October 25th, 2020

6A Avenue residents ‘up in arms’ in 1920


By Submitted Article on July 8, 2020.

Andrew Chernevych

GALT MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES

Although Jane’s Walk was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer season is still an opportunity to think about our city’s residential neighbourhoods, explore them and appreciate their role in our lives.

Many of these communities have deep roots, with identities and history of collective action going back over 100 years. A Lethbridge Herald article from March 24, 1920 dealing with the 6A Avenue South community offers a vivid reminder of this legacy.

Nowadays, 6A Avenue South is known as one of the most beautiful and desirable of the city’s old neighbourhoods. Tucked away by 13 Street South, it is quiet, serene and full of character with an array of well-tended Edwardian mansions. However, it was not always this way. In fact, a century ago this micro neighbourhood was neglected by the city authorities to the point that it provoked the local residents to take action.

The article reports that the residents were “up in arms against the city council,” claiming in a written statement that they were being discriminated against and their needs neglected. “The citizens of Six Avenue A S. are getting very indignant at the way they have been treated by the city fathersÉ Most of the houses on the street are owned by occupants and have nice lawns, but the street’s sidewalks and boulevards would not be a credit to a small mining town,” says the statement.

The locals also expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of drainage and the fact that no grass or trees had been planted on the street. If the city authorities didn’t remedy the conditions, the residents threatened to make the improvements by themselves. The later history shows that the “squeaky wheel” tactics worked just fine for the residents of 6A Avenue and helped forge community ties that would last a century.

If you’re interested in researching the history of your neighbourhood or your house, the Galt Museum & Archives has house inventories and city directories going back to 1909.

Your old photos, documents, and artifacts might have historical value. Please contact Galt Museum & Archives for advice before destroying them.

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