1880

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

The Court of Quarter Sessions was abolished in 1879, and the administration of rural affairs was taken over by a County Council which first convened in January 1880. James L. Griffin, of Preston Road* was the first elected representative for District 30, and John G. Bissett was elected in District 31.

The first telephones in Dartmouth were installed between 1879-1880 at the Ropeworks and at Mott’s Factory. The wires were attached to telegraph poles from Halifax through Bedford and Waverley. From there to Dartmouth it is thought that new polon were erected, and some tree trunks were used. By May of 1880; four new subscribers had been listed, viz., Oland’s Brewery, Symonds’ Foundry, Marine Slip and Starr Manufactory,

The first Board of Health in Dartmouth was established in January 1880 when the Government empowered the Town Council to act in that capacity. The necessity for such an organization arose from an epidemic of typhoid among the poor. Already the disease had caused five deaths in colored families at the “Barracks” where menacing sanitary conditions existed. For instance, slop water used to be thrown out upon the level area shown in the photo on page 271, as it was no doubt thrown upon other areas which drained into public and private wells throughout the town.

The spread of the fever now occasioned considerable alarm, and emphasized the need of an improved water supply. During the previous summer, the Water Committee of the Town Council had expensive surveys made of a route from Lake Lamont, and had obtained estimates as to costs of pipe and hydrants. This information was submitted to a special meeting of ratepayers in February along with a resolution that the construction of a water and sewerage system be commenced.

It will be remembered that the Water Act of 1876 authorized an expenditure of $33,000 for such a system. Bonds had since been sold to the value of $8,000, and $6,300 of this amount was already disbursed. But a water system would involve the borrowing of much more money than the sum previously authorized. At the ratepayers meeting therefore, the majority of those present expressed their unwillingness to assume any further financial burden at that time, and voted for a postponement of the project.

Canada’s Governor-General, who was the Marquis of Lorne, made an unofficial visit to Dartmouth on February 3rd. In company with Lieutenant-Governor Archibald, His Excellency went through the Starr Works where he was presented with pairs of skates for Princess Louise and for himself. The party next visited

*At that time Squire Griffin was still conducting the Inn at the northwest angle of Governor Street and 7 Highway. The old house was destroyed by fire in 1956, the Ropewalk where they witnessed the making of a coil of manilla. Finally they drove down to Oland’s Brewery, inspected the premises, tasted the beer, and returned to Halifax.

That winter was a lucky one for local icemen. Our lakes yielded a steady supply of exceptional quality, whereas the ice crop in the New England States was a failure. The firms of Glendenning, Chittick Carter, Hutchinson, Lawlor and Waddell stacked their ice-houses to the rafters with the heavy crystal cubes; and even filled vacant buildings near the harbor shore. Glendennings had an additional ice-house at Maynard’s Lake, and another one just south of Campbell’s yard on the waterfront, (page 52).

During the summer and autumn it was a common sight to see schooners and square-riggers being loaded with ice on both sides of Campbell’s wharf and at Lawlor’s wharf next north. Cargoes were usually destined for large American ports. As the season progressed, the price advanced from $4 to $7 a ton in New York. The Dartmouth crop was about 20,000 tons.

W. P. Chisholm resigned from the teaching staff that term and was succeeded by L. D. Robinson of Aylesford. The $50 a year lease held by the Town on St. Peter’s 40-year old school house was given up, and Miss O’Toole’s pupils absorbed into the larger schools. No provision was made for Miss O’Toole.

At school closing in July the leaders in order of merit in Mr. McKay’s class were Gilbert Dolliver, Annie Hume, Alfred Seccombe, Alexander Morrison, Martha Chisholm, Gilbert Troop.

Leaders in Mr. Chisholm’s department were Katie Power, William Gentles, Joseph Weeks, Jessie Shute. In Miss Findlay’s room were Bertie Payzant, Walter Forbes, and Nellie Hurley.

The bathing beach at Sandy Cove opened in July, and attracted hundreds every fine day. A steam launch ran from the Market Wharf in Halifax conveying patrons for 15 cents return fare, plus the use of a bathing house. Ladies and children only were admitted on the premises during the morning hours. For the remainder of the day, it was open to the public.

The Reform Club Hall, known to later generations as the Royal Theatre, and the largest auditorium in town for some years, was built in 1880 on the location of Harry Webber’s present house at 75 King Street. Edward Gorman was the contractor. On the eastern side of Windmill Road northward from Henry Street, John T. Walker erected three large houses for Councillor John Oland, Conrad Oland and their brother-in-law, John Jago.

Properties up for sale that year included the Esdaile house (page 19); Hoyne’s Hotel, then being operated by Mr. Morell; the Octagon House, built by Gavin Holliday of the Starr Factory; John Forbes’ “Lakeside” (now Beechmount Apartments), which had a 300 gallon rain-water tank in the attic; and the Porto Bello Hotel with acres of land and outbuildings which went for $2,013.

The eleven-month mystery surrounding the fate of Hugh Greene, who disappeared the previous autumn, was solved in September 1880. Two boys wandering along an abandoned road near Grand Lake found the skeletal remains of his body in a sitting position against a tree trunk, as if the old gentleman had fallen asleep. Identification was proved by a watch and chain found in his clothing.