Turning Back the Pages: Parson was a busy entrepreneur in the Valley

By Colleen Palumbo

This is part two of a two part series about the life and times of H.G. Parson in Golden.

Among his many other accomplishments he was a member of the Legislative Assembly, the Golden Board of Trade, and the Golden Hospital board.

On the opposite side of the main store was what today could be classed as the hardware department. Right here you could purchase paints and oils, harnesses, and horse riggin’. It was also on this side of the building, with a separate entrance, of course, that the customs office was located. Off this side of the building was a shed that they used for cold storage. Here you would find bacon, ham, eggs, and butter, all being kept cold on ice taken from the Columbia River. Next to the ice house was a warehouse that was used to house a select stock of furniture.

Giving considerable thought to the business that he was undertaking, Parson had a train track laid to the back of his warehouse so that goods could be unloaded directly from the train car. This helped to reduce the amount of handling, and therefore also helped to keep the prices down. A train track used to run across the traffic bridge so that lumber could be moved from the mill to the mainline.

The cellar was the full size of the store and was filled with all kinds of alcohol and canned goods. This department was placed in the capable hands of Mr. A.J. Hopkins. Parson was the chief agent for several of the more well-known liquor companies including Highland Cream Scotch Whiskey, the Distillers Company Limited (which was the largest distiller in the world at that time), E.L. Drewry’ s Fine Ales, Lagers and Aerated Waters, and for the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company.

In 1911, Parson took on the Columbia Wine and Spirits Company which turned out to be so popular that he had to build a cold storage plant next to the train tracks so that loads of liquor could be brought in.

At the immediate back of the main building were several other small warehouses that stocked feed and flour, blacksmith tools, coal oil, ore sacks, iron, and steel. This supply insured that prospectors and miners as well as farmers would be able to find the hardware necessary to their livelihood.

An addition was immediately made to one of the smaller warehouses so that Parson would be able to be the official agent for the Chatham Wagon Manufacturing Co. He also stocked sleighs in the winter season.

Delivery was a big part of the business that was done from the store, and so Parson had a weigh scale capable of weighing up to 12,000 lbs. put in place at the front of the store.

Not that he didn’t already have enough to do, Parson also was agent for the Brantford Bicycle Co., Phoenix Assurance Co., Confederation Life Association, Canadian Railway Accident Insurance Co., and the Reliance Loan and Savings Co. He was also agent for Mason and Risch and Newcombe pianos and for several makes of sewing machines.

Among the other things that Parson took on in his life, he was for a time, the postmaster in Golden and took a great interest in the development of the Hog Ranch in Parson. He died in early February, 1936.

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