COLUMN: Greg Scott on Nelson from 100 years ago

Defiant letter from the war front and a masquerade carnival

Dateline February 1, 1918

As the bells and whistles in the city ushered in the New Year, the members of the old Kootenay Battalion were giving the Germans a warm reception with all kinds of available artillery, according to a letter received last evening (one month after being sent) from Capt. D.A. McQuarrie. Not only the determination expressed in lead but a human defiance in song was thrown at the enemy on the breaking of the new year, says the Captain. all the boys of the old Kootenay bunch joined in singing the “Maple Leaf Forever.” When the last minute of 1917 ticked away, Fritz opened fire on the British lines, the majority of the shells landing in the vicinity of the local battalion. Not to be outdone by the Germans, the men replied with a peppery volley almost as soon as the last shell of the first enemy greeting had landed. And every time there was a lull in the firing, so that they could be heard, the Germans were treated to a few lines of the Canadian spirit in the “Maple Leaf.”

Dateline February 2, 1918

Hundreds turned out to the masquerade Carnival held at the skating rink last evening. The ice was literally a mass of bright colors as the masqueraders in dazzling costumes flitted here and there around the rink. Over 100 spectators dotted the observation seats and chuckled over the gaiety of the scene. All the world seemed to be represented in one way or another. There were nationalities, classes, sects and sizes. Fourteen prizes were awarded to the best camoufleurs according to the decision of the five judges. Refreshments were served after the announcement of the winners and then everyone took part in the skating which followed and which brought the evening’s entertainment to a close.

Dateline February 19, 1918

Fairview residents will be supplied with free porch lights according to a decision of the city council last night. Each light must be installed by the resident and must not exceed 25 watts. The subject was brought up at a previous meeting and was laid on the table until a time when Alderman Rose was present. He introduced the question by stating he saw no reason why Fairview residents should not have the lights. Ald. Macdonald and Austin fell in line but Ald. Selous objected strenuously by pointing out that the ratepayers inside the city limits were paying for the maintenance of city utilities. When the motion was carried it was remarked that installation of lights should be made without cost to the city. (Ed note- Fairview not part of the city until 1923)

Dateline February 19, 1918

Four years in the reformatory where he will be taught to become a good citizen, was the immediate future laid out by Police Magistrate E.A. Crease for a nine-year-old wayward boy who robbed Meaghers & Co.’s store of $3 and a knife and City Drug Company of $10.60. He was seen in the drug store by Constable Wightman at 1:30 O’clock Saturday morning and was caught hiding behind some stock. The child is a former offender, having entered two other business places recently. One was the City Drug Company’s store and the other a restaurant. The Magistrate sent him to the reformatory in order that he might be kept under control.

Dateline February 23, 1918

While coasting down Josephine Street yesterday afternoon, three school children on a bob sled crashed into a team of horses across the street at right angles on the intersection of Josephine and Victoria, killing Kathleen Wall and slightly injuring two playmates. When the sled sped into the team, one of the horses fell on the children. The teamster immediately unloosened the horses and with the assistance of eyewitnesses of the accident dragged the children out from underneath the horse which fell, and rushed them to the Poole Drug Store. Dr. Harris was called but a minute after his arrival the little girl died. The children were pupils of St. Joseph’s School in the upper part of the city on Josephine Street.

Dateline February 26, 1918

Nelson Improvement Association intends this year to go thoroughly into the question of bringing about the cultivation of the vacant lots of the city. The object is to increase agricultural production in this district, reduce the cost of living and release the greatest possible amount of foodstuffs for shipment to the allies overseas. Last year the association got behind the movement in Nelson and a number of vacant lots were placed under cultivation. It is stated that the matter is to be taken up at an early date so that plans will be well advanced by the time the cultivation and planting season begins.


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