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Phantom signs: A.S. Horswill & Co. and Campion’s Grocery

Updated: Feb 16

This is the first in a series looking at phantom signs of West Kootenay/Boundary. I thought I would start with a Nelson building that has two of them: 524 Vernon Street, now home to Jackson’s Hole restaurant. The more obvious sign, which was touched up perhaps 20 years ago, is for Algernon Sidney Horswill, who operated his wholesale business here from the 1910s until 1929 in what was previously known as the McDonald block. (Prior to that Horswill was at 420 Baker St.)

Horswill died in 1927 in Spokane, but his family remains well known in Nelson. His longtime manager, William R. Campion, took over the business and renamed it Campion’s Grocery. However, due the onset of the Great Depression, it failed. It was last listed in the 1931 civic directory. The name is nevertheless immortalized at the front entrance (this sign is covered up when the patio is out).

Campion then became a bookkeeper. He died in Nelson in 1947, age 76. His death registration reveals that while his parents were English, he was actually born in Romania. He was survived by his wife, the former Sarah Ann McDonald, whom he married in Nelson in 1898. While his business was short-lived, I have this envelope in my collection:

Nelson Daily News, Feb. 1, 1930

Updated Feb. 15, 2024 to add the ad seen above.

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Greg Nesteroff
Greg Nesteroff
18 mar 2018

Greg Scott writes: The Campions were the first people to marry in St. Saviour's Pro-Cathedral. This plaque is on the eastern side of the arch above the altar.

The date is wrong in the engraving and has been corrected by black pen to Dec. 28, 1898. This was prior to the church being consecrated. Campion ran for alderman in 1922 and although was not elected, he “made a surprisingly good run.”

I started to write the story of the Campion plaque for the church guidebook but never completed it as the plaque didn’t make the cut. Below is the start of the story:

It is unfortunate that the details or even notice of St. Saviour’s first wedding did not appear…

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Thanks for putting this up! George is my Great Great Grandfather. We would always take photo in the doorway with his name. I was told after he lost the business he wife Sarah kicked him out of the house.

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