A pole derrick — also known as a gin pole — was used to build the Civic Centre. The facility was erected in the midst of the Great Depression.

A pole derrick — also known as a gin pole — was used to build the Civic Centre. The facility was erected in the midst of the Great Depression.

Nelson’s cranes of yore

No, the Nelson Commons crane is not the first to have been used in Nelson.

With the Nelson Commons crane dominating the downtown skyline, we recently posed the question: has a crane ever been used for a construction project in Nelson? You told us: yes. A construction crane was used for Kutenai Place, the pink government building on Victoria St. in 1993, as well as the present city hall, built by the provincial government in 1974. Prior to that, similar devices were used in the construction of the orange bridge (1957), Civic Centre (1935), and courthouse (1908).

 

A steam derrick helped construct the courthouse. The remarkable postcard below is believed to have been taken from the top of it. Among the buildings visible are the Hume Hotel, Touchstones Nelson, the Grand Central Hotel (bottom left, where the credit union is today), the KWC block, the Madden Hotel (where the Athens Centre is now), and the opera house (now the site of CIBC Wood Gundy, formerly the BC Assessment Authority office). In addition to the unusual angle, postcard maker J. Howard Chapman outlined the rooflines in white, creating a drawing-like feel. (Greg Nesteroff collection)