fortunate ones, while a number of citizens contributed in various ways toward making the holiday a little brighter for the inmates.

December 28, 1916

Doukhobors at Brilliant will contribute $50 per month to the Nelson District Patriotic Fund and will donate a $5000 carload of jam to the Red Cross Society for the use of soldiers at the front. Grand Forks Doukhobors will give $100 per month to the Patriotic Fund. Peter Veregin, head of the community in Canada, made this announcement yesterday after he signed the Patriotic Fund subscription list at the office of J.D.H. Benson, secretary-treasurer of the fund, at the Imperial Bank.

Doukhobor families at Brilliant are cutting down their personal allowance of jam in order to provide the carload for the soldiers. They agreed to do this at a meeting Sunday at which Mr. Veregin explained the hardship of the soldiers at the front.

Women at the meeting broke down and wept at the recital of losses and hardships and the suffering of the wounded.

 

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