Black diamond city
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Audio recording of Jan Peterson's October 2002 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about her upcoming book "Black Diamond City." Peterson, an author and historian, introduces her soon to be published book about Nanaimo’s early history, which will mostly focus on the period from 1852, when Joseph McKay was sent by James Douglas to Nanaimo to take possession of the coal fields on behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Company; to 1886, when the first passenger train on the E&N Railway came to the city. Peterson intends that “Black Diamond City” will be the first book in a trilogy about the history of Nanaimo. She begins her presentation by reading several excerpts from the journal of Joseph McKay, which reflects the day-to-day struggles of establishing the settlement at Nanaimo. As well as McKay, Peterson also briefly profiles several other individuals who had a role in Nanaimo’s early history, including: Sir James Douglas, Robert Dunsmuir, Adam Grant Horne, Dr. Alfred Benson, and city clerk Samuel Gough. Peterson covers multiple topics in Nanaimo’s formative years, such as: politics, the city’s incorporation, hotels, bylaw issues, George Norris and the Nanaimo Free Press, and developments in transportation, cultural life, and law and order in the city.