Monday, 27 January 2014

Entrepreneurs and Innovators - Part 7

On now until February 2, the Galt Museum & Archives presents an exhibit celebrating southwestern Alberta businesses, inventors and researchers. Entrepreneurs and Innovators features photos from the Galt Archives's holdings, and can be seen in the lower gallery, outside the archives. This blog post is the seventh installment in a series based on the exhibit.

Black Horse's coal mine 

Black Horse with his wife. Provincial Archives A1551.


A coal mine on the Blood Reserve began along the St. Mary’s River in 1890, under the operation of Heavy Gun. The first work was accomplished by pick and shovel, but Soon a tunnel was opened with a rail for cars to bring coal to the surface. By 1894, when Black Horse took over, the mine produced 200 tons for the Agency, boarding school, and settlers in the Macleod area, with an additional 100 tons of reserve being sold to the Galt mining company. The small-scale operation provided employment and remained competitive with other coal producers due to its proximity to Fort Macleod until the late 1930s. At this point the federal government forced its closure due to pressures from non-native competitors.

 

 

Charles Noble



Noble's first production facility on his farm, 1930s. Galt Archives P20001076475.
In 1903, Charles Noble bought land north-west of Lethbridge in the area that would become Nobleford. The Noble Foundation was incorporated in 1913 to operate his interests, which grew to six farms totaling 10,000 acres by 1916 and soon tripled in land holdings. However, low wheat prices and drought forced the foreclosure of the Foundation in 1922.

Undaunted by these difficulties, Noble rebuilt his farm with a renewed focus on dryland farming techniques. He invented the Noble Drill in the late 1920s, a seeder that minimized soil disturbance. In 1936 he invented the Noble Blade which dug under the surface of the ground thatch and cut the roots of weeds without burying the stubble. The advantage of this implement was that it minimized soil erosion by leaving “trash” cover. By 1941, a factory was built in Nobleford and Noble promoted his products so successfully that as demand grew and a larger facility was built. Charles Noble passed away in 1957, and the company he founded was sold to Versatile Manufacturing Ltd. In 1982.

By Sven Andreassen

Sven Andreassen is a recent graduate of the University of  British Columbia's Master of Archival Studies program. He volunteered in the Galt Archives in 2013  and curated this exhibit.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Last Will & Testament of a 12 year old


Imagine being twelve and writing your last will and testament. What circumstances would lead a girl to do this? While we may not know the answer, what we do know is that Dorothy Charlotte Bentley of Daysland, Alberta could read and write, and that she possessed a lot of things, including a savings account. We know this because we have the document in the Galt Archives (19931010000)... and thanks to our fabulous volunteer Audrey Peters, who transcribed it verbatim, you can have a read for yourself:


The last Will and Testement                
of  Dorothy Charlotte                             
Bentley   aged 12 yearsold                   
Daysland, Sep 20                  
 
 I bequeath to my darling Mumsie all my dresses & petticoats and red shoes and stockings.  And I bequeath to Lettice the rest of my clothes and all my dollies on the bargain not to give one away and my little pearl necklace with just the two strings of pearls on them.  and I bequeath to my best chum Pearl Dumont my necklace with the three strings of pearls on them. and I bequeath to darling father my books called American Indian Fairy tales, Cast up by the Sea, Rip Van Winkle. and I want father to get my money out of the bank and to keep 40 cts of it, and I want Mumsie to have 85 of it and Sidney to have 15 cts and Lettice to have 15 too.  and I bequeath to Sidney my blue cup and saucer with  the dark blue edge round it and the flowers on it & Mumsie my little red cup & saucer with the gold in side it & Lettice my dollies dishes & the plate that matches her little cup.  & I bequeath my cup with love the giver on it & to Sidney my little corner & Grims fairy tales in the green cover & Helens Babies & Gullivers travels & the little lame prince.

 
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I bequeath to mother Ozma of Oz & the Wizard of Oz and the Marvelous land of Oz & the little book in the white box in the book case and the Whispering winds & the last of the Huggermuggers & read them mummy cause I loved them. & I loved and I bequeath to darling Nunny my little daysland maple leaf pin and my picture with the green paspeartout [passe-partout] round it and the four little kittens in it and my and the verses under it and I bequeath to dear grandma my picture of kittens with the gilt edge my little wee bible and I bequeath to Effie my middle bible and the long panneled picture of cats in it.

I bequeath to Jean my book called kidnapped and my picture & I bequeath to Pearl my little pearl pin & my picture & I bequeath to every one of my great friends my picture.  I bequeath to matter my little old old plate and I want mother to divide all my other things between whom she thinks would like them & to keep most of them for our family.

      --------           

I want these things done just as I saeid.

 
We've also searched high and low with the help of Audrey for the books Dorothy refers to, and believe these may be representative of her own collection:
 
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Monday, 20 January 2014

Entrepreneurs and Innovators - Part 6

On now until February 2, the Galt Museum & Archives presents an exhibit celebrating southwestern Alberta businesses, inventors and researchers. Entrepreneurs and Innovators features photos from the Galt Archives's holdings, and can be seen in the lower gallery, outside the archives. This blog post is the sixth instalment in a series based on the exhibit.

This week's post features two Lethbridge businesses that were successful despite the adversity faced by their operators in prior enterprises, though under very different conditions. Ryutaro Nakagama lost his business on the B.C. coast during the Second World War as a result of the Canadian government's policy of relocating and interning Japanese-Canadians in the province. George Baalim had run an unsuccessful real estate business in Calgary, but he established successful businesses in auto sales, oil refining, and auto repairs.

Nakagama's Japanese Food and Giftware
Ryutaro and Nobuko Nakagama, 1958. Courtesy of Ken Nakagama.


Ryutaro Nakagama lost his property and the grocery business that he had operated for over a decade in Steveston, British Columbia when the Canadian government relocated Japanese-Canadians to southern Alberta in 1942 to work in sugar beet production. Following the war, he worked to rebuild what he had lost despite the hardships imposed on him and his family. He bought a truck and began buying products such as tofu and noodles produced in cottage industries among the Japanese Canadians in the area and peddling them to customers on various farms. In 1947, Nakagama was the first Japanese-Canadian to open a store in Lethbridge.  He and his wife Nobuko operated their store on 1st Avenue South. In 1955 the business relocated to its present location on 2nd Avenue South. Over 65 years later, Nakagama’s is now managed by Ryutaro’s son Ken and continues to offer Japanese foods, kitchenware and gifts to its customers. 

 

George Baalim

Baalim Motors, 1939. Galt Archives P19790092000
During the recession prior to WWI, Arthur George Baalim lost his real estate business in Calgary.  He then founded the first automobile dealership in Lethbridge in 1916. Baalim Motor Company Limited sold Chevrolet models. The dealership soon prospered as cars became more affordable and owning one became an achievable goal for the average person. By 1919, his business was so successful that Baalim had a new brick building constructed with space for showing cars, auto repair and parts sales. In 1945, Baalim shifted the focus of his business from car sales to repairs and wholesale parts sales, renaming the business Baalim Wholesale Limited. Baalim also owned the Northern Lights Oil Refinery east of the fairgrounds. Though Baalim passed away in 1971, the wholesale business continued to carry his name until at least the late 1970s.


By Sven Andreassen

Sven Andreassen is a recent graduate of the University of  British Columbia's Master of Archival Studies program. He volunteered in the Galt Archives in 2013  and curated this exhibit.