For members of the Nelson Electric Tramway Society, the grand opening of the Car Barn Museum on Monday afternoon was the culmination of a laborious, multi-year project.
And when they invited the public to join them in celebrating 73 years of streetcars in Nelson (1899 to 1949 and 1992 to present), everyone was in a celebratory mood — the uniform-clad tramway crew dishing out cake, making speeches and taking pictures.
“This is something I’ve been wanting to happen for many, many years,” said society president Walt Laurie, following the ribbon cutting with Mayor Deb Kozak.
“Through the years it’s been talked about and talked about but it’s only since Jim Robertson, our new superintendent, took over that we managed to get some funds from the Columbia Basin Trust and the city.”
Laurie said it took a lot of volunteers countless hours of hard work to make the museum a reality. Community members have entrusted personal belongings and artifacts to their care, and now all are on proud display.
During Monday’s open house the tramway society offered free streetcar rides. Historic-looking cars were parked out front for residents to check out.
Laurie said he’s thrilled the streetcar’s history will be kept alive.
“Basically we’re recording the 73 years of running streetcars in Nelson through pictures and write-ups and everything else, and keeping the memories alive.”
You can also buy tramway memorabilia.
“We’ve got hats and jackets with the streetcar on it, T-shirts and coffee mugs and books about the history of streetcars in Nelson,” said Laurie.
For more information on the Car Barn Museum call 250-352-7672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s located beside the soccer fields and next to the Nelson Rowing Club.