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

In 1914 the whole world commenced to turn topsy-turvy. Our first upset occurred on January 28th, when wooden Greenvale School with its valuable museum specimens and library books was completely destroyed by fire. We got another shock in May when the “Empress of Ireland” sunk in the St. Lawrence with several prominent personages.

The crowded school situation was now greatly aggravated. In this expediency, most pupils were put on part time in Central and Park Schools. Other classes were set up in Christ Church Parish Hall and in the Merson building on Dundas Street. Plans were then made to erect new schools, and contracts were subsequently awarded to Rhodes Curry and Co., for the construction of fireproof structures at Greenvale and at Hawthorne.

Meanwhile the work of demolishing and removing buildings on the new Post Office site was rapidly progressing. The track of the Eastern railroad was well beyond Musquodoboit Harbor. Halifax and Dartmouth Boards of Trade now collaborated to urge upon the Federal Government the necessity of a harbor bridge so that freight from Dartmouth and the eastern sections of the County could go by rail directly across to Halifax. A bridge would also be the means of extending the Halifax tram lines to Dartmouth and to Cow Bay beach for summer tourist trade.

All these projects made life in Dartmouth look pretty rosy in the early summer of 1914. Boating, swimming, bathing, baseball, tennis and other outdoor activities were expanding, as more and more growing girls and boys emulated their oldsters. The lakes were alive with all sorts of craft. Shirt-waisted ladies and straw-hatted men of all ages reappeared in the usual summer garb. Seldom did we see a military or a naval uniform in Dartmouth, except when some local boy like George Myers came into port on HMCS ‘‘Canada” or the ‘Niobe” which then comprised the whole Canadian Navy on the Atlantic coast. Over the years, most of us had received training in cadet corps. Some afterwards joined various Halifax volunteer regiments for summer drill and encampment. Others attended Naval College, but probably very few contemplated a military career.

The Brightwood Golf Club under President I. W. Vidito opened a 9-hole golf course with a grand celebration in July. Unaware of any impending peril, the Banook Club Committee went ahead with plans for a Natal Day celebration (which was never held), and already had ordered the regular supply of fireworks.

Then the deluge of blood commenced in Europe.

The heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated. Germany flew to arms to assist her ally; declared war on Russia and France, and invaded Belgium. On August 4th, Britain declared war against Germany. Everybody was aroused to action.

At Dartmouth, sailors from a French trawler on the Marine slip paraded the streets with the Union Jack and Tricolor, alternately singing “God Save the King” and the “Marsellaise”. Troops from the volunteer regiments of Halifax manned the various port outposts and vulnerable points east of Dartmouth. Eastern Passage was closed to shipping. All the sources of our water supply system were heavily guarded. Scores of local boys were either already in the ranks, or on their way to Valcartier to join the First Canadian Contingent. Rumors were rife of enemy submarines.

Big transatlantic liners including the “Mauretania” and the “Cedric” raced for refuge into Halifax harbor, and anchored within shouting distance of the ferry route. Meat, flour and other produce took a sharp rise. The local Red Cross Society commenced to collect money and clothing for war purposes. The Canadian Patriotic Fund, to assist the families of men in the services, was organized. The Committee who canvassed in Dartmouth comprised Mayor Williams, Town Clerk Elliot, J. W. Allison, James Burchell, E. M. Walker, A. C. Pyke, James Tobin, Dr. F. W. Stevens, Leo Graham. The Acadia Sugar Refinery subscribed $10,000, and the Town Council voted $2,500. In Europe the German army was sweeping onward.

In the autumn Dartmouth joined with other centres in an extensive campaign for funds, food and clothing for the relief of sufferers in devastated Belgium. The local chairman was ex-Mayor A. C. Johnston, grandson of a former Premier. About 150 crates and barrels of food, clothing, boots, groceries and the like, were packed and added to the tons of similar material at Halifax where it was loaded aboard ships chartered by the Nova Scotia Government, and sent forward as a contribution of the people of this Province.

Meantime Dartmouth boys were continuing to rally to the colors, many of them enlisting with the well-known 25th Battalion then recruiting at Halifax. In Dartmouth the Home Defence Guards were organized and commenced drilling in the Dartmouth Rink under Captains H. D. Creighton, Dr. F. W. Stevens and J. Lorn Allan.

The Eastern Railway to Dean Settlement was completed that year, and on December 21st brought in its first load of passengers. They were disembarked at Woodside because the Government had not yet taken over the new road from the contractors.


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.

An act to consolidate the Acts relating to the town of Dartmouth — 1902, c56, §169: “Before any of said debentures are issued the expenditure shall be approved by a vote of the majority of the ratepayers assessed on real estate, taken under the provisions of this Act respecting extraordinary expenditure. (1899, c.61, §3.)”

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 totaled 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 is now King Edward VII.



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

On January 3rd, 1895, Mayor Sterns and the Councilors attended the state funeral at Halifax of Sir John Thompson, Prime Minister of Canada, who had died at Windsor Castle in December.

In the spring, the “Atlantic Weekly” moved to the southern half of McDonald’s “skyscraper”. The man-power press was usually operated by Tommy Hyles. If he failed to appear for the Saturday morning run, we newsboys used to take turns at the big wheel until enough papers were rolled off to supply our needs. (I walked to South Woodside and back, and averaged 6 cents.)

According to this newspaper, local industries of that time included Starr Manufacturing Co., skates, bolts, nuts and electroplating; employed from 75 to 100 hands depending on orders. The skate business was then on the decline. Dartmouth Ropeworks, when running full time employed 300 hands; Oland’s Brewery 25 men; Torrens’ cornmeal and spice-mill, Windmill Road, six men; Crathorne’s gristmill, (formerly Dooley’s), five men; water-power came down from Albro Lake and entered a mill-race on Jamieson Street near Brodie Street.

Dartmouth Iron Foundry on former Symonds’ place, all styles of stoves, six men. Douglass’ Iron Foundry, Waddell’s wharf, nine men. John Power carriage factory, 85 Portland St., five or six hands. Garrett Kingston carriage factory (Dundas Theatre location) six men. Alexander Hutt carriage factory (Nick’s Restaurant location), eight men. John Ritchie, tinsmith and stove-store, six men employed steadily. N. Russell and Co., established 50 years previously, northwest corner Portland and Dundas, tinsmiths and stove-store, makers of fish and lobster cans; output half a million cans annually, nine men. J. P. Dunn, northern half Simmonds Hardware shop, three men.

Chebucto Marine Railway, slack in winter, but in spring and summer often 100 men employed as shipwrights, caulkers, painters, iron-workers. N. Evans and Sons, boilermakers, 10 or 15 men. John P. Mott and Co., slight falling off that year in shipments to Ontario and Quebec, owing to the depression. Woodside Refinery, output 650 barrels of sugar daily. Ice firms of Glendenning, Carter, Chittick, Hutchinson, Hunt and Otto, employed about 100 men in winter, and half that number in other seasons.

The summer of 1895 is to be particularly noted because in that year was held our first annual celebration— an attraction which has continued with few interruptions down to the present day. Dartmouth had for many years been accustomed to observe the Natal Day of Halifax on June 21st, when schools were closed all day, and most shops shut up at noon. Dominion Day was largely unrecognized, whereas June 21st was a great “out of town” holiday.

“But why not commemorate our own Natal Day” queried townsfolk of that time, “and have such a celebration coincide with the coming of the first train over the new branch railroad?”

As the branch was scheduled to be completed in August, preparations were made early in 1895 to put on some sort of a summer carnival. Railways were to be requested to issue special fares so that train-loads of visitors who had never seen Dartmouth would throng here to note our advantages as an industrial and residential centre, and also to survey the scenery around Dartmouth Lakes, then described as the “Killarney of Nova Scotia”.

By June it was quite evident that the branch would not get finished that year. The Dartmouth Committee, however, went right ahead with their plans for an August regatta and fireworks display at First Lake. All classes of citizens from the well-to-do merchant to the wage-earner were canvassed for cash or other contributions. Among the prizes donated were walking canes, cuff links, spoon oars and hand mirrors. The task of collecting and of arranging a program was largely undertaken by the Chebucto Club members.

At the request of ratepayers, a public holiday was declared for Wednesday, August 7th. For many, it was only a half-holiday because shop-keepers remained open until the dinner-hour to supply the needs of households. Truckmen like John Jones, Steve Williams and “Tinny” Lee, who often stood for hours by their flat-wagons near Sterns’ store waiting for work, were unusually active hauling sundry equipment and produce towards the tented booths mushrooming up at the lake-side.

Needless to say, the atmosphere that morning was very different from ordinary days. Downtown stores and streets were gaily decorated, as were many private residences all over Dartmouth. On Steamboat Hill, voluminous folds of colored bunting billowed in the light summer breeze. An Italian hurdy-gurdy man from Halifax, with a small monkey attached to a long slender chain, amused an ever-growing crowd of us youngsters at Lawlor’s corner by grinding out bits of Wagnerian opera, while the nimble animal scampered up water-spouts to second-storey windows where he politely doffed his hat on receipt of the proferred penny.

During the afternoon and evening, hackmen reaped a harvest as every trip of the ferryboat landed more and more visitors. All sizes of vehicles, from the single carriage to the four-horse team jammed to the aisles with 10-cent fares, were galloped along the Ochterloney Street level in such a madcap Gilpinian manner that rims of frothy foam fringed the harness of the steaming horses. Never before had so many people been in Dartmouth at the one time. Never might it happen again, speculated the cabbies.

At the lake, a full program of aquatic sports and illuminated boat-parade was carried out very successfully. Two oarsmen, who participated in that first regatta, are still alive at the time of writing. They are John A. Bauld now in his 96th year, who rowed with the four-oared whaler crew of the Mutual Club; and Albert Sawler, 86 years of age, a member of the Turtle Grove crew in the Labrador whaler race. The other men in the Turtle Grove whaler were “Sandy” Patterson, John Lahey and Thomas Lahey.

Members of the Chebucto Club who devoted time, energy and money to institute our annual celebration are here recorded so that their names may be preserved for posterity. They include President Arthur Pyke, W. H. Stevens, Colin McNab, Percy Simmonds, Hope Watt, H. D. Creighton, J. E. Sterns, J. L. Wilson, James Burchell, Dr. F. W. Stevens, W. B. Rankin, Frank Angwin, A. W. F. MacKay, G. A. Sterns, Emery Bishop and o’thers.

In 1895, for the first time in history we got a school holiday on July 1st. The change was brought about as the result of criticism made in the previous year by Councillor A. C. Johnston to the effect that Dartmouth was unpatriotic in keeping school on Dominion Day. For the first time in school history also, the vacation was extended from six to eight weeks. Schools closed that summer on July 5th. The day was Friday and a scorcher.

In that year the Dartmouth Coal and Supply Co., was started by George E. VanBuskirk. Richard Wambolt sold his Halifax-Dartmouth Express business to S. B. Wambolt. Edward Butler now had a boat-hiring service on the present MicMac, Club location. The first electric lights were installed at Christ Church. Sousa’s Band performed at the Exhibition Building, Tower Road, Halifax.

New structures in 1895 were the U.P.C. Hall built by Contractor A. G. Gates; and the residence of the Russell family, which had been gutted by fire in June. E. M. Walker bought the Jenkins property, demolished the old house which had luscious plum-trees in the yard, and erected the building now occupied by Dartmouth Free Press, but then used as a storehouse for provender. A new shop on the west was leased to druggist W. A. Dymond, predecessor of Parker Mott. Contractor J. A. Webber built two houses at the foot of Queen Street, near Pine Street.

This is the new Sterns’ corner store just before the opening date in October 1894. The main entrance is the same as now used by Dartmouth Furnishers, but the single plate-glass window and doorway to the left designate the small section then under lease to the local branch of the Union Bank of Halifax. The third storey of the building was also rented out for lodge rooms. Above the windows is the double-meaning circular date. Show rooms were on second floor.
The size of the panes of glass in John Allen’s shoe-store next north, was typical of Nova Scotia windows of the 19th century. “Putting up the shutters” on these windows was a regular chore of clerks at closing time. It was also the practice to put up shutters when the proprietor died, and they were sometimes half-put-up when any funeral of importance was about to pass the store.
At the extreme left is the first brick building of Dartmouth. (It was here that Joseph Howe used to call for his morning mail.) Note the display of dry goods atop a packing-case on the sidewalk, as was the custom of the time. In the doorway is J. Edwin Sterns who was then no doubt making final preparations to move back to the corner vacated by his father, and the family, exactly 30 years previously.

This is Portland Street looking east from the intersection of Prince Street on a Saturday in summer, about 1894. The owners of the wagons have come from Eastern Passage, Cole Harbor, Preston, Lawrencetown, Seaforth and the Chezzetcooks. In order to catch early ferries and thus secure the best positions on the sidewalk market at Halifax, many of these people had to leave home as early as 2 a.m. They used to barn their animals in the stables of their particular grocery merchants nearby, and then carry their produce to the City. Vehicles more heavily laden were hauled by man-power on and off the ferry to be parked on Bedford Row while their horses rested during the day at Dartmouth. These country wagons would often line up both sides of Portland Street, part of Prince Street, Water Street near Law-low’s, and Ochterloney Street near Walker’s and Gentles grocery stores. Sidewalks and gutters thereabouts were generally left with a varied accumulation of litter.
At the right of the photo, Owen McCarthy’s new millinery store is just behind the post, next east with the white awning is Frank Dares’ grocery, and then the grocery of John Wisdom & Son, (now Trider’s). At the extreme right is Ormon’s corner-grocery at Poplar Hill (now Woolworth Store). Opposite Trider’s was John Lawlor’s bakery.



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

The bridge over the Canal at Portland Street was reconstructed under the direction of Street Superintendent Bishop, and the hollow filled in with material excavated from the water trenches. The sturdy stones on both sides which are now visible only on the northern side, are from the ruins of the Canal Locks, and bear the familiar 7-point etchings of stone-cutters of a bygone day. The stones were set in position by Messrs. Synott and Barry. Thus went the last of our downtown wooden bridges.

The railway bridge over the Narrows, which had been repaired in the previous year, collapsed on the night of July 23rd. The piles must have been very unstable because a large section extending from the Draw to the Halifax side simply floated away in the calm weather then prevailing. Many residents are still alive who had walked across a few hours before.

The old [Mi’kmaq] legend about the curse pronounced upon a crossing over the Narrows, was a well-known tradition in last century. The story goes back to the days before the settlement of Halifax. It seems that in the dim and distant past, a lovely [Mi’kmaq] girl was courted by two braves, one of whom was rich and more powerful than the other. The maiden’s heart, however, was inclined towards the poor one, who finally won her for his bride. They spent their happy honeymoon on the eastern side of Chebucto harbor, near the Narrows.

According to the legend, the Narrows was then bridged over by a [Mi’kmaq] construction of poles extended, and resting on canoes, to which they were fastened. These canoes were kept in place by heavy stones hung from ropes long enough to reach the deeper water. In the winter seasons, or in times of warfare, this primitive bridge was removed and the passage left open.

The unsuccessful lover disappeared, and was supposed to have gone on a hunting trip. But one night the bride was wakeful and uneasy. She rose, threw a blanket about her, and passed from the wigwam out into the cool midnight air, hoping that the quiet would bring back her repose. As she strolled towards the shore, a man sprang suddenly from behind a tree, and seized her in his arms. At once he bounded to the beach and on the bridge, while the young bride’s cries for help rang on the air, and wakened her husband and others of the tribe.

Grasping his hatchet, the husband rushed out, only to see his rival carrying away what was most precious to him. He also flew to the bridge, but by that time the rival was half-way across and, while firmly holding his prize, had plucked a hatchet from his belt and with rapid strokes, began cutting the bridge in twain.

A few slashes on the mooring ropes of the canoes, more blows on the poles connecting it with its neighbor, and the bridge parted. The severed ends were then rapidly swept downward by the swiftly flowing waters.

The western end on which stood the abductor and his now fainting prize soon touched the shore. He leaped on the beach with his burden, and was soon lost to sight in the pathless forest.

On the opposite side, the enraged and despairing husband, with bitter curses upon his foe and upon the severed bridge, threw himself into the rushing tide, and was swept down into the night.

Next morning he reappeared at the camp but his reason had fled. He spent the remainder of his days wandering about the shore, muttering over and over again the name of his bride, the villain who had betrayed him and repeating these words: “The first in storm, the second in darkness and the third in blood.

The collapsing of the railway bridge left stranded in Dartmouth about 35 freight cars whose contents were subsequently transported to Halifax by lighters. Telephone and telegraph wires strung along the bridge, also went out of commission and disrupted communication service for a time. At Dartmouth public meetings were held to discuss the advisability of reconstructing the bridge once more, but the majority of townsfolk favored the building of a railway from Windsor Junction to Dartmouth. This proposal was forwarded to authorities at Ottawa. Councillor A. C. Johnston and Benjamin Russell went thither to urge its adoption.

All the while the water project was going steadily forward. When Portland Street was being trenched in 1893, workmen unearthed a skull and some human bones. In sections of town where there were solid slate-rock formations, hand-drills were replaced by steam-drills. The latter method, which greatly expedited progress was under the supervision of A. A. Hayward, Manager of the American Hill gold mine at Waverley. Prince Street was one of the toughest. Almost the whole block had to be blasted. Similar formations were encountered on Dundas Street south of Queen, and in the stretches of Prince Albert Road and Portland Street bordering St. James Church.

In 1894 the first street signs were put up, and certain changes made in street names. The southern section of Prince Edward Street was changed to Prince Street, and the northern part changed to Edward Street. Colored Meeting Road was changed to Crichton Avenue. The present Prince Albert Road, hitherto called Portland Street, was changed to Canal Street and then ran from the shore to the Town limits. Portland Street was lined up as at present. Bishop Street, which extended from the Starr Factory to Burton’s Hill, was incorporated into Pleasant Street.

The new Post Office was opened in May. On the opposite corner the Sterns family built their second brick structure (present Dartmouth Furnishers), and in October returned to do business at the stand Luther Sterns had vacated 30 years previously. Rhodes Curry and Co., were the contractors. Edward Elliot was architect.

In June the stone-crusher went into operation, breaking up heavy rocks to macadamize the streets at a low cost. Daniel Brennan was Policeman No. 2. William Webber of Pine Street was engaged as a Watchman from 12 o’clock until eight in the morning. Up to that year, the Town was without police protection after midnight. A drinking fountain, donated by the local branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, with outlets for humans, horses and dogs, was erected on Steamboat Hill. Another drinking trough for horses, donated by J. Walter Allison, was set up on the north side of the road near 97 Pleasant Street.

John T. Walker erected St. Peter’s Hall on Ochterloney Street, and a two-roomed school at Woodside opposite 217 Pleasant Street. John N. McElmon raised the roof of Greenvale School and inserted a second storey with four additional rooms. The same contractor built a spacious Hall for the Turtle Grove Recreation Club (now apartments at 32 Dawson Street). At 51 Pleasant Street a double dwelling was completed for James Simmonds and A. E. Ellis. More bones were unearthed that summer when excavating for St. James’ new Manse. A commencement was made on the branch railway from Windsor Junction. A private telephone wire was strung on electric light poles, connecting Town Hall with the four schools.

Dartmouth oarsmen like Colin McNab and Charles Patterson were competing in the Lorne Club and other regattas at Halifax. The ‘Atlantic Weekly” suggested that similar programs be carried out at First Lake. In September, Woodside Refinery Club held a Saturday afternoon regatta over a course from the Sugar Refinery northward and return. Only Woodside employees participated.

This is what the old Inn of John Skerry looked like about 1892. The premises were then owned by John R. Graham, and the building divided to accommodate three families. In last century the sidewalk was much lower, and the Ochterloney Street entrance was reached by three layers of steps. The chimneys came up from three large fireplaces in the basement which evidently had served as a kitchen. Timbers twelve inches square support this building, and hand-hewn laths may still be seen in the walls. Note the clapboards on the sides, and the “Nova Scotia dormer windows” typical of 19th century houses throughout the Province. In the early 1890s Thomas Cushion kept a butcher shop at this corner. Man in white apron may be Albert Yetter. Lame “Johnnie” Wilson with his supporting stick and summer straw-hat, is leaning against the corner-board. The fence on the right is plastered with praises of patent medicines, and the low building adjoining is the old curiosity shop of Alec Pitts who used to display his second-hand furniture on the Water Street sidewalk in favorable weather.

This is the first St. Peter’s School erected about 1841, and regarded as one of the principal schools of Dartmouth until 1880. Boys and girls attended. This hall was built near St. Peter’s old church in the same manner as was the old parish school hall of Christ Church, because in the early days schools were usually of a denominational character and were fostered by the clergy. Of course any children were admitted upon payment of the tuition fee, until after the Free School Act when these institutions became public schools of the Town. Some teachers in old St. Peter’s included William Lawlor, John McDonald, David Walsh, Mr. Thorpe, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Hipp, John Cashen, Miss O’Toole, Miss Mary Holt, Miss Cassie Downey. St. Peter’s Temperance Society was organized here in 1885. The little building was removed from Ochterloney Street in 1894 to make room for the new St. Peter’s Hall.

This is the new Canal bridge and stone-crusher after it began to function in 1894. Both sides of the structure were made of heavy blocks of stone mostly from abandoned Canal Locks. Afterwards the middle part of the bridge was filled in with surplus slate-rock excavated from water-trenches, and also with material from the streets. The archway at the base is 12 feet high, built of bent iron rails and then covered with stone. In all, about 8 tons of iron rails, 775 tons of heavy stone and 3,258 cartloads of filling were used on this job. The total cost was $943.01. From about the year 1890, small stone was broken on a portable breaker which operated in different sections of Town to crush the surface pieces of whinstone then abundant everywhere. Previous to 1890, stone was broken with hand-hammers by unemployed men who were paid at the rate of three cents per bushel. In the 1880s they used the narrow level area on the east side of Prince Albert Road midway between the MicMac Club and Carter’s Corner. They had no protection from the weather.

See Also:


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

In the winter of 1882 the dreaded smallpox made its appearance in the home of ex-Councillor Maurice Downey. One of his sons and a maid named Catherine O’Neil unexpectedly contracted the disease. Both died.

Despite the fact that the Federal Government was now extending railway tracks from North Street to Cornwallis Street, and buying up Halifax waterfront property for a grain elevator and piers at Deep Water, Dartmouth people persisted in their efforts to obtain railway connection. At an expense of $101.24 they sent Warden John Y. Payzant and Councillor Benjamin Russell to Ottawa for another attempt. Upon their return these delegates reported that there was no prospect whatever of any government assistance in the matter.

Backward weather that April recalled to old residents the hard winter of 1816-1817 when Bedford Basin froze so solidly that the ice was passable for heavy sleighs until the 15th of that month. Traffic over the Eastern Passage continued until the 25th, they said.

Other items in newspapers of 1882 record the destruction by fire in April of Mumford’s Machine Shop, north of the “Barracks”. About the same time a monster whale made its appearance near Dartmouth ferry wharf. Some 20 feet of the mammal showed above water.

Early in 1882 a number of local artisans, mostly shipwrights, left here for Honolulu to work at building a marine railway. They were engaged for a year by Horace Crandall, who formerly lived in Dartmouth at 37 King Street. The men were Edward Whebby (diver), James Durant, Allan McDonald, Dougald Walsh, Matthew Brennan, Joseph Williams, Alfred Kuhn, Harry Pheener, George Black, John Debaie. Wages were $50 a month and $1 a day for board.

James G. Foster resigned as Town Magistrate and was succeeded by Benjamin Russell. Salary $400. There was a noticeable improvement evident in the order and peace of the town, which condition was attributed to the fact that there were only nine tavern licenses issued in 1882 compared with a high of 19 in the year 1879. The number of court cases tried in 1882 was 99, compared with 234 cases in 1878.

John P. Mott petitioned the Council to grade the sidewalk fronting his “Hazelhurst,, property on Eastern Passage Road where he intended to lay a plank sidewalk.

Contractor John T. Walker built a four-room addition to Central School that year at a cost of $1,200. He also constructed the Peter Douglass’ house on Windmill Road, and Christ Church rectory in the shelter of the cliff on Wentworth Street.

A granite street-crossing was laid from Jennett’s crockery-ware store on Portland Street to the Post Office corner directly opposite. School teacher C. E. McKenzie resigned his position, and was succeeded by Harris S. Congdon of Port Williams. The school enrolment was now 745. Dartmouth Agricultural Society held their second annual Exhibition at the Reform Club Hall in September. John E. Leadley advertised for sale the stock and plant of Dartmouth Foundry in Mill Cove, known as Leadley and Cobb’s.


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

The year 1849 was long remembered by residents hereabouts. For one thing, the winter was very severe, and the summer unusually dry. Halifax celebrated its 100th anniversary in June, and by the end of the year was enjoying its first street lighting and water system, and also the first telegraph connection with the United States, via Amherst and Saint John, N.B.

Cold weather seems to have prevailed through most of January and February, without any sign of a thaw. Sub-zero temperatures gradually froze the harbor until the ice extended to Mauger’s Beach on McNab’s Island. Only by keeping a channel open at night, was the ferry able to maintain communication.

The ill-wind of that winter blew somebody good in Dartmouth, because pedestrians and market people no doubt took advantage of the ice-bridge to make uninterrupted journeys to the City. Usually the upper part of the harbor-ice was safer, and according to old residents, the popular landing place at Halifax was on the soft beach near the foot of Cornwallis Street.

On February 11th, the heaviest snowfall in 51 years so completely buried houses in hollow places that inmates had to shovel themselves out through tunnels. All street traffic was at a complete standstill for a full day afterward. Old residents recalled that there was a similar fall of snow and drifts in 1798, and that no mild spell came until April of that year.

Animals inhabiting Dartmouth forests must have been starved out by the storm, for in the deep snow one morning were seen tracks of a large wildcat that had evidently crossed the harbor. A day or two afterward, the ferocious feline was discovered and killed in the cellar of William Grant, Water Street, Halifax.

James Wilson, the Dartmouth distiller, petitioned the Assembly asking that the excise tax on home manufactured spirits be either abolished or collected more systematically. The petition stated, that the heavy tax levied by Nova Scotia was oppressive and caused a great deal of illicit traffic in liquor, much of which was .smuggled here from the United States, He pointed out that the Provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Newfoundland did not impose an excise tax on such articles.

Here in Dartmouth, the enterprising townspeople were taking advantage of every opportunity to obtain the proposed railway terminus for our side of the harbor. A public meeting, with Andrew Shiels as Chairman and Dr. DesBrisay as Secretary, was held at the Mechanics’ Institute early in February when resolutions were passed pledging the breadth of way required for a railroad to extend through the township of Dartmouth, and making provision for compensating the several landowners.

The Halifax Sun reported that the meeting was “very spirited and numerously attended. Those present pledged themselves as being ready to raise by voluntary tax, their proportion of the amount the Province is required to guarantee”.

The weather that season was the hottest and most oppressive within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. For nearly four months there was scarcely any rain, so that grain and hay scorched on the stalk. On September 2nd, the thermometer rose to 96 at noon, and according to the Nova Scotian, “a dense smoky haze produced by the surrounding fires filled the atmosphere and seemed to belt the horizon. The sun peered with a bloodshot eye through the misty stifling vapor, and beneath its scorching beams everything drooped and withered”.