Berlin Celebration of Cityhood, 1912
Berlin Celebration of Cityhood, 1912. Authorized by the City of Berlin but with no author of note. This 233 page book is beautifully produced in full colour (for the day) as a trophy of Berlin's graduation to the stature of City. While it was already the principal town of Waterloo County there was no inkling, at this point, that within 4 years, as a consequence of the outbreak of war with Germany, it would change its name to Kitchener, which is how we know it today.
It quickly becomes clear from the book that the inhabitants are proud both of their heritage and of the success which Berlin is having in commercial, industrial and cultural growth. To quote from the book's own introduction: "In the pages of this Book we give you Berlin - Old and New - we trace her history from the time when her first hardy pioneers in 1799 crossed the border into the then unknown forests which to them proved to be indeed the Promised Land, and outline the events which for over one hundred years have led up to her position of preeminence as a City as we know it in 1912."
Urged by various social & religious pressures - largely arising from the American Civil War - many members of the Mennonite settlers in Pennsylvania undertook to "break new ground" in the new and largely undeveloped lands of Canada. Of these, a significant contingent selected to establish their new settlement in the planned, but completely undeveloped, township of Waterloo, the first "inland" township to be designated in this most western peninsular of Canada's (then) claimed ground. This choice proved indeed to be wise and the area was soon found to be highly responsive to agriculture, so encouraging the quick and happy development of the community. The book provides all the details of this time including identifying, by name, many of those individuals key to the development of the county and later to the town of Berlin, where the other inherited traits for manufacturing and mechanics soon emerged to compliment the continuing agricultural success. In addition to giving a year by year sampling of the county records and a gallery of the Reeves and Mayors of Berlin between 1854 and 1870 the book provides a picture collage of the City Council and a tribute to the mayor in this special year.
Then follow some brief histories of the establishment and development of Berlin's Public Water & Electricity utilities, the Assessments department and the Street Railway. These are augmented later by a report on the development of the Sewage facilities. This historical theme continues with articles on Furniture manufacturing, and a more general article on the many advantages of living in such a progressive community, concluding with the twenty-sixth Annual Report of the Board of Trade. Berlin considers its private housing to be one of its strengths and so it is appropriate that the next section of the book be dedicated to providing a picture gallery of many of the more desirable residences giving, in addition to the street view, the owner's name and its location.
The section terminates in a "fold-out" panoramic photograph of the city of which, unfortunately, only the "inboard" part of the picture is present due to damage in this copy. This, and the partial Title page, bear the only evidence remaining in this digital reproduction of the damage this book has sustained over the years. This loss is hardly noticeable amongst all the remaining benefits still present but if we should be able to obtain a complete copy of these pages, of suitable quality, we will place it on our web site for free download.
The next section occupies perhaps 25% of the book and consists of an unusual combination of a pictorial Who's Who of approximately 100 notable men living in Berlin together with a textural "...review of Canadian Commercial and Political and Social Conditions ..." Following this is a review of German origin names which might be encountered in Waterloo county, together with an examination of how these names may have changed and developed due to the influence of day to day contact with other ethnicities.
Finally there comes a section which contains a miscellany of articles commencing with a gallery of Victoria Park, Berlin's show piece of public open air recreation facilities, messages of good-will from the newspapers of neighbouring communities, the golf club, and a "round up" of Berlin's churches, their ministers and the city's public schools.
This book is a mine of information, both public and personal, about Berlin, now Kitchener, as it assumes the stature of City and comes "of age." Virtually every aspect of public and private life is mentioned with an emphasis being placed on the recollection of the names of those who have left their mark on the area's development. The book, in itself is quite remarkable, for being printed and presented to a high standard, including the use of multiple colours and even including some full coloured advertising plates. Most unusual for the books of this era. In order to reflect these high production standards we have taken extra care making this digital reproduction and have attempted to recapture the look and feel of the original, without the inevitable evidence of many years of enjoyment and education which its readers have enjoyed.
ABOUT THE BOOK AND THIS DIGITAL EDITION:
For some reason the publishers and printers of this book decided against numbering the pages, as well as failing to include any Index or List of Contents, which might have called for such page numbering. It is partly for this reason that the description above gives rather more detailed information than is usual. With the making of this digital edition we have been able to remedy both of these shortcomings without in any way defacing the image of the book as it stands.
We have provided a full set of "bookmarks," which effectively provide a Table of Contents, and allows quick access to specific areas of the book, we have also added electronic page numbers - which are simply a serialization of all the printed pages in the book (the blank pages being omitted.) And finally our enhanced computer search-ability substitutes better for any index that a traditional publisher / printer could provide.
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