Front page of the Trail Times

Black Tuesday dominates 1920s headline as Trail Times expands reach

The Trail Times continues to celebrate 120 years of reporting local news, looking to highlight some of Trail's landmark events.

The Trail Times continues to celebrate 120 years of reporting local news, we’ve donned white gloves and browsed through historical newspapers, looking to highlight some of the City of Trail’s landmark events.

As the Trail Times continues to pay tribute to 120 years of reporting local and world events, we move into the roaring 1920s for our fourth installment of front page news.

Canada was prospering with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Business was booming, incomes were growing and international markets were eager to buy the country’s resources.

The Trail Times was published every afternoon except Sunday, Trail council decisions dominated news and the paper took on the modern graphic look of a printing press.

The paper was flourishing with more pages of news stories and advertisements of the city’s growing businesses like the Kootenay Hotel.

Catering to the increasing number of women moving to town, the Trail Times began to publish a weekly insert for the ladies called The Woman’s Page. The stories included cooking advice, new product highlights, like the Peek, Fream & Co.’s famous biscuits as well as fashion advice from Paris designers warning, “Go Slow on Curves.”

Life seemed to be rolling along with steady production from the smelter on the hill.

Then came the crash that ended it all.

On October 29, 1929, a day forever known in history as Black Tuesday, Canada joined the United States and Europe in the greatest financial crises of the 20th century. The stock market crashed and dragged the county into the Great Depression, an economic downfall that gripped the world for 10 long years.

That day, while the Trail Times headline screamed ‘Coast, Toronto Markets Crash,’ in local news it appears to have been business as usual in the Silver City.

Top stories from around the world, include the sinking of a Wisconsin steamer that left those who were rescued maddened and near death from the horror and exposure of hours on a wind whipped sea.

Another headline, “Five Russians To Die, Murder” is a report from Moscow telling the story of five Russians, one of them a priest, who were sentenced to death for alleged complicity in the murder of a government grain collector. Incidentally, it was during the latter part of 1929 that Russia re-entered the wheat market after years of recuperating from the Russian Revolution, taking a large portion of Canada’s 40% world market share. With more supply available, wheat prices plummeted and the prairie markets sank.

Besides international stories, the front page highlighted city goings-on that are eerily similar to today’s news.

“Engineer to work airport,” reports Trail council’s desire to have work done at the Columbia Garden’s site and references Mayor Clark’s comment that the federal government demanded certain improvements before the civic airport could be part of a proposed southern interior air mail route.

Council was the day previous, leading to water application approvals, road improvement referrals, sanctioning for a Legion tag day, sidewalk reconstruction on Oak Street and the prohibition of gas pumps on an East Trail private property.

Two resolutions of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM, an annual convention that still takes place every fall) were addressed – one passed, one was turned back to the UBCM.

On Black Tuesday, life in Trail doesn’t appear to have been impacted by the market events unfolding in the country’s larger trade centers because the majority of local news also focuses on upcoming Halloween celebrations in the city.

Plans included a grand parade to Butler Park with scouts turning out in uniform to assist the committee in charge with handing out a “surprise” to each kiddie.

City council agreed to block Trail streets around the high school during the children’s procession through town and over to the park, in the interest of safety.

In other Halloween news, Mr. Holt C. Caldicott appealed to the Rotary Club of Trail for continued observance of the ancient tradition noted to be a Christian adaptation of an old pagan festival.

The organization was later entertained by the mouth organ and ukulele of Fennel and Desmond LeFlufy.

Another local front page standout was the announcement of the fall bowling schedule, which included names Trail pioneers may recognize – Bernava, Merlo, Lauriente, Martinelli, and Morrish.

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