From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin:
Ex-Councilor John F. Stairs of “Northbrook” became Warden of Dartmouth in May of 1883. In July he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as one of the Conservative representatives for Halifax County. Never before nor since has a Dartmouth resident performed such a dual function.
After twenty years of earnest effort on the part of George G. Dustan, construction of the Woodside Refinery was commenced that year. The cornerstone was laid on July 3rd by Mrs. Dustan at the northeast corner of the building. Granite from the Northwest Arm was used in the foundation with the addition of large flagstones from the Beaver Bank quarries of Duncan Waddell. Contractor S. M. Brookfield had about 170 men on the job.
On the main highway, Refinery officials were planning the erection of rows of “Company houses” similar to the project at the Ropeworks. A few hundred yards to the north, a large reservoir was being built, but the main water supply was drawn through pipes from Maynard’s Lake. There was also considerable activity evident in the present North Woodside section where more lots bordering the forested roadside were being staked-off for dwellings.
Dartmouth Councilors met with the Minister of Railways in June when both parties signed an agreement regarding the Town’s $4,000 annual subsidy in return for railway extension into Dartmouth. Engineers surveyed an overland line from Bedford, but eventually decided on a railway bridge route across the Narrows.
In August a four-page weekly called the “Dartmouth Times” with headquarters in George Craig’s building, was commenced by James A. Halliday. This newspaper lasted nearly two years, and has recorded in its columns valuable local history of that period.
For instance the early issues tell us that by 1883 there were two telephone cables from Halifax, and that on June 1st of that year a “Central” office was set up in the livery stable office and residence of William H. Isnor on the present location of the Nova Scotia Light & Power Company at Commercial Street. At that time the following places in Dartmouth had telephones installed:
Oland’s Brewery, Ropeworks, John F. Stairs’ residence near Ropeworks, Symonds’ Foundry, Starr Mfg. Co., Mott’s Factory, Mount Hope Asylum and the Sugar Refinery. All these were in direct communication with the Bell Telephone system at Halifax.