Ladies and gentlemen: The second year of my official duties as mayor of this town having closed, it affords me the opportunity to place before you the following report of the several services that have engaged the attention and exertions of your council. The most important of which are the ferry, between the Town and the city of Halifax; the railway subvention; the water supply and sewerage; electric lighting; cemetery and post office; together with the ordinary services incidental to the health, good order and management of the town in general; some of which they have been enabled to carry to completion, while others, particularly the introduction of a water supply, and construction of systematic sewerage have, after much laborious investigation, been adjourned, pending the result of a further and exhaustive examination that has been carried out by the assistance of a committee you considerably appointed in September last. unquestionably …

Annual Report 1890 Read More…

An article of note for the information it provides in regards to the Dartmouth Ferry Commission’s first external ferry purchase, the Annex. It’s full of interesting observations. “In this generation it is safe to give one advice to go to Halifax. Such was not the case in the days of our great grandfathers. To send a man to Halifax in those times was the same as banishing him to perdition in good orthodox fashion today.” “There is a line of steamers from Brooklyn direct to Halifax… Persons can also go to Halifax all the way by rail if they so prefer. This is, of course, a somewhat long and tedious ride. The most popular way, however, is via Boston… The express train, called the Flying Blue Nose, connects with the boat (in Yarmouth) and goes direct to Halifax in about ten hours time… Another very popular route to Halifax is …

“Go to Halifax” Read More…

“East side of Bedford Basin: The winding shore above the narrows has many picturesque points and coves to recommend it to the lover of natural scenery. It has also historical associations, but not, perhaps, of such prominence as that of the western side. High hills, clad with pine and spruce, rise conspicuously above the sparkling waters, affording wide views of the city and harbor of Halifax. Tuft’s Cove, which was named after Gerisham Tufts, who belonged to a family extensively known in the United States, was the first to obtain a grant of the land surrounding this cove. The impression prevailed that he belonged to New England and came to Halifax early in the settlement of the town. The land above the Tufts property was granted to Ezekiel Gilman. He was one of the two army majors, retired, that accompanied the first settlers to Halifax. Leonard Lochman, after whom Lockman …

Footprints Around and About Bedford Basin Read More…

“A number of highways led out of Halifax. The oldest was the Blue Bell Road which ran past a tavern of that name on what is now Windsor Street. This and the Lady Hammond Road · were reported to be in such a “very bad state” in January, 1824, that Sir James Kempt decided to build a new highway between them. The Kempt Road, as it was called, was henceforth the principal way to the country. Campbell Road, proposed as early as 1831 and laid out in 1836 when Sir Colin Campbell was Lieutenant-Governor, served only the northeast part of the peninsula. The quickest way out of town was by the Dartmouth ferry, sail and row boats before 1816, then teamboats worked by horses, and from 1830 on, steamship. Although the many improvements in transportation in these years enabled Haligonians to know the province better, most of them seem to …

Halifax During and After the War of 1812 Read More…

“…About the year 1797, John Skerry began running a public ferry, and continued so employed until after the advent of the steam-boat company. He was familiarly known as “Skipper” Skerry, and a few of the oldest inhabitants still remember the man and speak of him in words of praise. The Dartmouth terminus of his ferry was directly at the foot of Ochterloney Street, and the Halifax landing was at the Market Slip. He occupied the building, which stood, on the south-east corner of Ochterloney and Water (Alderney Drive) Streets, and there kept a small bar. The second lot from the north-west corner of Quarrel (Queen) and Water (Alderney Drive) Streets, likewise belonged to him, together with the water-lot immediately in the rear. His ferrymen, previous to leaving the landing, cried “Over! Over!”, and then blew a conch as a signal of departure. The boats were large. They were either sailed …

Ferryman John Skerry Read More…

Remember that time Dartmouthians got so fed up with the substandard ferry service, they charted their own course, and organized a committee to start their own ferry service? A service that became so popular that the Haligonian run service was eventually abandoned in favor of the people’s service? This group even organized a ferry boat buying expedition to New York, in order to purchase a boat “formerly on the Pennsylvania Annex running from Brooklyn to Jersey City”. From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: “The struggle between the citizens and the Steamboat Company lasted about three months. In April 1890, legislation was obtained to organize the Dartmouth Ferry Commission. This body took over the liabilities of the Citizens’ Ferry Committee. Delegates were next sent to the United States to negotiate for the purchase of a secondhand ferryboat named the “Annex”. Meantime the small steamer “Arcadia” kept running in …

The Annex Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In the winter of 1906 Ropework employees marched in a body to attend the funeral of Hon. William J. Stairs at Halifax. Mr. Stairs was the founder of their establishment, and the man whose spirit of enterprise and purpose was largely responsible for developing the northend of Dartmouth. Prior to the coming of Ropework families after 1868, there were vast areas of woods and pasture in that section of town paying only a few dollars taxes. Mr. Stairs also lived on our side of the harbor for several summers. At a cost of £600 in 1854 he bought “Fernwood Cottage” at South Woodside from John P. Mott who had been his schoolmate at Horton Academy. It is said that H. Y. Mott had Henry Watt build “Fernwood” for his son before the latter’s wedding in 1848. Besides his Ropeworks investments, Mr. …

1906 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: On May 1st, 1890, our seven-member family moved from “Asylum Road’’ to the roomy Quaker-built house at Sterns’ corner. The front door was on Portland Street. The premises had just been vacated by Frank Mowatt, grocer. Downstairs in the shop my father sold candy, tobacco, hop beer and table beer on draught. We served oysters on the half-shell which cost about a dollar a barrel and yielded a handsome profit. On the western side of Water Street then ran a row of small buildings so that the house and one-chair tonsorial parlor of D. J. Symonds on the northwest corner was directly opposite our shop. Steamboat Hill was no wider than the rest of Portland Street. Next north of Symonds was Mrs. Morrissey’s window-array of three plates of taffy (not fly-screened), while behind the counter were displayed a few 4-cent figs …

1890 Read More…