A replica of Nelson City Hall, which stood at the foot of Ward Street from 1909-60, can be found in Izu-shi, Japan. Photo submitted

A replica of Nelson City Hall, which stood at the foot of Ward Street from 1909-60, can be found in Izu-shi, Japan. Photo submitted

LETTER: Old Nelson City Hall replicated in Japan

From reader John Armstrong

Re: “Mural to be installed on Nelson City Hall,” Sept. 19

In this interesting article about a new mural for our present City Hall, I was interested to see the reference to a previous city hall, a building that “was located at the bottom of Ward Street … from 1908 to 1960.” As quoted in the article, it was described by the Nelson Daily News in 1962 as originally “an outstanding example of Victorian architecture,” while at the end it apparently had become “a public eyesore” and was “condemned to a violent death (by) hammer blows” as the only way it could be removed from the lakeside landscape.

I thought your readers might be interested in learning that a replica of this early Nelson City Hall survives in quite a different landscape, across the Pacific in our sister city of Izu-shi, Japan. There, not far from a little orange bridge and across the street from the Baker Street Boutique, is the old Nelson City Hall. It serves now as a museum for a collection of art work, artifacts, tourism brochures, newspapers, and so on from Nelson and also houses a small art gallery.

As I understand the story, someone from Izu-shi, then known as Shuzenji, came to Nelson to visit our archives in the early years of our sister city relationship and took home copies of the original architectural drawings of the building. It was then re-created in the Niji no Sato theme park in Izu-shi. Today it looks indeed like the “outstanding example of Victorian architecture” it originally was. And if anyone would like to pay a visit to our old City Hall, the Nelson Izu-shi Friendship Society is planning another exchange to Izu-shi in the spring of 2021.

John Armstrong

President

Nelson Izu-shi Friendship Society

Nelson