Snow plowing on Mackenzie Avenue 100 years ago. The buildings are

Revelstoke in 1912 – part two

100 years ago Revelstoke was in the midst of a boom. Here are some highlights of that year, courtesy Cathy English at the Revelstoke Museum

1912 was one of the most important years in Revelstoke’s history. It was a year of substantial growth in town. The cornerstones for both Queen Victoria Hospital and the courthouse were laid; work started on the Mount Revelstoke auto road, and many downtown buildings were built during this time, including the McKinnon Building on First Street West (where the Nickelodeon is) and Manning’s, which was originally a candy factory before being turned into a restaurant.

It was such a busy year, that when Cathy English gave her talk Revelstoke in 1912 back in January, she only got halfway through the year. Last Wednesday, she gave part two of her talk, which covered from June through the end of the year. Here are some highlights:

– The laying of the cornerstone for Queen Victoria Hospital and the unveiling of the mile-zero post for the Mount Revelstoke auto road were both laid at ceremonies on August 21. A number of officials turned out for both events, and the long day meant some were seen dozing off as the day went on.

– Speaking of the hospital, it seemed to be a well-run institution. According to the report for the year ending July 31, 1912, the hospital treated 473 patients who spent a total of 8,162 days in the hospital. 28 major operations were performed and 27 maternity cases were seen. Out of all that, “not a single complaint in regard to our hospital service has been received during the year,” reported Thomas Kilpatrick, the chair of the hospital board.

– There was a big push on to sell lots in Malakwa. In August, lots were advertised at the price of $75 to $175. They also pushed business opportunities, such as hotels, shoe makers, dry goods, furniture stores and more. “This new town is just about half way between Revelstoke and Salmon Arm, being a trifle over 30 miles from either place. It is a natural location for a town, being surrounded by a highly rich farming district. Lots in this townsite can be purchased on long terms so that a purchaser before he has been paid for his lots will have made a good profit on his investment.”

– Roy Smythe was also on the Malakwa bandwagon. He had a window display at his store featuring fruits and vegetables grown there. The centre piece was an 81-pound pumpkin. He had a contest to see who could guess the number of seeds in the pumpkin. The prize? You guessed it – a free lot in Malakwa.

– Horace Manning started to build his candy factory on Mackenzie Avenue. The building was constructed by Foote & Pradolini, who also built the courthouse. “When completed and equipped, this will be the most modern and best candy factory between Calgary and Vancouver,” touted the newspaper.

– There was a huge outcry over the officiating when the Revelstoke CPR baseball team travelled to Kamloops for the game. “One of the rawest deals ever handed out to any sporting aggregation was given to the Revelstoke CPR ball team at Kamloops on Wednesday last,” wrote the paper. There was complaints about foul balls being declared fair, runners being deemed safe when they were out and then, in the 11th inning, a Revelstoke home run was deemed foul.

– The Revelstoke Progress Club was making a big push to promote Mount Revelstoke as a tourist destination. In addition to lobbying the Federal Government to turn the mountain into a national park, they also took some CP Rail officials to the summit with the hopes of convincing them of building a hotel there.

– On a sad note, there were two fatalities on the rail line. On July 21, Charles Ambro Davis, 30, a Presbyterian student and missionary, died when he was thrown from a train near Taft. He was sitting on the front end of the train when the train jerked while going up a steep grade, sending Davis beneath it.

– On Sept 7, Joe McInnis, 24, a brakeman on a work train had both his legs cut off when he fell beneath a moving train near Beavermouth. He was rushed to hospital in Golden, where he died three hours later.

– On Sept. 11, a man who the newspaper simply identified as ‘Hindoo’ but is believed to be named Rajat Singh, succumbed to injuries he received while working at the mill in Taft a few weeks prior. 200 people came out to his cremation.

Cathy English’s next Brown Bag History Talk is on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 12 p.m. The topic is First Tracks: The History of Skiing in Revelstoke



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