During 1919, shipload after shipload of defence forces were brought back to the port of Halifax to be discharged. The work of repatriation went on for months.
In Dartmouth, a local Housing Commission was set up for the purpose of aiding returned men in the financing of new homes. Stocks of building material, hitherto limited in quantity, were now made available for all kinds of construction work.
Several new contracting firms established themselves in town, bringing artisans and craftsmen to assist in the rehabilitation of the devastated northend and other sections of Dartmouth. The population was increasing and rents were rising.
New houses were started along the Park lots of Windmill Road, and also farther north.
The Ropeworks built six dwellings on Jamieson Street. A whole block went up on Park Avenue east of King Street, and on Victoria Road in the former Barss fields.
Hawthorne Street, Prince Albert Road, Sinclair Street and Erskine Street also saw considerable development. The Cleveland apartments were built on Myrtle Street.
Damaged Methodist Church was pulled down, and the cornerstone laid of the present edifice.
The crushed-in blacksmith shop on Portland Street where the well-known John D. Murphy had shod thousands of horses over the years, even up to Explosion Day, was finally removed.
On the site, James J. O’Toole erected the fireproof White Lantern building. Diagonally opposite, Samuel Thomson put up the two-storey structure now occupied by Jacobson Brothers.
Gerald Foot moved his garage to a small shack near the location of his present showrooms. L. M. Bell and Carl Dares opened a vulcanizing shop on lower Victoria Road. (From such small beginnings, came in later years, the Bell Bus system.)
In March 1919 the Dartmouth Curling Club was organized, and later the Dartmouth Citizens’ Band was formed. A baseball league schedule was carried out that summer, and bleachers erected at the Chebucto Grounds. Later the whole field was fenced.
All this time only two school buildings were in use, but by September the new Park School was ready. Victoria School was again made habitable and two extra classrooms added. All senior grade students were transferred from Greenvale to Park School.
That summer, Dartmouth got its first motor fire-engine, and discarded the “Lady Dufferin”. Two permanent firemen were engaged to be on day and evening duty at the Engine House, where they stood ready to respond to silent alarms with the Motor Chemical Engine.
This put an end to the 97-year old practice of ringing the fire-bell, and summoning the entire volunteer department for every type of blaze. Now it was to be rung only for general alarms.
After a five-year lapse, the Natal Day celebration was revived with a full program, interrupted by an evening rain.
About the same time, beginnings were made towards the establishment of a Memorial Hospital. At a monster Fair held on the Common Field in September, $4,500 was realized. An open air rink was operated that winter on the swampy area of Starr property at the foot of Pine Street. This was conducted by young men of the town.