Chilliwack’s history is alive and well at a downtown hotel this holiday season.
Staff at the Royal Hotel, which stands as a record of the city’s history, have delved into the archives to see what Christmas was like in Chilliwack 100 years ago.
Laura Reid, who manages guests services and is the hotel’s blog writer, turned to the digital archives of the Chilliwack Progress.
She found advertisements, appeals for donations for soldiers overseas, entertainment notices, and messages from the newspaper’s editor of the day. Her findings are posted on their blog for easy reading, clipped right from the pages of 1916.
Some of the notable clippings include an announcement of a donation tea for soldiers at the Knights of Pythias hall in October of that year. Residents were invited to bring cake, chocolate, gum or tobacco “to the value of 15 cents, or more,” as well as socks. Those were to be sent to the men from Chilliwack in time for Christmas at the frontlines.
A dandy Christmas gift of the day would have been a “new Edison Diamond Point Phonograph,” and popular songs to be heard would have included instrumental military bands, Vaudeville music, the Messiah, and arias from operatic singers.
Readers in those days were looking to the pages of their The Progress for some of the same general information you could find today, including holiday recipes and event listings.
But there were also somber listings.
The 1917 New Year greeting from The Progress read that “during this period of national unrest would it seem out of place to offer the time honored wish associated with this season?”
The writer wished readers “happiness and prosperity, and may there be a speedy victory and permanent peace won through the great struggle and sacrifice in which our Empire and her Allies are engaged.”