A Community is Built

By the end of 1913, the Mond Nickel Company had helped to ensure that the Village of Coniston was well on its way to becoming a successful town. The company built a separate school and a public school to replace the log schoolhouse that had burned down. It also built a fire hall, a customs office, and a municipal building and jail. The Mond Nickel Company even encouraged retailers to come to the area and set up businesses. Among the earliest businessmen to arrive in Coniston were D'Arcy Olivier, the Norquay brothers, Dan Chmara, and Mr. T. Pelletier (who established the first grocery store). Churches were also established in Coniston throughout 1913 to 1917 for the Anglican, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic faiths.

In the 1920's, a nickel boom prompted more and more workers to move to Coniston to find employment at the smelter. With this influx of settlers, the Mond Nickel Company was forced to expand the size of the Village of Coniston and new subdivisions were built. These subdivisions were quickly occupied by various ethnic groups who purchased land lots in clusters close to their fellow countrymen. Among the sub-communities established were Italian Town (which encompassed the area around Caruso and Allan Streets) and Polock Town (which was located in the Edward and William Street area).

By 1933, over 343 men were working at the Coniston smelter but with the shortage of company housing, only 116 men had a place to call their own. As a result, boarding houses were built to accommodate the remaining workers. Due to the large number of men in need of beds and the shortage thereof, the boarding house utilized a system known as "hot bedding" in which workers whose shifts had finished would sleep in the recently vacated beds of those whose shifts were just beginning.


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