Nelson in July 1917: water restrictions and Soldiers of the Soil

Historian Greg Scott brings us excerpts from the Nelson Daily News in July, 1917

July 2, 1917

Sixty boys will leave Nelson this morning and tomorrow for the strawberry fields at Wynndel, near Creston, where they will assist in harvesting the berry crop. They have responded to the call for Soldiers of the Soil that has been made through the standard efficiency test movement of the Y.M.C.A. The Nelson boys have been organized by the local standard efficiency test committee and will be in the charge of W.P. Freeman, a Nelson school teacher, who will act as supervisor. He left yesterday for Wynndel to complete the arrangements for the reception of the boys and for putting them to work directly they arrive. The Soldiers of the Soil will receive the regular rate of pay.

July 17, 1917

Nelson’s first issue of debentures, amounting to $50,000, was retired yesterday. The amount was paid to the Bank of Montreal out of the city sinking fund. The issue was dated July 15, 1897, and was issued within a few days of incorporation of the city. The late John Houston was mayor. The money was used for civic improvements. These are the first Nelson city bonds that have matured. For the next five or six years issues of various amounts will mature practically every year. As each issue reaches maturity it reduces the amount of money that has to be raised by taxation to pay interest and sinking fund on the city’s indebtedness. (Ed note: $50,000 in 1917 is $857,895 in 2017)

July 23, 1917

J. Lemberg has a costly weakness for sleeping on the sidewalk. Thursday night he was found by the city police in a somnolent condition on the pavement after imbibing too freely and next morning he was separated from $10 and costs in the city police court. On Friday night he also chose the sidewalk as a resting place after another copious indulgence in sleep producing draughts and the “official touch” for the same amount was made by Magistrate Irvine. (Ed note: in 1917 for $20 you could rent a house, also a school teacher made $80 per month)

July 24, 1917

“In case of Nelson being threatened by fire during the present dry spell, it is necessary that as high a pressure of water as possible be available,” stated Mayor Annable yesterday in referring to the new regulations for use of water. Water may be used under the regulations for the sprinkling of lawns and gardens between the hours of 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock in the evening and for the sprinkling of streets, alleys and sidewalks between the hours of 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock in the morning. When any alarm of fire has sounded and during the continuance of any fire within the corporate limits of the city of Nelson, any persons using water for lawn, gardens, or for street sprinkling shall at once cease using it until such time as the fire has been extinguished. The mayor said that the indiscriminate use of water lately has reduced the depth of water in the city reservoir by five feet.

July 24, 1917

Mayor Annable announced yesterday that the city had fixed up a new swimming pool above Cottonwood Falls for the children of Nelson. A dressing room for girls and another for boys have been built and the gates of the old dam have been closed so that a pool with a maximum of from eight to 10 feet in depth has been provided. A trail has been cut out and the city has also built a sidewalk with a railing across the top of the dam. This was built because the danger of accident to children who could not be kept from walking over the top was feared. During the weekend a large number of children took advantage of it. The water is warmer than that of the lake.

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