COLUMN: Greg Scott on Nelson in November, 1917: six return home from war

Also, residents didn’t care to pay their utility bills

Greg Scott

Files on the Nelson Daily News

November 6, 1917

The Lodging House by-law was finally passed and adopted at the city council meeting last evening and will upon registration by the city clerk become law. The new city ordinance has been reframed so that it affects only those who are keeping in their houses five or more roomers.

The clause as it now reads is as follows: “Lodging houses means any building or portion of a building, the occupier of which lets or offers to let, by or for the week or by or for any less period than one week, sleeping accommodation therein to any person or persons, or the occupier of which lets or offers to let sleeping accommodation therein to or for more than five persons.”

The license fee for a lodging house has been placed at $5 for a period of six months.

November 13, 1917

All Nelson turned out to the Victory War Loan parade last night. Thousands of persons swarmed the streets as the gala procession wended its way about the city.

And then, when the parade made its way to the Opera House, where the big mass rally was held, the largest building in the city was far too small to accommodate the hundreds of citizens who responded to the committee’s call.

As the seats were filled the orchestra rendered patriotic airs. On the entrance of the war veterans the crowd cheered loud and long. After speeches and further patriotic songs, Mayor J.E. Annable as chairman of the committee in charge of the sale of Victory Loan bonds in Nelson and District then announced the total of the sale for the opening day.

Amid loud applause and cheers, he announced the total of $55,750 received to that hour. The most earnest and enthusiastic gathering ever held in the city then dispersed with the singing of the National Anthem. (Ed note: $55,750 1917 dollars equals $912,000 in 2017)

November 20, 1917

City residents who have allowed their electric light and water bills to remain unpaid may have their supply cut off, according to the attitude taken by the city councilors last evening, when they found that they were sorely in need of $6,500 in cash to pay for the new motor generator recently purchased and that they had $43,000 in outstanding accounts.

A motion was passed that one of the office men in the city hall staff spend half of his time during the next month to solicit the payment of accounts, some of which are of several years standing. Ald. McDonald suggested that the city establish the office of collector.

He argued that he would be a poor collector who could not earn his salary and more for the city with $43,000 to go after. When the suggestion took the form of a motion, however, it was modified to half time of one of the city hall staff already employed. (Ed note: $43,000 1917 dollars equals $703,000 in 2017)

November 28, 1917

Nelson citizens royally welcomed a party of six returned boys at the Canadian Pacific station last evening and later at the Y.M.C.A. when several short speeches of welcome were given by local dignitaries and prominent citizens.

Standing on the stairs in the crowded “Y” main room, Mayor J. E. Annable was first called upon to extend a welcome to the boys and heartily expressed a welcome home on behalf of the city.

He was followed by, among others, Dr. W.O. Rose who said that it was a great privilege to welcome the boys back home but that there was the pain one felt when it was remembered that some were never to return. In deafening applause “Cap” Carruthers responded on behalf of the boys.

“I needn’t tell you that we are glad to be here,” he said “The treatment we have received since our arrival in Canada has been splendid.

“All along the line it couldn’t have been better. Women met us at the train and gave us apples and cigarettes and made things pleasant for us. And you can surely be proud of every boy from Nelson. All of them proved their worth and some never had the soil of the land on their fingers before.”

“We are mighty glad to be back,” he continued, “and were touched with the reception we have received.” The cheers that followed must have been heard for blocks.

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