Updated: Jun 24, 2022
From 1907 to 1911, members of the Patrick family lived in Nelson while operating a lumber company that owned timber limits in the Slocan Valley.
The Patricks shaped hockey as we know it, introducing innovations such as the blue line, assists, penalty shot, farm system and playoff system. Brothers Lester and Frank were all-star players, coaches, and managers who led Nelson to a provincial championship in 1909 and made noises about challenging for the Stanley Cup. Sisters Dora and Cynda played for and managed a Nelson women’s team.
The Nelson hockey club of 1908-09 won the provincial championship, helped by Frank Patrick (second row, left) and brother Lester (second row, right), along with the talented Bishop brothers, Archie and Harry.
Seven Patrick family members over four generations have won the Stanley Cup:
• Lester with Montreal in 1906 and 1907 as a player, with Victoria in 1925 as manager-coach, and with New York in 1928, 1933, and 1940 as a player-coach, coach, and general manager;
• Frank with Vancouver in 1915 as a manager-coach;
• Lester’s sons Lynn and Muzz with New York in 1940 as players;
• Lynn’s son Craig with Pittsburgh as general manager in 1991 and 1992 (he also won a gold medal as assistant coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, and was portrayed in the movie Miracle, partly shot in Rossland);
• Muzz’s son Dick with Washington as president in 2018.
• Dick’s son Chris with Washington as director of player personnel in 2018.
Additionally, Craig’s brother Glenn played in the NHL and WHA and Craig’s nephew Curtiss played in the AHL and ECHL.
Three of the above named have won the Lester Patrick Award, presented since 1966 for outstanding contributions to hockey in the United States: Lynn (1989), Craig (2000), and Dick (2012). Lester and Frank were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947 and 1958, respectively.
Six sites in our area are connected to the Patrick family, including four surviving buildings.
412/414 Falls St.
Patriarch Joseph and wife Grace, along with children Lester, Frank, Robert, Guy, Stan, Cynda, Dora, and Myrtle lived in at least four places in Nelson.
Although we don’t know the exact addresses of the first two, items in the Nelson Daily News at least reveal the streets they were on.
Nov. 16, 1907: Rev. Mr. Frith, the new pastor of the First Baptist church, who with his family arrived here some days ago, is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Patrick, Robson street.
Aug. 15, 1908: G.F. Johnston and son of Montreal are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Patrick, Cedar street.
That summer or fall, the family moved to 412 Falls St. (later renumbered 414 Falls), a large, rambling house built by mining magnate J. Roderick Robertson in 1898 and later home to George and Margaret Barnhart.
I didn’t know for sure until very recently that the family lived here, despite a statement in Dr. C.E. Bradshaw’s memoir to that effect. The proof is in the Daily News of Nov. 26, 1908:
Mrs. Joseph Patrick will receive this afternoon for the first time at her residence, corner Baker and Falls street, and not again until after the New year, following when she will be at home the fourth Thursday of each month.
Additionally, on April 15, 1909, a classified ad read: “WANTED — Smart woman by the day for washing, general housework, etc. Apply Mrs. Patrick, Baker street.”
(412 Falls was sometimes said to have been on Baker, because it was visible from that street, but it fronted on Falls.)
Less than a year after moving in, the Patricks decided to buy another house on the opposite end of the downtown. The Daily News of May 27, 1909 reported:
Joseph Patrick, managing director of the Patrick Lumber company, has purchased through McDermid & McHardy, E.C. Traves’ house on Edgewood avenue and fill [sic] take up his residence there almost immediately.
You can read more on the fascinating history of 412 Falls St. before and after the Patricks lived there by clicking on this link.
917 Edgewood Ave.
This was the Patrick family home, as listed in the 1910 civic directory (pictured below), which also listed Patrick Lumber’s office at 310 Kootenay St., an address that doesn’t exist anymore. It would be down an embankment next to the former McDonald Jam Factory, now home to Retreat Guru.
917 Edgewood was the site of an important moment in sports history.
As author Eric Whitehead put it, a “decision made in the house on Edgewood Avenue in the winter of 1911 … changed the face of hockey and contributed much to the development of the present-day National Hockey League.”
That decision was to sell the Patrick Lumber Company and use the money to start Western Canada’s first professional hockey league: the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, with teams in Vancouver, Victoria, and New Westminster.
On May 27, 1911 the Daily News carried an ad for an auction of household furniture at 917 Edgewood.
After the family moved out, the home was converted into a rooming house, first mentioned in the Daily News on Nov. 28, 1911: “Edgewood Lodge, formerly the residence of Joseph Patrick, on Edgewood avenue, will be open to guests on Dec. 1.”
The manager was Caroline Jorand, whose husband Henri had been a lawyer and district registrar in Slocan City and Nelson. This classified ad appeared in the Daily News of April 10, 1912: “FOR RENT — At Edgewood Lodge, two furnished rooms, with or without board, 917 Edgewood Avenue. Phone R428.”
Now comes something I can’t explain: in January 1913, an ad appeared “Furniture of Edgewood Lodge, corner Falls and Baker streets. Purchaser wishing to continue boarding house could secure present patronage by applying at once.”
Edgewood Lodge had somehow moved from 917 Edgewood to the Patricks’ old home at 412 Falls. We know this because Mrs. Jorand is listed as residing at the latter location in the 1913 civic directory. 917 Edgewood, meanwhile, was vacant.
It seems unlikely to have been a coincidence, although I don’t know why the rooming house had to move, or why it kept the same name at its new location.
In February 1913, Caroline Jorand ordered the furniture at 412 Falls auctioned off, including its dining room and drawing room suites, upholstered couch, carpets, rugs, and linoleum.
In the 1914 directory, Curtis W. Lester, a nephew to Joseph Patrick, was listed as residing at 917 Edgewood. In 1915, Curtis is shown at 923 Edgewood and his father John B. Lester is at 917 Edgewood. So the latter was still in the family.
In 1914, 412 Falls St. was turned into the Home Private Hospital, Esther Moore, matron. It remained there for eight years — then moved to 917 Edgewood! So the relationship between the two properties continued.
Art Joyce noted in his book A Perfect Childhood: One Hundred Years of Heritage Homes in Nelson: “There is a curious gap in the records of ownership of [917 Edgewood] between 1910 and 1922 when ‘Esther Moore, matron’ shows up in period directories as operating a government-licensed private hospital there …”
We know, however, that it was still in the Patrick family as of 1921. It was listed on the civic tax assessment that year under Grace’s name.
When Nelson hosted Hockey Day in Canada in 2007, a plaque was supposed to be attached to the house, but it doesn’t seem to have happened.
Crescent Valley Beach
The ruins of the Patrick Lumber Company operation at Crescent Valley are still visible, including pilings in the Slocan River and concrete foundations from the sawmill. Recent work by the Regional District of Central Kootenay has resulted in the creation of paths to and around the most prominent remains, pictured below.
The mill, built in 1907, was sold in 1911 to the British Canadian Lumber Company for a reported $1 million (something north of $22.8 million today). The mill closed around 1918 and was dismantled.
Although privately owned, the beach was a popular public site for generations. In 2011, the Nasmyth family donated the land to the RDCK to use as a regional park. Washrooms and a picnic area have since been built and the parking lot expanded. There is now also interpretive signage and a stop-of-interest highway sign acknowledging the significance of the site.
Below: pilings in the Slocan River are a legacy of the Patrick Lumber Company.
Alpine Inn, 1120 Hall Mines Rd.
This was the site of the Hall Mines rink. The Patricks led the charge to build this facility in 1908, which they felt was key to their Stanley Cup challenge. They donated lumber for its construction and helped raise the money needed, somewhere between $12,000 and $16,000 ($419,000 to $558,000 today). A company was formed and several other prominent citizens were enlisted to secure public subscriptions.
Touchstones Nelson has four original stock certificates from the Nelson Rink Limited, dated 1909. This one, made out to the Nelson Hockey Club, is signed by president G.W. McBride and secretary William Waldie.
Two of the share certificates belonged to Lester and Frank Patrick.
The rink was designed by local architect Alex Carrie and built by contractor W.G. Gillett. It opened on Jan. 1, 1909 and Lester served as its manager. According to a description in the Nelson Daily News on Jan. 3, 1909, the building was 207 feet long, 127 feet wide, and 73 feet tall. The ice sheet was 180 feet long and 80 feet wide. It had seating for 1,200 and standing room for another 800 (although fire codes probably weren’t what they are now).
The first hockey game was played there two weeks later — a city league match between the Victorias and the Thistles, the first in a series for the new Daily News Cup, which later became a regional trophy and is now in the Trail Sports Hall of Memories.
A sketch of the Hall Mines rink from the Nelson Daily News of Jan. 3, 1909.
While Lester and Frank led Nelson to a provincial championship that year, their Stanley Cup hopes were stillborn. (Although the cup chase was used as a selling point to build the rink, it’s unlikely anyone asked for their money back. The new arena was a huge improvement on the old one at the corner of Stanley and Houston.)
The rink’s address was given in the 1910 directory as 310 Hall Mines Road, so at some point the street numbering changed.
The Nelson Rink Ltd. was incorporated on Feb. 1, 1909. The directors were Joseph Patrick, William Waldie of Waldie Lumber, W.J. Wilson, G.W. McBride, future mayor Mungo McQuarrie, H. Wright. A.G. Lambert, another local lumber baron, was secretary. The company was dropped from the corporate registry on June 9, 1918 due to missed filings. However, it was restored in 1925.
The rink was demolished in late 1936 or early 1937, after the Civic Centre opened, and the site became Fourways Park. According to BC Assessment, the existing motel was built in 1950. The 1953 civic directory lists it as the Phillips Motel at 1030 Mines Road. A brochure from that time is pictured below.
Below: The Alpine Inn and Suites, on the site of the Hall Mines rink.
According to BC Assessment, the house next door at 1110 Hall Mines (pictured below) was built in 1905, meaning it was there when the rink was put up and when it was demolished. But it isn’t listed in the 1913 or 1914 street directories — the rink is shown as the only building with an even number on that block.
723 Victoria St.
Joseph Patrick’s brother Feather lived in this house (pictured) with wife Eleanor, son Walter, and daughters Georgia and Grace. Feather was not listed in the 1910 Nelson civic directory but his family appears on the 1911 census (pictured), where his occupation is given as carpenter. By 1913, Albert Jeffreys was living at that address.
Feather was a handyman and caretaker at the Denman Arena that the family built in Vancouver. He’s seen in the background of the team photo of the 1915 Stanley Cup champion Vancouver Millionaires.
In 1910, Feather’s daughter Grace won the lieutenant governor’s medal for having the best marks in the province on her high school entrance exams. She was presented with her medal by Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier, who happened to be visiting Nelson — a moment recorded in the Daily News of Aug. 30:
As he was pinning the medal on Miss Patrick’s dress Sir Wilfred asked: “Is this a niece of Mr. Joseph Patrick?” and on being informed that Miss Patrick was a daughter of F.T. Patrick said: “I knew your grandfather, James Patrick, very well. He was one of my best and truest friends in Quebec.”
However, Sir Wilfred was in error: Grace’s grandfather was Thomas, not James. Furthermore, Thomas was 23 years older than Sir Wilfred, so they probably weren’t boyhood pals. It’s not clear who the prime minister was thinking of. Thomas had a brother named James, but he was eight years older still. Thomas did not have any sons named James.
However, Joseph Patrick was a Liberal supporter. What is more, his brother Louis’ eldest son was named Wilfred Laurier Patrick. Wilfred died in infancy in 1897.
Trinity Methodist Church
Joseph Patrick, a devout Methodist, was a leading church figure during his time in Nelson. In 1908-09, Trinity Methodist Church opened at 602 Silica St. to replace a wooden church built in 1895 on the same site.
Joseph chaired the building committee and, no doubt, was a generous benefactor.
When the building opened, the Daily News said he gave the project “form and impetus,” by making a contract for a $30,000 marble building possible, with help from John W. McConnell of Montreal, a businessman and philanthropist who was involved in the Patrick Lumber Co.
The building burned in 1915 but was rebuilt. Architect Alex Carrie provided both the 1909 and 1915 designs. It burned again in 1967 and was rebuilt a second time. It was renamed Trinity United Church after the union of the Methodists, Presbyterians, and other congregationalists in 1927 and is now known as Nelson United Church.
Another key Patrick family connection: On June 8, 1910, Cynda Patrick married the Rev. John Westley Miller of Moyie, a Methodist minister, in this church. Her brothers Lester and Frank were ushers. The reception was held at 917 Edgewood. Below is the story in the Daily News from the following day.
As seen below, despite the two fires, the church retains some of its original stone.
The Patrick family continued to own property in Nelson long after they left town.
The 1908 tax assessment shows Joseph Patrick as owner of Block 22, Lots 25-36. These were on Victoria St., between Cedar and Park. In October 1909, several of these lots were placed in other family members’ names: Cynda (26), Frank (27), Lester (28), and Feather (33). I don’t know the purpose of the transfers.
On the 1910 voters, list, Joseph and Feather are both shown as assessed property owners in the city’s east ward. The following year, Joseph, Feather, Lester, Frank, and Cynda are all shown as property owners in the east ward, along with the Patrick Lumber Co.
In 1912, the same names as above appear with the addition of Mrs. Grace Patrick — probably Joe’s wife, although Lester’s wife was also named Grace. The same names continue to appear through 1920. Then from 1921-24, only Grace’s name appears. According to the 1921 assessment, the home on Edgewood Avenue, which was Block 58, Lots 16-17, was in Grace’s name.
The voters lists for 1925-28 are missing. On the 1929 list, no Patricks are left.
Lester Patrick returned to Nelson but once, in 1948, to referee a midsummer hockey game.
Updated on Feb. 3, 2020 to add 412 Falls St. and the Methodist Church plus more details on 917 Edgewood Ave. Updated on Feb. 5, 2020 to add the modern photo of the United Church. Updated on Feb. 6, 2020 to add details from the voters lists, pictures of the Nelson Rink Ltd. share certificates, and the anecdote about Sir Wilfred Laurier. Updated on Aug. 13, 2020 to add more property tax information. Updated on Dec. 22, 2020 to clarify when the Hall Mines rink was demolished.