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Hume Hotel wins heritage award for restoration of sign

The directional sign is painted on the historic K.W.C. building in Nelson
This sign was painted on the K.W.C. block in Nelson in about 1958 and had almost faded away before a recent restoration. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

A Nelson hotel has received an award from Heritage BC for its restoration work on a historic sign.

The directional sign, pointing to the Hume Hotel, was originally painted on the K.W.C Building at 498 Baker St. in approximately 1958.

“A lot of these letters, you could hardly see them anymore,” says Hume Hotel owner Ryan Martin. “It was so faint. And yet they (the painters) were very confident that they could reproduce it exactly as it was.”

Martin said the work involved analyzing the age of the sign and the intricacies of the irregularly-shaped font, as well as using a special cleaning agent to prepare the surface.

“We wanted to exactly replicate it.”

Heritage BC, in announcing the award, called the sign “a vital element of a registered heritage building. With the hotel operating for 125 years, the goal was to ensure the historic advertising was not lost to weathering, aging and time … This restoration reinstates the sign as a significant historic landmark in the community, preserving its iconic status.”

Martin said he’s proud to contribute to that status.

“It’s a real honour, when we’re living in this digital world where it’s all clicks and social media, to be able to have something that you can see like that, and bring us back to the history of it.”

Martin called the K.W.C building “a glorious piece of Nelson architecture,” and added that the Hume Hotel suffers from “turret-envy over the K.W.C. block because we (the Hume) once had a turret that was taken down in the 1920s.

“Yeah, we love that building.”

The two other local recipients of the total of 21 Heritage BC awards given in several categories at a ceremony on May 3 were the Kootenay Lake Historical Society for its weather-proofing of the SS Moyie sternwheeler in Kaslo, and Michael Wicks, for his volunteer work in developing and maintaining the Queer Archives at the Nelson Museum for the last three decades.


Nelson Museum volunteer Michael Wicks wins provincial heritage award

SS Moyie restoration wins Heritage BC award

Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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