1828

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin:

At the beginning of 1828, readers of the “Nova Scotian” learned that the paper had a new editor. He was Joseph Howe, a talented young man, then about 25 years of age.

The first Dartmouth activity to record, occurred in the predawn of January 4th, when local firemen and the team-boat crew were aroused to help fight a big fire on Duke St., in Halifax. Our new hand-engine rendered valuable assistance.

The first Commissioners “for repairing and keeping the streets of Dartmouth” were appointed by the Legislature in the session of 1828. They were Samuel Albro, Hugh Hartshorne and E. H. Lowe. Their jurisdiction extended a distance of one mile north, east and south of the Steam Boat wharf.

In the road grants that year, the sum of £15 was voted for the road from Dartmouth to Sackville; and £250 “to repair the road and bridges from Creighton’s Ferry to Cow Bay”. Another £150 was earmarked “for altering the road from Dartmouth to Fletcher’s, so as to avoid the hills between Reeves’ Mill (Porto Bello) and Lake William; and also to avoid the hill at the south end of Dartmouth Lake”.

This last item reveals to us that the level part of the present Prince Albert Road bordering the lakeside was cut that year, and the hillside road abandoned.

The first sight-seeing bus of Dartmouth went into service that summer. Edward Warren of the Mill Bank Hotel, advertised that the “Fly Caravan would leave the Team-Boat wharf for the Canal works at Port Wallace at 8.30 and every two hours thereafter during the day”.

The route of the Canal from Sullivan’s Pond to the harbor, seems to have been changed about this time. As already stated, the Maitland Street terminus was abandoned and plans were made to cut the Canal down through the present property of the Starr Manufacturing Works.

The first mention of the “circular dam”, at the present Crichton Avenue Park, is noted in the report of Engineer Hall in August

1828. He refers to it as the “Dartmouth dam head”. He expected that this dam, or Waste Weir, and also the upper entrance to Lock no. 6 (i.e., the Channel at the foot of Lake Banook) “would be raised sufficiently to preserve Dartmouth Lake in a navigable state through the ensuing season”.

In October the newspapers reported that “the new road on the line of the Canal is nearly completed and already affords great convenience for travelers. It is perfectly level and shortens the distance between Fletcher’s Bridge and Halifax via the Team Boat by nearly eight miles”.

One editor must have heard contrary opinions, for he adds a footnote that “in some places the road is so narrow as scarcely to admit two gigs to pass each other”.

Since writing about the swampy Hamilton fields between Maitland and Canal Streets, we have come across another theory concerning the waterways of Dartmouth published in a Halifax paper, “The Free Press”, of 1828.

The writer of that date pointed out that the low lying lands from the lakes to the harbor, present the appearance of a gorge, through the elevated banks of which, a noble river may have flowed ages ago. Along the route of the Canal, the “quantity of rolled stone suggests that they have been brought there by the powerful agency of running water”.

Some of these stones are still noticed in Lake MicMac, and many others are known to have been removed by Canal workmen, especially at the Tittle.

After this voluminous stream had passed through the valley at the present Hawthorne Street crossing, it may have spread out into two branches, one swerving through the lowland east of Prince Albert Road, and the other continuing down through the hollow at the foot of Crichton Avenue.