1902

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

In February 1902 the last of the old-style “Town meetings” was held. The question discussed that night was the purchase of Daniel Donovan’s pasture-land which drained into Lake Lamont. On a show of hands, the proposal was rejected by a vote of 42 to 27. Within the next few weeks, legislation was obtained providing that in future all such matters must be decided by a plebiscite.

In 1902 a frightful epidemic of smallpox struck at Dartmouth. The dreadful disease raged from February until the end of June. It began in Halifax. Twenty-three cases broke out in various parts of the Town, and one death resulted. Watchmen in sentry-boxes maintained a 24-hour vigil outside each yellow-flagged house. Dr. Joseph Doyle of Halifax, whose services were engaged, devoted full time to the task. He had his own quarters, and kept himself isolated from people even to the extent of walking in the middle of the street as he made daily and nightly rounds to his patients. The cost to the Town of this outbreak totalled about $200 every week.

In April, night-watchman William Webber was drowned at Stairs’ wharf. Arthur Trider then joined the force as Policeman No. 3.

The Boer War ended in June. At Halifax the occasion was celebrated by a torchlight procession. At Dartmouth there were a few bonfires on hilltops, and lighted candles illuminating house-windows.

About this time the proposal to build a bridge across the harbor was being promoted by the Dartmouth Board of Trade. During the previous months they also had been agitating for the construction of the Musquodoboit Railway, or the Eastern Railway.

What gave impetus to the bridge project was the circumstance that the Halifax and Southwestern Railway was then undergoing construction, and the idea was to provide a continuous line of communication along the south shore of the Province from Yarmouth to Guysboro, crossing Halifax Harbor by a bridge. Besides rail traffic, there was to be a lane for vehicles. The Halifax Board of Trade strongly endorsed the plan.

The Dartmouth Board were informed that the cost of an iron bridge with stone abutements would be about $300,000.

Natal Day was revived in 1902, and planned for Thursday, August 7th, but rain forced a postponement until September 9th.

King Edward VII was crowned that summer. There were only a few elderly people still surviving who had lived through the last coronation of a British Sovereign. One of them was Mrs. Thomas Mott, southeast corner of Ochterloney and Dundas Streets, who related to a “Dartmouth Patriot” reporter how Dartmouth looked when Queen Victoria was crowned in 1838:

At that time Dartmouth was but a small village surrounded by a forest. What is now Austenville was mostly forest owned by James Austen, Crown Land Surveyor. There never was any good reason for the name “Slabtown”. It originated from the first houses having been covered with slabs instead of clapboards.

Footpaths ran here and there among the tall trees, and Toddy Brook wound its way down through the woods from Mount Thom. Children considered it a wonderful trip through the forest of Mount Thom. Picnics were also held in the thick woods near the brook where John White now lives.

In that year, some $2,000 was spent renovating the Town Hall which gave us the present Council Chamber and an enlarged Town Clerk’s Office. A workshop was built in the rear of the Fire Engine House. At Dartmouth Park, a bandstand was erected. E. J. Butcher purchased from George Sterns the drugstore on Ochterloney Street which the latter had previously acquired from Parker Mott. At the suggestion of Albert Hutchinson, ice-dealer, the name Prince Albert Road was now being applied to that part of Canal Street from the lower bridge to the Town limits. The street name was changed at this time to commemorate the coronation of the late Prince Albert’s son, who was now King Edward VII.