Vernon & Ward Intersection - Nelson, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 29.569 W 117° 17.688
11U E 478651 N 5482283
Quick Description: Populated by three of the best known heritage buildings in the city of Nelson, the intersection of Vernon & Ward Streets is the point from which the city grew.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 9/2/2020 2:07:47 PM
Waymark Code: WM132N2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
Beginning in 1886, the city grew outward in all directions from this point, with both Vernon and Ward remaining two of the most important commercial avenues in the city, though Baker Street, paralleling Vernon Street to its south, has overtaken both in terms of the sheer number of heritage buildings to be found.

At the intersection will be found:
The Hume Hotel, at the southwest corner. Built in 1898 by John Frederick Hume, the Hume is the oldest hotel in Nelson still operating as a hotel. The Hume has accepted guests nearly continuously for 122 years and recaptures its reputation as a luxury hotel. Much changed over the years, particularly after its sale by its second owner Wilmer C. Wells to hotelier George Benwell in 1912, it appears very much unlike it once did.

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The Nelson Courthouse, at the northwest corner, was built in 1908. The most photographed building in town, this beautiful edifice has stood on the corner of Vernon and Ward Streets for 112 years now. It continues in use as the city's courthouse, now under a thick growth of ivy, resplendent through the summer months.
"The new Court House is by long odds the handsomest building in Nelson and is one to which the people of the city can point with pride."
Nelson Daily News, November 29, 1908

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The Nelson & District Credit Union, on the northeast corner. Not yet a heritage building, the credit union appeared much later than its neighbours. Though a newer building, its design was such that it was compatible with its surrounding heritage buildings, adding to the general appearance of the area. For their "Renovation Sympathetic to Heritage", the Credit Union won the 2003 award of that name, which was presented to the credit union April 19, 2004.

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The Post Office and Customs House, on the southeast corner. This magnificent stone and brick building, with its stone and brick arches and imposing front turret, was built in three phases. The first was the Post Office, built by the Federal Government in 1902. The second was the Customs and Inland Revenue House in 1910, and the third was an expansion of the building in 1939. Today it is home to the Touchstones Museum of Art and History.

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Vernon & Ward Intersection
DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE
The intersection of Vernon and Ward Streets in Nelson B.C. is marked by three important buildings: historic Court House, the Hume Hotel, and Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History occupying three of its corners.

HERITAGE VALUE
The intersection at Vernon and Ward Streets is significant as the starting point of the city Nelson and as the location of Nelson’s main civic institutions. The intersection marks the crossing of two important streets: the city’s wide civic and ceremonial street (Vernon Street) and the principal cross-street connecting the downtown area to the commercial waterfront (Ward Street).

Vernon and Ward streets were the starting point for the city of Nelson. The original town plan developed by Gilbert Malcolm Sproat identified a strategic location near the steamer landing, with nearby Ward Creek as a water source. While Baker Street became the main business centre in the city, the area around Ward Creek formed a small commercial centre in the late 1880s, with Vernon Street the location of stores, a mining recorder’s office, hotel, blacksmith shop and several shacks. By 1893, anchoring this location as the centre of the early city were the gaol, police and sheriff’s office. This was followed by the Provincial Gaol (1897) and the Land Registry (1899).

The intersection of the two streets continued to develop into the city’s administrative centre in the first decade of the twentieth century. This development was caused by the consolidation of business and institutional interests along the north and south sides of Vernon Street on either side of Ward Street. Particularly influential were the Post Office and Customs House, completed in 1902/1910 (later Nelson’s City Hall, now Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History), on the southeast corner and the Court House, completed in 1908 (with the first proceedings held in 1909), on the northwest corner. The Hume Hotel on the southwest corner and the Grand Central Hotel on the northeast corner occupied the remaining corners. Vernon Street is level to Cedar Street; the western terminus and the beginning of the grade change occurs at the Ward Creek gully, the original village sewer line. The intersection was an important stop on the route of the streetcar, and remains a key intersection of the present highway through Nelson.

The buildings at Vernon and Ward streets were designed consciously with the elevated status of the corner in mind, including turrets and other flourishes that enhance the architectural design. The place has high visual and architectural importance, with the building forms framing the intersection and their styles and massing relating directly to their particular importance in the history of Nelson. High quality building materials support their importance and stature.
From the City of Nelson Heritage Register, Page 11
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

Address:
Intersection of Vernon & Ward Streets
Nelson, BC
V1L 1S6


Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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