“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.”

“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 Halifax Explosion as covered by the Washington Post, Friday Dec 7, 1917 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In January 1832, there appeared in the “Nova Scotian” seven stanzas of poetry written by “Albyn” at Ellenvale on the occasion of the death of John D. Hawthorn. The latter was a prominent merchant of this community, and a Justice of the Peace. He had been a promoter of the Aboiteau, across the Lawrencetown River near the present railway trestle, which resulted in the reclamation of a wide area of dykeland for hay. The weather that season continued cold. Ice formed in the Coves and extended all over the harbor by mid-February, when the mercury sank to 12 below. Hundreds amused themselves skating across. Sailing ships could not enter the port owing to heavy drift ice, which for a time clogged the entrance. As for the unemployed Canal workers, this was the winter of their discontent. Contractor Daniel Hoard had made …

1832 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Lyle’s historic shipyard was located just south of the present Shipyards, on that stretch of shore below the railway line paralleling Cunard Street. Besides owning water lots there, Lyle purchased from Samuel Cunard the triangular piece of land now bounded by Prince, South and the waterfront. Lyle’s shipyard started about 1823. The era of wooden shipbuilding, which lasted over a century, began to develop about this time. The shipyard of John Chappell, established prior to that of Alexander Lyle, is thought to have been on the shore where now stand the Dartmouth Shipyard cradles. The first record of a ship being built there is in December 1823 when Chappell’s launched a brig named the “Sir James Kempt” for the Halifax firm of Collins and Allison. Jonathan Tremaine acquired the triangular block “M” at Green and King Streets, just below “Poplar Hill”. …

1823 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Dartmouth collected over $1,000 for the Springhill Mine Disaster fund in 1891. The Dominion decennial census gave our population as 6,252. The Statistical Year Book gave it as 4,576. Newspaper comment was that the first mentioned figure must have included the whole polling district, and the 4,576 was for Dartmouth municipality only. (Compare the 1881 and 1901 census.) Dartmouth professional speed skaters of that era included Charles Moore, “Si” Faulkner, “Bob” Patterson and George Misener, Some fast amateur skaters were Ted Graham, Bud Swaffer, Jack Warner, Arch Mosher, William Foston, Frank and George Young, Charles and Sandy Patterson. One evening at the Halifax Empire Rink in January 1891, Alexander (Sandy) Patterson captured the mile junior, the senior and the three-mile skating championship of the Maritime Provinces. At Montreal in February the Patterson brothers participated in the Canadian amateur skating championships, and …

1891 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…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In June of 1877 when a disastrous fire destroyed a great part of St. John, N. B., the Dartmouth Town Council in special session appointed a citizens’ committee to collect food, clothing and funds for the relief of sufferers. Those selected were Peter McNab, J. E. Leadley, W. S. Symonds, George Shiels, Dr. Cogswell, James Reeves, John Forbes, Paul Farrell, J. D. VanBuskirk, T. A. Hyde, G. A. S. Crichton and Frederick Scarfe. The Treasurer was G. A. MacKenzie. They collected nearly $2,600. At the July examinations of the Dartmouth High School, the following were the prize winners in order of merit:    Henry Creighton, Maggie Christie, Emma Hume, Alma Pheener, George Sterns, Bessie Hume, James Bowers, Clara Levy, Annie Webber, Alice Downey, Sarah Walker, Henry McCulloch. In Mr. Metzler’s department the leaders were Annie Hume, Albert Keeler, Hattie Ross, Annie Daly, …

1877 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: By 1842, when Dartmouth was nearly 100 years old, there still seemed to be no regular system of mail transportation. About that time, a resident complained to the newspapers that letters from abroad, addressed to Dartmouth, were detained at Halifax until nearly half a bushel had accumulated. Then they were sent over by a carrier who charged one penny on each letter for his trouble. There was no recognized Post Office in Dartmouth until about 1870. Instead there was a “way office”. In small centers, such as ours, letters were left at the village store, commonly known as two-penny offices, because the keepers charged two pence on every letter passing through their hands. A letter from England to Halifax would cost 20 cents, but it might be taxed 16 or 18 cents extra to send it a few miles farther—all depending …

1842 Read More…