Category Archives: Edwardian

Cherry comes to Fernie for Chautauqua

Edwardian Fernie is going to the Chautauqua! What is a Chautauqua? Edwardian Fernie wanted to find out, but not on google. Edwardian Fernie leaves it to the reader to do that themselves. Rather Edwardian Fernie went back to August of 1918 in order to see what was going on at a Chautauqua then. In looking for the Chautauqua of Fernie’s past Edwardian Fernie came across Adabelle Cherry Marshall a young female musician with the Chicago Ladies Symphony Orchestra who performed in Fernie on Monday August 19th, 1918.

“Cherry” as she preferred to be called, travelled with the Chicago Ladies Symphony Orchestra on the Ellison-White Chautauqua circuit during the summer of 1918. She wrote letters home to her parents who lived in Woodbine, Iowa. The original texts of these letters are available at

Cherry’s letters show that she was having the time of her life – and who wouldn’t – because Cherry was perhaps just twenty or so and she was away from home and travelling around the United States and Canada. Her letters provide a wonderful insight into the hectic life of a performer on the Chautauqua circuit. Almost every day of the circuit season was taken up with either travel or performing or both. Cherry noted that all the Chautauqua performers liked the Canadian part of the circuit best because in Canada there were no performances on Sundays and so performers generally got a day of rest. Evidently the observance of the Sabbath was taken more seriously in Canada than it was in the United States at that time for there were no breaks in the performance schedule south of the border.

Appended to Cherry’s letters is the schedule for the summer of 1918. It appears that Cherry had to perform almost every day from June 6, until September 6, 1918 with the only breaks being the five Sundays during the time the Chicago Ladies Symphony Orchestra was in Canada.

The Ellison-White Chautauqua’s were five days in length in each town, and the performers usually arrived sometime before the afternoon of their performance. They then often gave a short afternoon performance followed by a longer evening performance. After performing they were often invited to festivities in the communities in which they performed.

Cherry reports more than once that some attractive young man had asked her to dance – until it was time to leave for the station, or go to bed to get some necessary sleep before the departure the next morning. It all ran on a schedule that was incredibly tight and well orchestrated, when one considers that all the travel was either by train or vehicle on not terribly good roads.

Edwardian Fernie urges you to read Cherry’s letters if you want to learn more about her Chautauqua experiences: you will be impressed by the endurance and great spirit of this young woman, who so far as Edwardian Fernie can tell worked for something less than $33 dollars (about $567.00 in 2017) per week less expenses for hotels and meals. At one point Cherry sends savings home to her parents of $21 (approximately $362 in 2017) in the Canadian mail – though she fears because of a railway postal workers strike that the money may languish somewhere on the Prairies. Edwardian Fernie wonders who today would send any cash by post with or without strike!

Edwardian Fernie wishes everyone a wonderful time at Chautauqua 2017!

Bear Aware in 1909

Fernie is located in bear habitat and so being bear aware is not just a good choice it is a mandatory precaution for the safety of bears and humans. It was thus with great interest that Edwardian Fernie came across the following two articles in The District Ledger of June 26, 1909. Being Bear Aware… Continue Reading

The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

On digging through copies of the Fernie Free Press I stumbled upon the following fascinating report of June 3rd, 1899: “Bicycle riding on sidewalks is a dangerous pastime at best, but especially so in Fernie, and if it is not stopped soon someone is liable to get seriously hurt.” Any pedestrian, cyclist or motorist in… Continue Reading

The Metropolitan Opera comes to Fernie

Recently Edwardian Fernie joined the Fernie Friends of Opera for an evening screening of Manon Lescaut at the Arts Station. Opera aficionados joined together to enjoy some opera and some fellowship and a little food and perhaps some wine. The Fernie Friends of Opera come together on a regular basis to watch operas on screen,… Continue Reading

An Edwardian Prefab House in Fernie!

Edwardian Fernie’s last post introduced you to Marilyn Williams a great champion for heritage conservation and a new friend for us. Marilyn kindly sent us a little treasure that she found on one of her visits to Fernie and we want to share it with you. Walking down one of our streets Marilyn located a… Continue Reading

The Age of Coal

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the founding of Fernie is rooted directly and deeply in the urges and imperatives of the British and European people living during the late Victorian and Edwardian Era. What was so unusual about this period and why did it lead to the Fernie that we know… Continue Reading