It happened this week in 1915

July 24 - 30: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

July 24 – 30: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives


Whale farming … The following little episode of one, J. Peck MacSwain, formerly in the employ of the Herald is taken from the Princeton Star, edited by F. J. Smyth, who piloted the Moyie Leader through many a stormy voyage when Moyie was in its palmy days.

Peck MacSwain is a dreamer of big projects. Last summer he had a scheme to utilize the “hops” of the grasshopper in the manufacture of beer. Years ago he had still a bigger scheme. He proposed to organize a company and locate a whale ranch on the coast.

As is well known, the female whale gives milk and suckles her young like the cow. The idea was to capture a number of these whales and so tame them that they could be driven in close to shore each morning and evening and milked.

Then fast launches would be pressed into service to carry the product to Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster and supply these markets with fresh milk in competition with the dairymen of the Fraser Valley.

Cronin and dynamite … Twenty years ago, before the Crow’s Nest railway was built, Jim Cronin was at Moyie lake developing the St. Eugene mine, which afterwards made him a millionaire. That was before Cranbrook was on the map, and supplies had to be packed from Fort Steele.

Fresh meat was scarce and Mr. Cronin depended largely on the fish he caught out of the lake. There are times when fish will scamper round in the water and play tag with each other, but will not grab at a hook. Cronin was fishing on one of these days and became desperate. He would have some fish anyhow. A fuse and cap were attached to a stick of dynamite, a match touched to the fuse and the lot thrown in the water several yards from the shore.

Now it happened that Cronin had a dog for a companion, and this particular dog dearly loved to swim out and bring back sticks that his master would throw in the lake. When the dog saw the stick of dynamite thrown, he did the natural thing and plunged in after it. The dog got the dynamite all right, with the fuse still burning nicely, and started for the shore to deliver it to his master. Cronin struck for the hills and kicked several jackrabbits out of his way as he ran.

Mr. Cronin is still living, but history does not relate as to what became of the dog.

Leg fracture … Walter Mitchell of Bull River, was brought into Cranbrook hospital today suffering from a compound fracture of the leg. Mr. Mitchell was employed working in the woods felling a tree when he became in some manner jammed between two trees, with the result that he has received a nasty fracture. He was some ten hours on the journey before the bone could be set.


Rainstorm … Wednesday Cranbrook witnessed the heaviest rainstorm in years. The water came down in torrents, lasting for about an hour. The rain was so heavy that on Cranbrook street, where the new water mains were recently installed, rocks weighing half a pound were washed along the street for a couple of hundred yards. Jack Macdonald, who is the Cranbrook’s greatest weather man, and who follows the weather man pretty closely, says Wednesday’s rainstorm was the heaviest in twenty years.

Change of plans … The Methodist Sunday School pupils started out for their annual picnic on Wednesday afternoon, which they intended spending in the woods, but they were driven in by the big storm and spent the remainder of the afternoon at the old gymnasium next to the church, where the picnic lunch was served and a large number of indoor sports enjoyed. There was a large number of children turned out and all report a good time.

Anniversary of declaration of war … In common with the citizens of all the other towns and cities in Great Britain and the Empire, a public meeting will be held in the Edison Theatre on the fourth of August, at 8.30 p.m., being the anniversary of the declaration of the present war. Speeches will be given by some of the prominent citizens and it is to be hoped that a large number will turn out. A. C. Bowness, Mayor. J. M. Christie, Pres. Board of Trade

More recruits … Four more recruits left Cranbrook last Tuesday en route to Vernon to join the 54th battalion. They were Edmund Barrett, Peter McDonald, Samuel Henderson and A. Walter Walsh. Recruits are still needed and Dr. Green will examine any who apply. The time is now short as the battalion is expected to leave the camp about the first of September.

Razor collecting … J. D. McBride, the hardware man, has an interesting collection of old razors in his window this week which he is forwarding to the cutlery houses for repairing after which they will be distributed among the soldiers. Mr. McBride is making this collection in response following the appeal and anyone having an old castoff razor should turn it in at once and assist along this worthy undertaking.

Many thanks … Dear Sir: Some months ago the Cutlers’ Company was approached by the War Office, and I undertook to carry out the collection of spare or discarded razors throughout this country, putting them in order when received and sending them forward for the use of the troops. This course was necessary owing to the inability of the manufacturers to meet sufficiently rapidly the requirements of the soldiers at the front. I am pleased to say up to the present 70,000 have been received and desire that the appeal should be continued. 19th May, 1915.

Safety razors needed for soldiers … The hardware stores of the city of Cranbrook are this week displaying cards asking for razors for the men at the front, who have gone out to fight the battles of the country.

Every man who grows a whisker in Cranbrook should be able to donate a razor. It must, be understood that the appeal is not, as many suppose, asking that a new razor be contributed, but is simply asking that you hand in any old razor that you have.

A copy of the letter sent out fully explains everything, which is herewith reproduced: Dear Sirs: The enclosed copy from a letter I have received from the Master Cutler of Sheffield, England, speaks for it self. It is not necessary to say that we cannot do too much for the health and comfort of the men who are fighting and giving their lives for us, so I am quite sure you will be glad to assist in the collection, not only by hanging this card in a prominent place and gathering all the razors you possibly can, but by also interesting your local press and fellow merchants to do the same.

When you think all the razors in your vicinity have been collected will you please mail them to me at the above address? About ten razors can be sent for 16c, seventeen for 22c, or twenty-five for 28c. postage.

I hope your efforts will be successful, and if more cards will be of assistance I will be glad to send them to you. Yours truly, THOMAS B, LEE


Farm purchase … A. C. Bowness, mayor of the city, has purchased a three hundred acre farm on St. Mary’s Prairie, adjoining the Beattie-Murphy holdings. Mr. Bowness has gazed with envious eyes on the work accomplished by Bert Beattie and has determined to answer the call of “back to the land.” He has purchased a number of horses and farm implements and is already preparing to break one hundred and fifty acres of land and seed it down to fall wheat this year.

Fred Roo visits Cranbrook … J. W. Kerr and Fred Roo, of Elko, are visitors in the city today. This is Mr. Roo’s first visit to Cranbrook for a long time. It is not necessary to go into detail as to the latter gentleman, as he is known to every reader of the Herald from Halifax to Vancouver. He has contributed to the Herald for fifteen years, as correspondent from the city where the big, red apple grows, and his column is eagerly looked for by the people of East Kootenay. Roo possesses the happy knack of saying the right thing at the right time and he will never rue it.

Special to the Herald … JAFFRAY, B. C., July 28 — Last week we chronicled a thrilling story how the head of the Corporation of the City of Cranbrook got badly twisted with his machine.That story is tame, tame as the pet lamb, compared with what took place here today.

Norman Gardner, of Cranbrook, erudite and faithful traveller for the P. Burns Co., today holds the palm of victory for dare-devil feats and thrilling adventure. Listen, oh ye braves of the East Kootenay capital!

Mr. Gardner was on his return trip from the prairie city of Calgary, when at Galloway he overtook No. 513 and decided to try conclusions with the driver of the iron horse.

“I am Gardner,” the driver of the little Ford said to himself. “You are the big engine on the train. Let us see.”

Gardner braced himself and put the machine at top speed. He was ready if there was anything on the road that dared try to pass him. On came No. 513, but Gardner was equal to the occasion. He was holding the C. P. R. down to a nicety. It was a pretty race, and a number of passengers on the train became interested in this test of skill.

Gardner kept his eye on 513 when he should have been watching the road ahead.

“I am Gardner, the speed artist. Everything must clear the road when I toot my horn and throw in the high speed.”

With a wild burst of speed the Barney Oldfield of the Kootenays was soon leaving the Crow’s Nest Limited in the gray distance, when suddenly Gardner noticed a fly on his windshield. “Swat the fly” came suddenly to the mind of the speed king. Gardner reached for the swatter. He had plenty of time to do away with the troublesome insect, besides, he had waged war on the carriers of vermin for the past six months, or ever since he had taken up housekeeping.

Jaffray was in sight and the noble Gardner was holding the engineer pretty well at his will. “Come on,” said Gardner, “throw your throttle wide open. I am prepared for anything. Throw in your coal, and when that fails you are at liberty to resort to the use of oil. It matters not to me. I, Gardner, king of the road, stand ready.”

The engineer seemed to take the driver of the auto at his word, for at that instant, in went the coal and a dense volume of smoke circled in the air.

Jaffray, the autoists curse, witnessed the most sensational loop the loop feat ever attempted by mortal man. Diavolo, the man who lays claim to the only and original feat has been put to the scrap heap. His was a feat on a common bicycle, simply riding down an incline.

Gardner, the invincible, unconquerable, looped the loop with a real Ford.

In this case the unexpected which usually happens, happened. Gardner “got out and got under”; in fact it was the best demonstration of the real milkmaid story yet demonstrated. Thanks to the baggage man on 513, who noticed the somersault, the train was brought to a stop and the train crew assisted the victim from beneath the wrecked car.

The rescue was made in the nick of time, as the full weight of the car was resting on the neck of the once monarch of all he surveyed.

He was taken aboard the train at Jaffray, where he journeyed on to Cranbrook, the home of the brave and the land of the free. The car is still at Jaffray.

This is the first time in history that the Ford has been handed a lemon, and a pretty sour one at that. LATER.—Since the above was sent in, a wireless from Galloway states that the bold Gardner is experimenting with a combined stump puller, flying machine and potato digger. You will hear from this section again shortly, as another victim is due to pull off something more daring than this. A. K. L.


Special board meeting … At a special meeting of the Cranbrook school board held Friday evening last to consider the applications for the position of high school teacher a full board meeting was present.

Some fourteen applications were gone over. Included in the list of applications were some highly interesting letters, one applicant stating that he had educated doctors, lawyers, poets, editors, politicians, mechanics, states men and innumerable others of a greater or less degree. The applications were gradually weeded out until three in number was reached, when a motion by Trustee Manning, seconded by Trustee Quain, was put and carried, to the effect that the secretary wire inspectors in the several districts in which the applicants are located, as to their ability and other qualifications necessary for the conduct of a first-class high school.

The heads of the three men on which the choice will fall are Mr. Alex. D. Hotchkiss, Mr. Rich. H. Ash more and Mr. A. D. Basting. Trustee Quain reported on the proposed repairs to the central school, having secured a number of tenders from local men for the work. The contract is expected to be let shortly.

Trustee Quain also reported on the locks for the gates at the Central school. In all probability, before this appears in print, nice, neat locks will adorn the gates at the school, replacing the hay wire now used by Mr. James Logan, the caretaker. Board adjourned.

Principal appointed … The appointment of the new principal of the high school was taken up, word having been received as to the merits of the men who were selected for the position.

Mr. Basting had been re-engaged at Ladysmith, and was therefore not considered. A motion by Trustee Manning, seconded by Trustee Quain, was carried, accepting the application of Mr. Alex. D. Hotchkiss as principal of the high school at a salary of $125 per month, duties to commence at the beginning of the term. Mr. Rich. H. Ashmore being the second choice.

Mr. Hotchkiss comes very highly recommended, having had years of experience in British Columbia schools.

The secretary was instructed to wire Mr. Hotchkiss of his acceptance, and was instructed to write him fully as to his duties and the work expected. This was done so that no misunderstanding would arise after the arrival of the teacher.

The Kootenay Orchard school question, like Banko’s ghost, again cropped up, no word having been received as yet to the title of the land where the new school is or was about to be built. The matter was left over until the regular meeting.

The tenders for the school lavatories were held over until the next meeting, some of the contractors not clearly specifying the work. Patmore Bros, were awarded the contract of placing the sink, with all necessary vents and traps, for the high school room. The figure was $42.00. This work was made necessary owing to the change in the high school. Board adjourned.

Tennis club … The, above club held an American Tournament last Saturday, for the benefit of the Tobacco Fund for the soldiers. In spite of the bad weather, the tournament proved to be a great success, a large crowd being present. Tea was served during the after noon by Mrs. T. T. Mecredy. The receipts for the tournament, amounting to $7.00, were handed to the I. D. O. E. for the above fund. Miss Harrison and Mr. A. Fairbairn succeeded, after some very interesting and keen play, in winning 1st prize.

Beautiful garden … Mrs. Charles Magee has the best growth of sweet peas in the city. A prettier picture could not be seen anywhere in the west than the mass of bloom which adorns the garden at her home on Baker Hill. The variegated colors are wonderful in the extreme. Mrs. Magee attributes the marvelous growth of her flowers and plants to the day on which they are planted, i.e., on Holy Thursday or Good Friday. The secret of success so far as the growing of sweet peas are concerned, has been beautifully demonstrated. To give an idea of the growth of this highly perfumed flower, Alex. McDermot found it necessary to roll a packing case, a wheel barrow and a soap box in order to get at the flowers higher up on the vines. The peas measure 7 ft. 3 inches and are, to be exact, three feet higher than the plants at the home of Joseph Jackson. Mrs. Magee also has a most magnificent collection of rose bushes which are producing in abundance. The rose signifies wealth and beauty, and here it is beautifully depicted in the neat surroundings at the Magee home. A collection of mountain ash and honey locusts add to the splendor to the scene and would almost inspire one to write poetry and dwell on the wonders of nature.


St. Eugene nurses’ picnic … Monday was an ideal picnic day. It was a day on which no rain fell, something unusual during the past six weeks. Father Anthony, on that morning organized a picnic for the nurses of the St. Eugene hospital, when a party of sixteen left the hospital at 7 p .m . that morning for the St. Mary’s lake country. The party was conveyed to the picnic grounds by Mr. J. D. McBride, Mr. E. A. Hill and Mr. Jimmy Greaves, who kindly placed their cars at the disposal of the merry throng of picnickers. Those composing the party were Miss Grundy, Mrs. W. J. Atchison, Miss Elsie Bent, Mrs. E. A. Hill and children, Miss Downey, Miss Mamie Mackey, Miss Josephine Filker, Mr. James Greaves, Sergeant Robert McKay, Mr. J. D. McBride, Rev. Father Anthony, Mr. James Doolan and Mr. F. G. Murphy. A most pleasant day was spent amid the scenic beauties of the St. Mary’s. Fishing and boating occupied the attention of the fun-makers for the most part. The party succeeded in landing nineteen fine trout, to which the party did justice at the evening meal. A number of interesting pictures were taken depicting the many beauty spots of nature in and around the lake. The party was out for a good time and it is needless to say they had it. They returned to the city at 11.30 that evening.

Boy scouts … A meeting of the executive of the Boy Scouts Association was held at the office of N. A. Wallinger on Monday afternoon.

Mr. Chas. Hubert Morton was proposed as assistant scoutmaster by scout master Crebbin and received the endorsement of the committee. Mr. Roy Shields was elected to the executive committee to fill the vacancy caused by the removal of Mr. H. Green from the city.

The Scout Master gave Mr. Wallinger a vote of thanks from the Boy Scouts for the use of his building as club rooms.

The Scout Master reported that there were a large number of boys desiring enrollment in the Boy Scouts.

On Wednesday, August 4th, the Boy Scouts will have flag raising exercises at the Government Building after which they will spend the day camping at some spot near the city.