Nelson in February, 1917: a new power dam, a sock tea, and women get the vote

The latest column from Star columnist Greg Scott explores life a century ago.

Greg Scott is a columnist for the Nelson Star

February 15, 1917

Although, as an organization, it has not basked overmuch in the limelight of publicity, the Nelson Girl’s Club has accomplished considerable work for local members of the 54th Overseas Battalion, since its formation last fall.

Almost 200 pairs of socks have been sent overseas by the club, as well as 41 Christmas boxes containing comforts of various kinds, while the members are at present busily engaged in collecting 10-cent pieces by the yard. The coins are being attached to adhesive tape and each member is endeavoring to contribute at least one yard of dimes for the continuance of their work.

During the early part of December a sock tea was given at which 107 pairs of socks were donated, and later the proceeds of a concert held in the Gem Picture Theatre enabled the club to fill and send the 41 Christmas boxes referred to overseas to Nelson and District men, who would not otherwise have had any Christmas good things of their own.

Quite recently 71 pairs of socks were purchased and forwarded to Nelson and District men attached to A Company of the 54th Battalion and more activities of a patriotic nature are planned.

February 19, 1917

Women of Nelson took the first step toward the exercise of their right to vote at a meeting held Saturday night when a committee was formed for the purpose of forming plans for taking declarations and registering women of the city who are eligible to vote. The meeting, which taxed the capacity of the room, was addressed by Dr. W.O. Rose, M.P.P. for Nelson riding, who welcomed the women to the ranks of the electors of British Columbia and declared that he was much pleased they would now have the same voice in the affairs of the Province as the men.

He thought that he might, in the near future, be one of those who would welcome women members to the floor of the legislature in Victoria.

February 27,1917

The 40 cents per hour scale of wages of city laborers, asked for at the recent council meeting by the Nelson Trades and Labor Council, was last night granted on the recommendation of the Public Works Committee.

The acceptance of the recommendation as embodied in a report from the committee was passed unanimously, the only fly in the ointment of perfect harmony being a remark made by Ald. James Johnstone to the effect that “in the meantime almost everyone else was living on about one-half his pre-war income.” (Note:- a dozen eggs concurrently advertised for 50 cents and 40 cents would be approximately $6.19 in 2016 dollars.)

February 27, 1917

By-law No. 237 for regulating the conduct of second hand and junk stores was brought before council and received first and second reading after which it was referred to committee. This by-law was the result of Chief of Police Thomas Long’s pointing out that many other cities enforced rules by which each second hand dealer had to report a list of his sales for the previous day to the police department every morning, giving the names of all persons from whom he purchased goods.

A number of instances had come under his notice of missing articles which afterward turned up in the second hand stores. An age limit of 18 was also set in the matter of buying second hand goods from boys. The ease with which portable articles such as axes, brass hose nozzles and the like could be disposed of for small sums was also an encouragement to small boys to steal and in this way provide themselves with pocket money.

February 27, 1917

As the result of a conference held at Bonnington Falls by engineers representing the city of Nelson, the West Kootenay Power Company and the Provincial Government, with regard to the effect of the new dam under construction by the power company, on the water supply of the city’s power plant and the plant itself, an agreement was reached whereby the city’s water rights would be fully protected.

West Kootenay Power assumed all responsibility for the operation of the city plant, which had been feared might be flooded out and put out of operation during the high water as the result of building the dam.

It was also said that the dam under construction was the best plan for the conservation of the water power.


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