Historical find a window into 1947

Qualicum Beach Museum manager Netanja Waddell shows off her latest historical treasure. - Submitted Photo
Qualicum Beach Museum manager Netanja Waddell shows off her latest historical treasure.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

Many people know that 1947 was the year Qualicum Beach became incorporated.

However, not so many know that it was also the year that homemakers in Qualicum Beach were eagerly awaiting the new style of milk bottles.

Netanja Waddell knows this though, as well as the fact that 1947 was also the year the famous Qualicum Beach hermit tried to sell his museum collection to Port Alberni.

The reason she does is thanks to a chance find by local builder Dean Dreger as his company demolished an old building on Second Avenue.

Tucked away in one of the walls was a June, 1947 issue of the Arrowsmith District News.

Dreger handed the fragile find to Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer, who in turn passed it on to Waddell at the museum.

She was delighted with the find, finding it an interesting window into another time.

“Some of the issues brought up in the paper are still in existence today,” she said. “Things change but some things seem to be cyclical or we just haven’t figured them out yet.”

Articles on the front page include the eagerly-awaited square milk bottles — designed to save space in the refrigerator — along with an article about the opening of the new French Creek bridge, which had  been recently completed to replace the old bridge that had been in place since horse and buggy days. As well, the paper trumpeted the arrival of new gas pumps at the local Chevron station and detailed the fun children had on the annual sports day. The hermit, Guiseppe Roat, was shown to have offered his museum collection to Port Alberni for the then-princely sum of $15,000. The city declined the offer, stressing they were not in the museum business and didn’t intend to be.

The editorial page was also instructive, with one article slamming both Parksville and Qualicum Beach for not having an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the bridge, while a second editorial praised a local women’s group, which, the editor was pleased to report, didn’t appear to have any Communist sympathies.

Waddell said she plans to display a copy of the newspaper in the museum’s general store exhibit, as the store was often the place people went to share the news and gossip around town. The original will go into the archives.


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