From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin:
Whether the 19th century terminated at the beginning, or at the end of the year 1900, was a topic which occasioned lengthy newspaper discussions about that time. Readers who will be alive at the end of the present century should look up the articles.
In reviewing important events during the first decade of the 20th century, we note that in 1900 Victoria Road between Quarrell and Ochterloney Streets was widened sufficiently to allow wagons to pass each other. A start was made cutting away the cliff of slate rock just north of Ochterloney, so that vehicles would be able to proceed straight up Victoria Road. Thistle Street was also extended from Pine Street to Victoria Road, after trees and stumps had been uprooted on a 50-foot-wide strip of land donated to the Town by William L. Barss and Herbert E. Gates. This made a good short cut.
Dartmouth boys continued to enlist for the Boer War. British reverses in Africa during the last months of 1899 seemed to anger Canadians rather than dishearten. The Exhibition Grounds at Halifax was now a hive of activity with volunteer troops and horses converging from all over Canada to await sailing from this port on a succession of troopships. Red coats were discarded for khaki.
At Dartmouth the patriotic spirit developed into something tangible when over 100 local youths signed up as volunteers in two new Companies, designated as “G” and “H” of the 63rd Halifax Rifles. Under Captain Hill of Halifax, and Captain I. W. Vidito of Dartmouth, the men commenced regular drill in the old wooden rink. Their names are in the “Atlantic Weekly”.
That winter Harry Tobin of “Brookhouse” was in the news. He was mentioned in military dispatches as being the first man in a British regiment to climb the heights, at the costly capture of Spion Kop on January 24th, 1900. Later his picture was published.
On March 1st we got a half-holiday from school when news came that the long siege of Ladysmith had been lifted. That night huge bon-fires blazed on the Common Field and on the slopes of Woodside. At Greenvale School on Arbor Day, pupils dedicated trees to Sir George White, the defender of Ladysmith, and to Lord Roberts recently appointed Field-Marshall in South Africa.
That summer Miss Anne Crichton of “The Brae” wrote a series of reminiscent articles concerning Dartmouth. The following one may be of interest to some of our readers:
One of the most distinguished residents of Dartmouth in the sixties was Commodore Josiah Tattnall, United States Navy, who with his charming wife and daughters, lived at “The Grove” then belonging to Colonel Sinclair. Captain John Tattnall, and also a son who died while they were here, together with the Neuphvilles, their relatives, formed quite an addition to Halifax and Dartmouth society of that day.
The old Commodore, then in his 83rd year, enjoyed the beauty and seclusion of the lovely spot. His name will go down to posterity as the noble American who, saying, “Blood is thicker than water”, went to the assistance of a British fleet in Chinese waters in June 1859 on the River Peiho.
Our brave sailors had suffered severely, no fewer than 29 officers being killed or wounded, and of the 1,350 engaged on sea and land, 450 were killed or wounded. Commodore Tattnall, though a neutral, ordered his boat to the flagship of the British Admiral, Sir James Hope. The Americans reached the ship just before she went down ….
We almost missed a Natal Day celebration in 1900, largely because the Chebucto Club was gradually fading out of existence. It was only through the efforts of Councillor Henry Romans that a few of the faithful got busy and arranged an afternoon and evening program. The day was fine, but the regatta a part failure.
That year St. George’s Tennis Club vacated their grounds and on May 24th opened their new club-house at the present location. F. C. Bauld was the builder. The same Contractor remodelled “Evergreen” recently purchased by Lewis F. Hill. Harrison Brothers did the papering and painting. At the southeast corner of Pleasant and Albert Streets, Misener and Merson erected a large house for Edwin Pauley. He named it “Paulyn Hall”.
At the northeast corner of Boland and Wyse Hoads, Synott’s 15-acre field was offered for sale. Part of the land was swampy and yielded only a few dollars rental as a cow-pasture. Miss Bertha Elliot opened a tuberculosis sanatorium at Brightwood. The first pay-telephone was installed at Alexander Lloy’s grocery, southwest corner Dundas and Portland. Pauline Johnson, the famous Mi’kmaq poet-reciter, performed at St. Peter’s Hall. The Starr Company won gold medals for their display of skates at the Paris Exposition and London Exhibition. Dartmouth’s bonded debt was now $366,800.
The first Canadian Contingent, back from the seat of war in South Africa, arrived at Halifax in November. They were given a tumultuous reception as they marched through the decorated business streets of the City where the chief intersections were canopied with arches of evergreen boughs. Our local boys got a proportionate welcome a few evenings later in Dartmouth.