From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin:
On Wednesday, March 11, 1807, Christian Bartlin and Alexander McDonald were drowned by the oversetting of their boat as they were returning home from Halifax. (This man may have been a son of Christian Bartlin who died here in 1792).
In that same year 1807, ferryman John Skerry purchased from Dr. Clifford the premises at Ochterloney and Commercial Streets, and also the wharf on the shore below. This was formerly Maroon wharf or King’s wharf, and no doubt used by Skerry when he took over the ferry service in 1797. He may also have leased the corner building from that date.
As it was in that same year that construction of no. 7 highway got started, Skerry’s wharf would be the most convenient place to land tools and supplies for the use of the road workers.
Skerry’s Inn on the corner developed from the building of this new road which offered an alternative route to Halifax for (he produce of farmers who preferred it to the longer boat trip from the lower ferry.
Until the Steamboat Company established the Portland Street dock, Skerry’s spacious stable-yard and the surrounding area was the focal point or market square of downtown Dartmouth. Property advertised for sale would be described as being such and such a distance from Skerry’s. Annual appropriations for highways were marked, for example: “To repair the road from Skerry’s to Lake Loon”.