Nash Collection: A Glimpse into Early Terrace by Kelsey Wiebe

A large collection of 1,500 negatives showcase everyday Terrace—Park Avenue, May pole celebrations, fires, and dogs on street corners from the 1920s to 1960s—in the Nash Collection, which was recently donated to Heritage Park.

Over fifty people came out to witness the donation of the collection during a short ceremony on Sunday, July 9th. The collection consists mainly of images photographed and developed by Fred Nash, although there is also the odd image photographed by Nash’s son-in-law, Brock Norbirg. The negatives were donated by Linda Frank and Rhonda Norbirg, Nash’s granddaughters.

Fred Nash was a land surveyor and amateur photographer in Terrace between the 1920s and 1960s. He was born in Britain in 1880 and emigrated to Canada as a child. He eventually became a BC Land Surveyor, which brought him to Haida Gwaii in the 1910s. There, he met and married Josephine Edenshaw, a Haida woman, in 1913. Together, they raised two children, Fred Jr. and Jessie, in Masset and then Terrace. Nash ran a surveying business from his home, a converted military dental office on Park Avenue in Terrace. He surveyed from Haida Gwaii to Francois Lake to Dease Lake, working with all manual equipment, such as compasses, chains, and transits. Throughout his travels, he carried his camera, developing his own hand-cut negatives in a shed behind his home. He passed away at home in Terrace in 1967.

The 1,500 large-format negatives photographed by Nash (and Norbirg) give us important insight into Terrace from the 1920s to 1960s. The collection depicts the Nash family, the community of Terrace, northwest communities Nash visited as part of his surveying work, and many community events across the northwest. The collection showcases Terrace during the Second World War, logging and mining camps, northwest rivers and lakes, parades, baseball games, and major floods. It is a fascinating glimpse into Terrace and the surrounding region from the twenties through the sixties.

Nash’s granddaughters Linda Frank and Rhonda Norbirg during the Nash Collection Ceremony. 9 July 2017.

 

The donation of this collection is very significant to Heritage Park as we work toward a downtown museum and archives. ‘The fact that the images were shot on large-format film is worth repeating,’ Terrace and District Museum Society President Grant Piffer said at the ceremony. ‘That, in combination with the quality of Mr. Nash’s camera, as well as his artistic eye, means that the Nash Collection is not just a one-of-a-kind record of our city: it is also a body of work of exceptional clarity and photographic merit.’

The collection allows for an improved understanding of our community, and will be invaluable to future researchers. If you have photos in your attics or basements of Terrace or the surrounding region, please consider donating them to Heritage Park. We are interested in images from the early days until the present. We are especially interested in images from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. We have the capacity to scan negatives and slides. If you are loath to give the originals away but would like to share your images with the community, we can always digitise the photos and return them to you.

Heritage Park is grateful to the Nash family for the extremely generous donation of the negative collection. The collection is open to the public, though it is not currently available online. In order to browse through the images, contact Heritage Park.

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