Gun (Mont Blanc Cannon) at Dartmouth, N.S

This is a cannon from the stern of the Mont-Blanc, a munitions ship which exploded after colliding with another vessel, the Imo, in Halifax Harbor on December 6th 1917, an event otherwise known as the Halifax Explosion. It is now located not far from where it landed originally, at the corner of Albro Lake Road and Pinecrest Drive in Dartmouth.

“Gun at Dartmouth, N.S”, Date unknown. https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=FonAndCol&IdNumber=3517948

Halifax Explosion (in Dartmouth)

229 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=63

218 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=66

216 Windmill Road. [Mr. Forsythe’s home] https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=67

206 Windmill Road https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=80

200 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=82

199 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=81

195 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=100

190 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=101

180-182 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=105

160 Windmill Road. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=111

152 Windmill Road. [Emmanuel Church] https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=112

Williston Foundry, Grove Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=64

11 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=78

27 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=77

32 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=75

35 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=76

45 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=74

53 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=68

55 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=69

57 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=70

75 Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=71

West side of Hester Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=72

6 Jamieson Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=103

11 Jamieson Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=104

14-16 Jamieson Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=102

35 Jamieson Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=79

43 Jamieson Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=106

Corner of Wyse Road and Pelzant Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=107

Pelzant Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=108

15 Pelzant Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=110

22 John Street. https://archives.novascotia.ca/maclaughlan/archives/?ID=109

Turtle Grove Breweries, Oland. https://archives.novascotia.ca/photocollection/archives/?ID=6222


Mr. Forsythe’s home Windmill Road, Dartmouth after Halifax Explosion. [216 Windmill Road] https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=279

Mr. Forsythe’s home Windmill Road, Dartmouth after Halifax Explosion. [216 Windmill Road] https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=280

Mr. Forsythe’s home Windmill Road, Dartmouth after the Halifax Explosion. [216 Windmill Road] https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=281

Dartmouth. Ruins of Emmanuel Church after the Halifax Explosion. [152 Windmill Road] https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=282

Dartmouth. Emmanuel Church after Halifax Explosion. [152 Windmill Road] https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=284

Dartmouth. Crathone’s Mill after the Halifax Explosion. https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=283

Dartmouth Rink after Halifax Explosion. [Site of Sportsplex today] https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=285

Dartmouth Rink after Halifax Explosion. [Site of Sportsplex today] https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=287

Store in north end of Dartmouth after Halifax Explosion. https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=286

After Halifax disaster. Store in north end of Dartmouth. 6 December 1917. https://archives.novascotia.ca/creighton/archives/?ID=278

“North End grocery store occupied by Robt. Dares, corner of Windmill Road and Jamieson street, 1917”

“[Mi’kmaq] School at Tufts Cove. The Principal was killed on his way to school. he puils lost their lives in the [Mi’kmaq] settlement.”

“Wrecked Houses in Dartmouth, Opposite scene of explosion, 1918.”

“Showing the devastation and havoc wrought in north end of Dartmouth, 1917.”

“Dartmouth, a forgotten victim of the Halifax Explosion”

halifax-explosion-dartmouth-9574753441_4d36352e

“It’s always called the Halifax Explosion, but the fiery blast from a collision of the ships Imo and Mont Blanc in Halifax Harbour’s Narrows the morning of Dec. 6, 1917 wreaked destruction on Dartmouth as well.

About 40 people on the Dartmouth side of the harbour were killed outright. More died over the next two weeks from injuries or from pneumonia that set in after a massive snowstorm that began the night of the disaster.

Former mayor Claude Morris, then a young pharmacy clerk, was lucky that day. Neither he nor his family suffered any serious injury from the blast. “There were two distinct blasts. I had no idea what it was, I was just running for home.” Running beside Morris was a blacksmith with the last name of Llyod, and Morris remembers the two wondered if the harbor had been bombed.”

Imo

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

Christmas sight of 1917 at north Dartmouth, looking down the harbour. This is the ill-starred “Imo”, flung somewhat parallel to the shore, with her starboard side canted towards Halifax. The stump of the smokestack is seen slanting up from the twisted mass admidships. Holes in the stem and stern, flooded the steamer to the water level.

Pinned on bottom under the “Imo’s” bow could be seen the remains of Walter Meredith’s 27-foot motor-cruiser. Tidal waves deluged all level lands to the left of the railway. “Imo” survivors afterwards declared that they were unaware of “Mont Blanc” cargo.

Dartmouth Rink

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

This was Dartmouth’s first rink built entirely of spruce at a cost of $3,800. Its dimensions were 190 feet by 65, with an ice oval of 175 feet by 50 feet. It was the home rink of the famous Chebucto Amateur Athletic Club, Maritime hockey champions from 1887 to 1894.

Electric lights flooded the entrance on the grand opening of September 29, 1884, when 2,000 people crowded the building for an evening musical concert. Over the original tower fluttered colored flags and streams of bunting.

The new lighthouse section was inserted in 1903. In 1907 the light was removed to is present position on Synott’s Hill.

This local leaning Tower of Pisa was all that remained of wooden Dartmouth rink after the 1917 explosion. Standing as it did on the hilltop, without any sheltering houses on the east side of Windmill Road, the old rink was directly in the path of the terrific concussion that swept down from the Narrows. In pre-movie winters, the rink was a nightly mecca.

The Halifax Explosion as covered by the Washington Post, Friday Dec 7, 1917

imga

2000 Killed, Thousands Injured, When French Munitions Vessel Explodes In Harbor of Halifax, Wrecking the City. Buildings Collapse From Shock and Flames Break Out as Mont Blanc, Struck by Belgian Relief Steamer Imo, Blows Up. Two Square Miles of City Territory Devestated; Scores Burn to Death; Fatally Injured Crown Hospitals; Crews of Both Ships Escape: By the Associated Press. Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dec. 6 – Probably 2,000 persons were killed, according to careful estimates tonight, when the French munitions ship Mont Blanc blew up in Halifax harbor after a collision with the Norwegian steamship Imo, carrying Belgian relief supplies, at 9 o’clock this morning. Thousands were injured and it is expected many of them will die. The Ioma (sic) was beached.

Had Cargo of 5,000 Tons: Virtually all the north end of the city was laid waste and the property damage will run far into the millions. A part of the town of Dartmouth, across the harbor from Halifax, also was wrecked. Nearly all the buildings in the dockyard there are in ruins. The Mont Blanc carried 5,000 tons of munitions, including 1,000 tons of trinitrotuluol, the most powerful explosive known.

Two Square Miles Devastated: The zone of destruction in Halifax itself extends from the North street railway station as far north as Africville to Bedford basin, and covers an area of about 2 square miles in the section known as Richmond. The buildings which were not demolished by the force of the terrific explosion were destroyed by the fire which followed. Scores of persons were injured by the collapse of the railway station, arena rink, military gymnasium, sugar refinery and elevator.

Soldiers and Sailors on Guard: All business has been suspended. Armed guards of soldiers and sailors are patrolling the city. Not a street car is moving and part of Halifax is in darkness tonight. All hospitals and many private houses are filled with injured. As the search for wounded and dead progressed the total mounted, and at a late hour it was said that there probably had been more than 2,000 fatalities.

Long Processions of Dead: Temporary morgues have been established in many buildings, to which a steady procession of vehicles of all kinds have been carrying for hours the bodies of men, women and children. Most of them were so charred that they were unrecognizable. Thousands of persons seeking a trace of relatives and friends have passed by the long, silent rows, attempting, by the flickering light of lamps and lanterns, to identify the ones they sought.

Rescue Work in Dark: Virtually every building in the city which could be converted into a hospital is filled with wounded, many of them so desperately injured that there is no hope of their recovery. Scores already, have died in these temporary hospitals. An ever increasing number is being taken from the completely devastated Richmond district to the relief station. An army of rescue workers is searching among the ruins for bodies. The city was in darkness tonight except for the flames from the fires still burning in the wrecked buildings in the north end. The electric light and gas plants have been virtually destroyed and the only lights available are kerosene lamps. They furnished the illumination by means of which surgeons and doctors toiled heroically throughout the night caring for the injured.

Open Temporary Morgues: Temporary hospitals and morgues have been opened in school houses the western section of the city. The damage along the water front cannot yet be estimated. Many of the men composing the crews of the ships in the harbor were killed and injured. On one steamer, the Pictou, it is reported that 33 of the crew of 42 were killed. Bodies of many seamen have been picked up in the harbor. Rescue parties working among the ruins of buildings are removing the bodies of the dead. The collision which resulted probably the worst disaster in the history of the Dominion occurred near Pier 8 in the narrows leading from the harbor to Bedford basin. The munitions ship was bound from New York for Bedford basin when the relief ship, Imo, bound for sea, crashed into her.

Flames Follow Crash: The Mont Blanc was pierced on the port side almost to the engine room. The other ship, which was only slightly damaged, backed away when flames burst out on the munitions ship, and was abandoned by the crew. The captain of the Mont Blanc also ordered his crew to the boats as he realized an explosion was inevitable. The men reached the shore safely before the tremendous blast 17 minutes later which blew their ship to pieces and wrecked a large part of the city. The business life on the city had just begun for the day when the town was shaken to its foundations by the explosion. Persons in the streets were picked up bodily and hurled to the ground. Occupants of Office buildings cowered under a shower of falling glass and plaster. Houses in the Richmond section crumpled up and collapsed burying their tenants.

Houses Blown to Bits: In the main part of the city where the buildings are chiefly of stone or concrete the damage was confined to the shattering of windows and most of the casualties in this section were caused by flying glass. In the west and northwest ends the damage was more extensive and there the walls of many houses were blown to bits. It was in Richmond, however, opposite the scene of the explosion, that the havoc was greatest. Whole blocks of dwellings, mostly of frame construction were leveled. Street after street is in ruins and the structures which were left standing by the explosion were destroyed by fires which broke out simultaneously in a score of places and which it was impossible to check until they had burned themselves out.

Believe Scores Died: It is believed scores of persons who had been injured by the collapse of their homes perished in the flames from which they were helpless to flee. The fires in this district still are smoldering tonight. Five minutes after the explosion the streets in all parts of Halifax frenzied, panic-stricken throngs striving to reach the outskirts in an effort to escape what they believed was a raid by a German fleet. Hundreds of them had been cut by the shower of glass which followed the explosion. In the Richmond section the scenes enacted defied description. Seriously injured men and women crawled from the wreckage of their homes and lay in the streets until they were removed in ambulances and automobiles to hospitals. Those less seriously hurt aided those more gravely injured. In the streets piled high with debris were found the shattered bodies of many women and children. Several children were crushed to death when they were hurled against telegraph poles by the force of the explosion.

See Loved Ones Burn: In scores of cases occupants of homes who had escaped without injury or who were only slightly hurt were baffled by the flames in their search for members of their families, and were forced to stand by impotently while what once had been their homes became funeral pyres for loved ones. A government employe named Macdonald, who made all speed to reach his home after the explosion, found that his wife and four children had perished. His 2-year-old daughter had been killed while playing in the yard of her home. Among those killed were the chief of the fire department and his deputy who were hurled to death when a fire engine exploded.

Features of Greatest Disaster in Dominion: Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dec. 6 – Main points in the greatest disaster ever suffered by the Dominion are: The number of dead may pass 2,000 persons. Twenty-five wagonloads of bodies were delivered at one morgue at the same time. The Mont Blanc, loaded with munitions, carried a deckload of benzine, which caught fire from the boiler room. “The collision was due to a confusion of signals,” said Frank Mackie, pilot of the Mont Blanc. Aid has been asked and sent from all cities throughout Nova Scotia. Generous offers of all kinds have been received from many cities in the United States. The governor of Massachusetts telegraphed that the State “would go the limit.” American Red Cross sends train from Boston and another is going from New York. Glass, tar paper, building board, putty, bedding and blankets are needed. The weather is bitterly cold and thousands of homeless persons have no bedding and few clothes. Many millions of dollars is the nearest approach to an estimate of damage done. Numerous vessels in the harbor were turned over on their sides and sunk. The shock rattled houses 30 and 40 miles away, and was heard more than 100 miles. Two miles of freight cars were lifted from the rails and scattered over fields. People believed a German bombardment was at hand, and fled to the bombproof cellars, remaining there for hours. Scores of bodies of seamen have been picked up in the harbor. There were no troops for embarkation for Europe in the harbor at the time. The area of devastation is 2 square miles.”

halifax explosion

Scores of Children Killed: Scores of those who lost their lives were children in the public schools in the north end. Many others suffered broken limbs, and were rescued with difficulty from the demolished buildings. The teachers who escaped injury worked heroically to save the lives of the children under their charge. LeBaron Coleman, manager of the Canadian Express Company, was killed when the roof of the North Station collapsed. In less than a half hour after the disaster 5,000 persons had assembled on the common and thousands of others had sought refuge in fields outside the city.

250 of Injured Die: Hundreds were reported missing by their relatives and it was not known whether they were alive or dead. The work of rescue and relief was promptly organized. The Academy of Music and many other public buildings were thrown open to house the homeless. Five hundred tents have been erected on the common and these will be occupied by the troops who have surrendered their barracks to the women and children. Every nook and cranny in all available buildings was made ready within an hour to receive the wounded. A steady stream of ambulances and automobiles arrived at hospitals which soon were filled to capacity with the injured. Doctors, nurses and volunteers toiled ceaselessly in the work of succor. Their ranks were soon swelled by others who arrived in constantly increasing number from nearby towns. It was announced before nightfall that 250 of the injured had died.

Death List to Be Increased: Those who were only slightly injured were sent to their own homes or to those of friends after their wounds had been treated. There were hundreds of cases of serious injury, however, and it is expected the death list will be greatly increased by those who succumb to their wounds. Automobiles were still scurrying about all sections of the city tonight carrying blanket-clad burdens. A committee of citizens already has been formed and assistance is asked from all outside points. The supplies most needed are glass, tar paper, beaver board, putty, bedding and blankets. The mayors of all towns in the province have been asked to rush supplies to Halifax. The force of the explosion was felt at Truro, 75 miles away, where windows were shattered. All telegraph and telephone wires were torn down and for several hours Halifax was completely isolated from the outside world.

Due to Pilots’ Confusion: The concussion shattered the big gas tanks of the city. All power plants are out of commission and newspaper offices have been so badly wrecked that publication is impossible. Pilot Frank Mackie, of the Mont Blanc, declared tonight that the collision resulted from a confusion of whistles sounded by the Imo. He believes the fire, which caused the explosion was due to the fact that the munition ship carried a deck load of benzene. Charles Prest, gasoline engineer on the steamer Wasper B, which had been in drydock, had a narrow escape from death.

Struck by Flying Shells: “We had 80 gallons of gasoline in our tanks when a shell from the munitions ship struck us,” he said. “We had just left the drydock to go to Bedford Basin to get some plates and we were opposite the Lorne Club when we saw the Ioma coming down from the basin and the Mont Blanc going up. “I heard the Belgian steamer’s whistle blowing and then I saw the munitions ship was on fire on the starboard side. We tried to turn back to warn the officials at the drydock, but before we reached there a shell struck us. I believe I was the only one of the five on board the Wasper B. to escape as she was blown up. My son, who worked with the drydock, was killed.”

Hotel Guests Are Safe: Col. Mackenzie Bell, who spent two years on the firing line in Flanders, said tonight he never had seen anything on the battle front equal to the scenes of destruction he witnessed in Halifax today. It was reported tonight that all the guests in the hotels of the city are safe. Some of them were cut by flying glass, but none are seriously hurt. Among the notable structures wrecked was St. Joseph’s Church and the school building adjoining. The immense cotton factory in that district was also demolished.

Fears of a Famine: The search among the ruins for bodies continued tonight under a great handicap, as a large part of the city was in darkness save for torches and lanterns. Fear of food shortage is entertained by some, though encouragement is found in the world that trainloads of provisions are already on the way here from several points. The immediate feeling of homeless ones amid the confusion remains, however, a serious problem. Everything possible is being done to systematize the distribution of food, as well as of clothing and bedding.

halifax explosion

“That part of Halifax destroyed the explosion is shown in (the) map. The greater part of the city lies further south, and in that section, numerous fires were responsible for heavy damage to property, although the loss of life was chiefly confined to the area shown in the shaded portion of the map.”

3 Blasts Shook City; People Feared Air Raid: Halifax, N.S. Dec. 6 – The horrors of an air raid possessed the minds of many when the explosion on the Mont Blanc shook this fortress city. There were three distinct shocks. First a comparatively light rumble like a seismic disturbance startled the city. A moment later a terrific blast made even the citadel quake. Then a crash of glass throughout a wide area completed the confusion. Thousands of persons rushing into the open saw a thick cloud of gray smoke hanging over the north end of the city. This strengthened their conviction of an attack from the air. It was feared that other explosions would follow. Great crowds assembled in open lots and remained there for hours until they believed all danger was passed.”

Two relief Trains Rush from Boston to Halifax: Boston, Dec. 6 – Lieut. Col. William A. Brooks, M.D., acting chief surgeon of the Massachusetts State Guard, left Boston at 10 o’clock tonight with a unit of surgeons and nurses for the relief of citizens of Halifax. An America Red Cross train also was rushed to the scene. Officials of the Boston and Maine Railroad, the Maine Central and the Canadian railroads have made arrangements to put the special trains through on record time. The trip will probably take 20 hours. Executive Manager Henry B. Endicott of the Massachusetts public safety committee started the wheels turning as soon as the committee that met this afternoon at the Statehouse, after Gov. McCall’s offer of help had been accepted by Halifax. The first special train consisted of two baggage cars, two sleepers and a buffet car. Dr. Brooks had a dozen surgeons and as many nurses. The War Department used its wireless to inform the mayor of Halifax that the relief train was on the way.”

Red Cross Rushes Relief to Halifax; Supply Train Hurried From Boston: Following a telephone conversation between Director General Jesse H. Jones of the Red Cross, in this city and the Hon. J.D. Pugsley at St. Johns (sic) supplies were ordered rushed to the stricken city of Halifax last night. The order Removing these supplies from the New York Red Cross warehouses to Halifax reached officials there last night, and bedding, clothing and food will be in the devastated district by tomorrow. Ten thousand blankets, besides bedding, sweaters, flour, bacon, coffee, soup, shoes, surgical dressings and condensed milk are among the items included in the relief supplies.

Learns Wires Are Down: Director General Jones got in touch with Mr. Pugsley shortly after 7 o’clock yesterday evening. He had, meantime, ascertained the situation as extremely grave. He informed the director general that Canada would be deeply grateful for any help the Red Cross saw fit to give. Arrangements were made then to rush a supply train from New York via the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railway. The tracks on the long 24-hour run will be cleared for this “Red Cross special”. Foster Rockwell and John S. Ellsworth will have charge of the relief work.

Will Be in Halifax Today: The former will be in Halifax sometime today. The latter had gone to that place to organize a canteen, and is helping the municipal officials to relieve suffering and restore order. In addition to the train from New York, the Red Cross sent out of Boston last night a train equipped with emergency dressings, surgical and hospital supplies and a corps of trained social workers. Director General Jones said last night that the Red Cross was ready to do anything it could to help the situation on Halifax. Supplies already sent will be supplemented by such other material as the workers on the scene find they need. Arrangements were completed last night to have any further emergency supplies shipped from Boston and New York.”

Telegrapher Breaks Story He Was Sending to World To Attend Injured Wife: New York, Dec. 6 – At 10 o’clock tonight there was a sudden break in the story of the Halifax disaster coming into the offices of the Associated Press over the wire of the Canadian Press, the only one in operation. Efforts to raise Halifax here were ineffectual. An hour lateer it was learned that the operator who had been sending from the stricken city had left his key when a messenger brought him news that his wife had been dangerously injured. The regular Canadian Press operator at Halifax had been missing since the explosion. A second outlet for news of the disaster was established after several hours.”

Fearing Menace Of Spies Censors Take Over Wires: Boston, Dec. 6 – In the midst of the chaos of misery reigning among the ruins of Halifax, the spy menace is fully reckoned with by the Canadian government. The government censorship has taken complete charge of the dissemination of news regarding the disaster. The Canadian Pacific telegraph offices are in complete control of the government. All civilians have been ordered out of it.”

Fifteen Cars of Supplies Are Rushed by Maine: Augusta, Me., Dec. 6 – Gov. Milliken today sent the following telegram to the lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia and mayor of Halifax: “I extend to you the deepest sympathy of the people of Maine in the terrible disaster that has stricken Halifax. Any help Maine can give is yours.” The offered help was accepted and fifteen carloads of supplies, including additional telegraph material, groceries and dry goods left Portland tonight by special train for Halifax.”

Blast Kills Passengers and Motorman on Trolley: Halifax, Dec. 6 – An electric tram car passing the vicinity at the time was blown off the track, and the motorman, conductor and all the passengers were killed. A train of 300 returned wounded soldiers had just been sent west from the military hospital at Pier 2 which was badly wrecked. Hundreds of men, women and children were wounded on others trains and street cars.”

Prof. Bell Hears Blast 200 Miles Off in Quebec; Wires News to Capital: The following telegram was received yesterday from Prof. Alexander Graham Bell by Gilbert H. Grosevnor, editor of the Geographic Magazine. Mr. Bell being in Quebec, Canada, at the time of the explosion: “The terrible explosion at Halifax this morning was heard at a distance of nearly 200 miles. Help is being rushed to the stricken city from all over Nova Scotia.”

Aid by U.S. Bluejackets; Canadian Cruiser’s Losses: Halifax, Dec. 6 – Two members of the crew of the Canadian cruiser Niobe were killed by the explosion and several were injured. Bluejackets from an American warship are assisting in patrolling the streets tonight. An American hospital ship also is in port. It was formerly on the Boston-New York route. A hundred men were sent ashore to assist, together with the ship’s doctors and assistants.”

Pilot of Relief Vessel Vanishes; Signaled Wrong, Asserts the Other Pilot: Halifax, Dec. 6 – There is a great mystery surrounding the strange action of the Belgian relief ship, which is blamed for the disaster. She was in charge of Pilot William Hayes. Pilot Frank Mackay tells a story which is in accordance with what was seen by those on shore. He said the other vessels gave wrong whistle signals. Pilot Hayes is missing; up to late tonight he had not been reported either at the pilot headquarters nor had he been heard from at his home. Hayes was considered one of the most experienced pilots of the port. A searching investigation is being proceeded with. The steamship Imo, which collided with the Mont Blanc in Halifax harbor, was a Norwegian vessel of 3,161 tons, last reported to have arrived at an Atlantic port in the United States October 9. The Mont Blanc arrived at a United States Atlantic port on November 9. No details are available of her movements since that date. The vessel was owned by the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique at Middlesboro in 1899, and her gross tonnage was 5,121. She was 320 feet long.

Nieuw Amsterdam Safe, Company Officials Believe: Special to The Washington Post. New York, Dec. 6 – When news of the disaster in Halifax harbor reached this city this afternoon fear was felt for vessels which were believed to be in the harbor. The greatest alarm was expressed for the Nieuw Amsterdam, of the Holland-American line, which left an Atlantic port several days ago with 300 passengers and a cargo of corn for the Belgians. At the local office of the company, 24 State Street, it was learned that word had been received from Capt. J. Barron, of the Nieuw Amsterdam, that he had reached Halifax and was awaiting the official inspection of the British government authorities. He was directed to inform the company when he would leave, but no word has been received from him since. The company officials were basing their hopes that he had left that port on the fact that no persons are permitted to leave the ship after inspection.”

German Diplomats Safe; Vessels Had Left Harbor: New York, Dec. 6 – Reports that the two Scandanavian liners carrying many German and Austrian diplomats returning home from Central and South America and China had been caught in the explosion, proved untrue. They are the Bergensfjord and Nellig Olav. Both left Halifax a few days ago, after the Teuton diplomats and their baggage had undergone a thorough examination at the hands of the British officials.”

5,000 Tons of Munitions Explode; Few Shells Fly: Special to The Washington Post. Halifax, Dec. 6 – Probably a fifth of the city is in ruins. The Mont Blanc carried 5,000 tons of munitions, it is estimated. Differeing from similar explosions in the past, few explosive shells were thrown over the city, but the whole cargo seemed to let go with one terrific blast that rocked the earth and the sea.”

The Washington Post [Washington, D.C.] Friday, December 7, 1917, p 2. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65414751/maps-showing-where-in-halifax-harbor-the/

An Act relating to the town of Dartmouth, 1916 c58

(Passed the 17th day of May, A. D. 1916).

Section.
Preamble.
1. Property vested in Company.
2. Assessment limited.
3. Section 9, Chapter 52, Acts 1915, amended.
4. Board authorized to spend $300.00 for medical aid.
5. Hawker’s license.
6. License to sell from vessel.
7. Conflicting legislation repealed
8. Chapter 56, Acts 1902, amended.
9. Section 14, Chapter 56, Acts 1902, Amended.
10. Section 5 of said Chapter 56 amended.
11. Section 2, Chapter 58, Acts 1911, amended.

Preamble.
Whereas, Compagnie Francaise des Cables Telegraphiques of the City of Paris, in France, has purchased lands at Turtle Grove, lying between Windmill Road on the east and the Harbor of Halifax on the west, property of Charles Williston on the south and property of Halifax Breweries, Limited, on the north, and being about 493 feet on Windmill Road, including the 40 foot right of way hereinafter referred to, and about 522 feet on the Harbor front, including said forty foot right of way;

And Whereas, Compagnie Francaise des Cables Telegraphiques has agreed to convey to the Town of Dartmouth a strip of land, fifty feet in width, running along the southern side of said property, for the purpose of a street and for a public dock, in exchange for the absolute ownership of the forty foot right of way running through the above mentioned property from Windmill Road to and under the waters of Halifax Harbor, and in exchange for a limitation of the assessment on the said property to an amount not exceeding twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for the period of ten years, such assessment to exclude, however, any buildings which shall be occupied by any tenant of said company and any lands which may be hereafter acquired by said company;

Be it enacted by the Governor, Council, and Assembly, as follows :—

Property vested in company.
1. The absolute ownership in fee in that strip of land, forty feet wide, extending from Windmill Road to and under the waters of Halifax Harbor, running through the property above described and which was reserved by the late Samuel Albro as an intended street, is absolutely vested in Compagnie Francaise des Cables Telegraphiques, free and discharged from any right of way over or upon the same whatsoever, and a strip of land, fifty feet wide, extending from Windmill Road to and under the waters of Halifax Harbor, and lying along the southern boundary of the above described lands, is hereby vested in the Town of Dartmouth for the purpose of a street and public dock.

Assessment Limited.
2. The entire property belonging to Compagnie Francaise des Cables Telegraphiques lying between the northern boundary of the new street of fifty feet in width and extending to the southern boundary of the property of Halifax Breweries, Limited, and extending from the windmill Road to and under the waters of Halifax Harbor, and all buildings, erections and improvements which shall be placed thereon, exclusive of buildings occupied by any tenant or official of the Company, shall not be assessed by the Town of Dartmouth for a period of ten years at a greater amount than the sum of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), but this shall not apply to any lands which may hereafter be purchased by said Company.

Section 9, Chapter 52, Acts 1915, amended.
3. Section 9 of Chapter 52, Acts of 1915, is hereby amended by adding at the end of the second line of said section the words ‘‘and having a right of dower therein.”

Board authorized to spend $300.00 for medical aid
4. The Board of School Commissioners for the Town of Dartmouth is hereby empowered to expend $300.00 annually the sum of three hundred dollars for the purpose of procuring medical attendance and inspection of the public schools. The amount so authorized to be expended shall be assessed for, collected and paid in the manner prescribed by Chapter 52, Revised Statutes, 1900, ‘Of Public Instruction.”

Hawker’s license
5. (1) No person shall carry on business within the Town of Dartmouth as a hawker, peddler, petty chapman or other petty tradesman, or by going about from place to place on foot, or with any animal bearing or drawing any goods for sale, without having first taken out a license therefor.

(2) Nothing in this section shall apply to:—

(a) Any person bringing into the Town, milk, vegetables, fruit or other products of his own farm or garden, or forest, for sale, or selling or offering to sell the same within the Town;

(b) Any fisherman bringing into the Town, fish, caught by himself, for sale, or selling or offering to sell the same, or

(c) Any person assessed in respect to personal property in a sum not less than one thousand dollars, if the fee for the license required by law exceeds ten dollars; and in a sum not less than six hundred dollars if the fee for the license required by law does not exceed ten dollars.

(3) In any prosecution instituted under this section the burden of proving an exemption under the clause marked (a) shall be on the person accused.

License to sell from vessel.
6. (1) No person shall sell, or offer to sell, from any vessel, any farm produce or other cargo, or part of a cargo, without having first taken out a license authorizing such sale.

(2) The fee payable for any such license shall be fifteen dollars for every vessel not exceeding twenty-five tons measurement, and a further sum of five dollars for every additional twenty-five tons, or a fraction thereof.

(3) Every such license shall expire on the disposal of the cargo in respect to which it was issued.

(4) Every person who sells any such cargo without having first taken out a license authorizing the same, shall, for every such offence, be liable to a penalty not exceeding one hundred dollars.

(5) . Nothing in this section shall apply to the consignee of any cargo of such farm produce, provided such consignee is a ratepayer in the Town assessed in respect to real property used for the purpose of his business, of the value of not less than one thousand dollars, or is the bona fide yearly tenant of real property so used, assessed for not less than that amount.

Conflicting legislation repealed
7. Any legislation heretofore enacted which conflicts with sections 4 and 5 of this Chapter is hereby repealed.

Chapter 56, Acts 1902, amended.
8. Chapter 56, Acts of 1902, is amended by adding after Section 118, the following sub-section:

(a) The Board shall have power annually to appoint a deputy chairman.

Section 14, Chapter 56, Acts 1902, amended.
9. Section 14 of Chapter 56, Acts of 1902, is amended by striking out the word ‘‘two”’ at the end of the fourth line and substituting the word ‘‘four,”’ and striking out all the words after the word “‘rated”’ in the fifth line.

Section 5 of said chapter 56 amended.
10. Section 5 of said Chapter 56 is amended by adding thereto the following sub-section:

(e) Ratepayers who are assessed on real estate shall not be liable for a poll tax.

Section 2, Chapter 58, Acts 1911, amended.
11. Section 2 of Chapter 58 of the Acts of 1911 is amended by striking out the words “two-thirds” from the second line thereof and inserting the words “one-half”.

“An Act relating to the town of Dartmouth”, 1916 c58

1920

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

In 1920 we had the coldest winter for years. There were 21 days of good sleighing, and 11 days of sub-zero weather in January with the mercury down to 17 below near the month-end. In February the harbor froze over for the first time since 1898. The ferries kept a lane open, and the tug “Ragus” bucked her way daily from the Sugar Refinery to the Imperial Oil wharf at Halifax. On a Sunday afternoon, a number of us skated from Mill Cove to McNab’s Island, without experiencing any difficulty except in hopping over the ice-pans in the channel of the “Ragus” off Woodside.

Robert Lynch, who had been eight years in the Town Council, opposed Dr. Simpson in the Mayoralty election and got 525 votes to the Doctor’s 617. A motor-driven ladder truck was purchased and the first Town Engineer appointed in the person of H. E. R. Barnes. The Dartmouth Housing Commission was organized with J. J. O’Toole as Chairman. Other members were James A. Redmond, Albion B. Smith, George Mitchell and Ralph W. Elliot.

The Dartmouth Amateur Athletic Association was organized in March with a membership of nearly 400, and secured a 21-year lease of the Chebucto Grounds. Leo Graham was the first President. About that time an 8-page newspaper called “The Independent” was started by Arthur Johnston, son of A. C. Johnston. The Halifax Institute of Engineers now reported that an overhead bridge across the harbor was impracticable, and suggested a low-level drawbridge to accommodate rail and other traffic. The cost was $2,000,000. “The Independent” thought this decision a fortunate one, stating that if people had to wait for a $10,000,000 overhead bridge, “they would be still waiting when the new millennium dawned”. The Ferry Commission in February passed a resolution recording, “its hearty appreciation of the efforts of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Committee, with the hope that their efforts would be crowned with success”.

Ex-Councillor John Ritchie died that spring, as also did James W. Tufts a member of the Dartmouth Park Commission continuously since 1891. Another prominent citizen to pass away was ex-Mayor Edward F. Williams. He had served as Chief Magistrate for a total of eight years, having previously sat six terms as a Councillor.

We got our first piece of permanent road on this side of the harbor in 1920 when Cavicchi and Pagano paved the stretch from the town limits to Horton’s Brook at Imperoyal. It was one of the first sections of permanent-surfacing completed by the Highway Department in the whole Province, and was commenced a few months before the local election. Considerable credit for this undertaking should go to Hon. Robert Finn, a former Dartmouthian, who was always alert to the interests of his constituents in eastern Halifax County

The work of rehabilitating explosion-damaged houses was just about finished up that summer. The stone Downey house on Coleman Street, built by Joseph Moore in early Canal days, was so badly shaken that it had to be demolished. More new residences went up in the north-end, also in Austenville, in Hawthorne-Sinclair Street sections, on Elliot Street, on upper Portland Street, in the Charles Harvey subdivision at Prince Arthur’s Park and on Rodney Road.

Falconer’s field was subdivided by Engineer J. Lorne Allan, and streets there were named for ex-Mayor Williams and Dr. M. S. Dickson. Sewerage and water pipes were extended to new houses on Elmwood Avenue, which had just been cut through the former Torrens field. At Manor Hill, where Andrew Shiels once wrote poetry the Eastmount subdivision of S. A. Heisler was selling lots as low a $100. Streets were named for military leaders in World War I.

The yearly report of the Housing Commission showed that 21 dwellings in Dartmouth were erected with their loans, on as many vacant lots. The Canadian Bank of Commerce opened a branch at the northeast corner of Portland and King Streets. Laurie Bell was now operating a small garage on the location of the present Police Station. The new Grace Methodist Church was completed and dedicated on Sunday, November 14th. South of the Church on King Street, Dartmouth’s second fire-engine house was torn down. This was an ordinary-sized shed in which were stored the watering cart and the antique fire-engine, pumped by hand. A valuable tourist attraction was lost when this relic was later sold for junk.

The school enrolment that year was 1,628. Grover C. Beazley joined the teaching staff to assist Principal Stapleton and Miss Findlay at Park High School where a class in Grade 10 was established in 1920. The Manual Training branch was abolished, and the work room converted into a shooting gallery for the cadet corps.

Ferry receipts fell and expenditures increased during 1920, for the second year in succession the Commission suffered a deficit. That year they went behind nearly $18,000.

The first electric street lights of Dartmouth were strung diagonally so that the light was suspended in the middle of intersections. In a wind-storm, the saucer-shaped disc rocked, swayed and almost turned turtle.

Central School served the Town for half a century until rendered uninhabitable by the 1917 Explosion, although the roof still remained tight. After that, the BBCA converted two upstairs rooms into a gymnasium for basketball and used it up to the time that the old landmark was demolished about the year 1922.

Henry Y. Mott, grandson of his namesake, who had left here in the 1870s for St. John’s, Nfld., occasionally contributed reminiscent letters to the Dartmouth newspaper. About this time another one appeared giving a list of members of the “Cabbage Club” which flourished in his youth, and included names like Charles and Harry Harvey, Edwin George and W. H. Sterns, Dr. Fred Van Buskirk, Charles Young, John Brown, Albert Wisdom, Fred Hardenbrook, W. C. Mott, W. H. Stevens, Alpin Bowes, Fred Bowes and others.

One of their popular events was the sleigh drive out to Griffin’s Inn on Preston Road, whither they were conveyed in teams supplied by W. H. Isnor, W. H. Greene or John Myers. “I saw Henry Isnor two or three years ago”, wrote Mr. Mott, “and found the patriarchial John Myers, white whiskered and bearing the marks of time, but in spirit as vivacious as a colt and possessing the old time fondness for his horses”.

The writer then commented on the changes in and about Dartmouth, noting that there was little left of many familiar scenes of his boyhood except the memory. “What Dartmouth boy of 50 years ago”, concluded Mr. Mott, “does not remember Mrs. Roberts’ taffy shop near the bridge (NW corner Victoria Road and Portland) and with what joy the treasured cent was expended. Then there was Mrs. Morrissey whose spruce beer, cakes and other juvenile attractions were sold in a little shop opposite the present palatial store of L. Sterns and Son. Could the old blacksmith forge of my friend John D. Murphy speak, what tales of deviltry and mischief would be revealed, of tricks played upon the citizens of Preston on market days, and indeed upon many other unfortunates who came under the spell of those who had not quenched the fiery vengeance of youth”.

1918

dartmouth 1917

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

During the winter of 1917-1918 block after block of residential and commercial Dartmouth presented the appearance of a battered war-town, with most windows in nearly every house and shop boarded up and blanketed with tar-paper covering.

One dwelling at 50 Pleasant St., near Burton’s Hill, remained that way for years afterward. Heaps of broken glass and debris shoveled and swept into downtown gutters, froze solidly and stayed there until spring.

Not until late summer was all the drifted explosion-rubble cleaned out of corner-catchpits. Hundreds of townsfolk and visitors that year hiked out to Albro’s Lake to take snap-shots of the twisted “Mont Blanc” cannon and the ploughed-up turf on Pine Hill.

In mid-January school-children got back to their studies but were again placed on part-time sessions, because Central and Park school buildings were no longer habitable and never used afterwards for classes.

The ruins of the wooden rink were removed, and preparations made to construct the present Park School on the site. North of this point, the Town advertised for sale 19 building lots of slate rock land banked with berry-bushes. On Synott’s Hill was erected a steel-supported lighthouse 140 feet high.

Postmaster W. H. Sterns died that winter, and was succeeded by Clifford R. Mosher, a local young man who had lost a leg in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Dartmouth Relief Commission, in charge of A. C. Johnston, was established in the old Reading Room.

There was also set up a Claims’ Court to deal with applications for Explosion damages, under E. M. Walker and R. H. Murray. The Parker house at “Beechwood” was converted into a convalescent hospital.

The Telephone Company removed to the new building on Wentworth Street, from former cramped quarters in the present Cunard Coal office. Halifax Shipyards acquired the whole plant of the Chebucto Marine Railway at the Slip.

The first supervised playgrounds were started that summer on the Common field.

In October, a deadly epidemic of influenza broke out and carried off many prominent townsfolk. Schools, theaters, restaurants, pool-rooms and the like, were closed for a period.

In other public places such as ferry waiting-rooms and large stores, the number of people allowed to congregate was limited to ten.

Over in Europe, the Central Powers were successively collapsing, and in our neighborhood the ban on darkened windows and street lights was now lifted. When the armistice was signed on a Monday morning in November, Dartmouth got the news about 4.30 a.m., by means of four signal-guns fired from Citadel Hill.

Hundreds forsook their usual occupations and flocked over to the City where they joined the jubilant crowds surging along Barrington Street, or milling around bulletin boards of the three daily newspapers.

At Dartmouth, the Town Council immediately convened and made plans to commemorate the historical event. In the afternoon, services of thanksgiving were held in the various churches, and at night an impromptu procession was organized.

It was one of the longest ever held, consisting of bugle bands, Firemen, Axe and Ladder men, Boy Scouts, Church Lads’ Brigade and other organizations followed by hundreds of citizens on foot, in carriages or in gaily decorated automobiles. John Z. Lahey (“Red Jack”), mounted on a white horse, was Marshall. The town was ablaze with bonfires long into the night.

Tuesday was a Dominion-wide holiday. Thanksgiving services were again held in the churches in accordance with a proclamation of the Governor-General. At noon a mass meeting of all denominations gathered in front of the new Post Office where prayers were offered by Monsignor Charles Underwood of Saint Peter’s Church, and by Rev. W. B. Bezanson of King Street Baptist Church. Dr. A. H. MacKay delivered the oration.

On December 9th, Dartmouth was honored by an official visit from His Excellency the Duke of Devonshire, then Governor-General of Canada. From the beflagged ferryboat the procession party proceeded under a high archway at the corner of Portland and Water Streets, then through another arch of ladders erected by the firemen at Wentworth and Queen Streets. All along the route were lines of waving school children. At Greenvale School an official welcome was tendered and a civic address read by Town Clerk Alfred Elliot.

Dartmouth’s death-list for 1918 was unusually high as a result of explosion injuries and the prevalence of influenza. The epidemic took notable Dartmouthian Thomas Mott, brother of John P. Mott, at the age of 89. 

It has been estimated that about 500 Dartmouthians including a score of nursing Sisters, went overseas in World War I, participating in perilous activities on sea, on land and in the air. Of these, nearly 100 made the supreme sacrifice. Others returned home gassed, maimed or crippled for life.

Children of present and future generations should be taught continually to observe Remembrance Day with the proper spirit and appreciation, and ever to bear in mind that the freedom they now enjoy was purchased at an appalling sacrifice of human lives.

Page 1 of 2
1 2