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LETTER: Seeking photos of the 1896 Cottonwood Creek light plant station

From reader John Armstrong

Feb. 1 marked the 125th anniversary of Nelson’s hydro-electric power plant on Cottonwood Creek, the first hydro-electric generating facility in British Columbia. It began operating on this date in 1896 and served the community until the Bonnington Falls plant opened in 1907.

Last fall, Touchstones Nelson Museum, the city’s public works department, and the Nelson Izu-shi Friendship Society worked together to move two important artifacts — a pulley wheel and a generator — from the 1896 plant back to their original location at the site of the electric light station beside Cottonwood Creek. The artifacts can be viewed on the west side of the creek near the falls.

As part of the Friendship Society’s Cottonwood Falls Park signage project, Touchstones is developing a sign to tell the story of these artifacts and this historic site. But finding pictures of the 1896 plant has proven challenging. If you know of any photos from the Cottonwood Creek plant or have stories of it to share, please get in touch with us at nelsonizushi@gmail.com

And when you turn on your kettle or computer in the morning, please give a thought to Cottonwood Creek and the role it played in this piece of Nelson’s history 125 years ago!

John Armstrong

President, Nelson Izu-shi Friendship Society

Nelson

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