Well, that’s a little embarrassing.
For the last 20 years, the Arrow Lakes News has proudly proclaimed on its masthead that it’s been published since 1923.
Turns out, we were wrong.
While cleaning out our storage room last week, we came across volumes of our old papers – musty, cardboard-bound copies of the newspaper dating back to its very beginning.
And in one of those bound volumes, we found a copy of the very first Arrow Lakes News ever published.
“I looked at the date on the edition, and couldn’t believe it,” recalls our sales manager, Chantelle Carter. “I was quite taken aback.”
The date Carter read on that edition — Volume 1, Number 1 — was June 28, 1922.
Yes, the News is a full year older than we thought.
Back on that summer’s day in 1922 — less than four years after the end of World War 1 — the big news was the upcoming Canada Day celebrations.
“Nakusp is to celebrate Dominion Day Saturday, July 1 in its usual royal style,” states the lead story, adding that people were expected from New Denver and all points along the rail line. “In past years visitors have been treated royally in Nakusp and this celebration will not be an exception.”
The writer/publisher/printer, Frank Rousseau, also saw fit to cover the end of the school year in Nakusp, local comings and goings, and donations for European post-war relief. He also gave a fair amount of column-inches to health cures, like pimple cream, corns and weight loss remedies. Some concerns never change.
“There’s a wealth of material in these past papers for our weekly ‘This Day in History’ column,” says Carter. “Be prepared for all sorts of fun and curious stories from our past.”
We also had a bit of fun with the discovery. We changed our logo on the masthead – “Publishing since 1923”- to reflect the accurate date. And we asked our readers to spot the difference.
Marion Lang had the keenest eye and fastest response. She brought us a copy of this week’s paper with the changed masthead, and won a year’s subscription to the online version of our newspaper.
Discovering the Advocate
That wasn’t the only surprise found in the storage room. Lying inside another box, we found copies of the Arrow Lakes Advocate. It was a precursor paper to the News, started in 1915 by one of the founding fathers of Nakusp, Thomas Abriel. Abriel, a local entrepreneur, booster and visionary, figured the then-teenaged village needed a newspaper of its own, and started the paper.
We had four different editions of the paper, which ran from 1915 to about 1918. We brought the delicate, crumbling copies to the Nakusp Archives. They were delighted to accept them into their collection, having only one paper copy of the paper in the archives (though they have a digitized copy of the newspaper’s run, courtesy of the provincial archives).
We’ll be going through the papers for the next few weeks, but will likely also send them over to the Nakusp Archives for permanent safekeeping. They have the facilities and means to take proper care of them.
And then there’s the really good news. Scratch June 28, 2023 from your appointment calendar to attend our centennial celebrations at the paper. We get to cut the cake in 2022 – a whole year earlier!