A History of John Houston

“A trail blazer, a man of vision, a virile journalist, not always scrupulously correct in conduct or suavely spoken, but physically and mentally strong in times and places where strength was mastery.” – C.H. Gibbons – Editor – Vancouver Province

BC in Houston’s Lifetime

From Colony To Province In 1850, although it was claimed as British territory, most of the land west of the Rockies and north of the 49th parallel, then known as New Caledonia, was home to First Nations people and a small colony of Hudson Bay Company employees and their families located in Victoria, the main […]

John Houston: The Man and His Legacy

An Enigma Wrapped in a Newspaper Although a man who was famous throughout western Canada and the north-western United States, served four times as the mayor of BC’s third largest city, was elected twice to that province’s legislature, and established seven newspapers, much of John Houston’s personal life remains a mystery. The puzzle of his […]

The Businessman

The Business School of Hard Knocks Success in business is usually attributed to a combination of luck, vision, and hard work. What success John Houston achieved in his business career – and it was no more than moderate – could just as easily be ascribed to sharp practice, larceny, and possibly even electoral fraud. In […]

The Politician

Setting The Stage Whether intentionally or not, John Houston began running for mayor the minute he stepped foot in Nelson – or at least he began to demonstrate the kind of civic leadership that would make him an ideal candidate when the opportunity finally arrived seven years later. From the pulpit of his newspaper, The […]

John “Truth” Houston: The Newspaper Man

Apprenticeship John Houston left home at the age of fourteen to live with relatives in Chicago and apprentice in a print shop. It is probable that, except for the few years at the height of his political career, printers ink was somewhere on his clothes, under his nails or staining his fingers, for the rest […]


The A History of John Houston website and virtual exhibition was a heritage project of The Nelson History Theatre Society made possible by a grant from The Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, the arts and heritage arm of The Columbia Basin Trust. Funding assistance, both financial and in-kind, was also provided by Touchstones Nelson Museum of […]