Monday, July 27, 2015

Canadian Potato Museum

     I visited the Canadian Potato Museum yesterday with my family of whom many had not been there before despite living nearby.  We had a lunch in the restaurant where everything served is made from local potatoes!  Then we toured the potato museum, community museum, gift shop and the museum grounds where you can go inside historic buildings relocated here from the area.  
     Be sure to visit the Canadian Potato Museum this summer!!!
Below: Overall Plan Guide of the site.

Above: Alaska School
 Above: former Knutsford Methodist Church / O'Leary Catholic Mission Church
Above: former O'Leary Telephone Office
Above: replica Log Barn

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Historic 1888 Leard's Mill threat to fish

     It's amazing the slant we have to resort to to these days to save heritage buildings, ie: the immensely important Leard's  Grist Mill in Coleman.  It's a threat to fish?!   We can't use the argument that it's one of the last intact grist mills left on the Island (from inventory of over 340); or that it's one of three or four grist mills left in the Maritime Provinces?
     Thank you to local MLA Robbie Henderson for bringing the mill to public attention!!! With help from our Island government the folks at the Canadian Potato Museum will save this mill for generations to come.
The following cf.
Rain Storms caused structural damage to heritage building.
CBC News PEI - June 19, 2015
     A historic mill in western P.E.I. is on the verge of collapsing into a river, polluting it with the potentially toxic materials used to build it.   Leard's Grist Mill in Coleman, currently owned by the P.E.I. Potato Museum, was built in 1888 and continued operating until 2002. Local MLA Robert Henderson told the legislature Thursday last fall's heavy rain storms severely damaged the building. Henderson said there is now a risk it will collapse into the river, which could be a hazard for fish populations.  He said the Potato Museum has applied twice for government funding to stabilize the structure.  "Regrettably their request was denied," he said.   "Can the minister work with his colleagues responsible for these two programmes and attain the necessary funds to avert an environmental catastrophe in the Trout River?"  Environment Minister Robert Mitchell said he wasn't aware of the Potato Museum's application, but he will do what he can to avoid any potential hazard.  "Definitely willing to commit to work with the member and any other departments that we may be able to assist with the community and with the group that own the facility, to try to help them get this building in a much-better condition where we don't have to worry about such a catastrophic event," said Mitchell.  Henderson said the Canadian Potato Museum, which is a non-profit organization, is willing to help pay for construction but cannot afford to pay for the repairs alone.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Holman Island to be preserved - popular 1870's resort property

     The following appeared on the Guardian Newspaper's website today...
Holman’s Island, former resort property being preserved
Colin MacLean / Published on June 15, 2015
© Public Archives and Records Office
The lavish Island Park Hotel on Holman Island opened on June 12 ,1873, closed October 1878 with a reputation for hoards of mosquitos, burned down December 1904.
 Nature Conservancy of Canada continuing
Campaign to buy 90-acre island in Bedeque Bay
            Holman’s Island, site of the first hotel resort on P.E.I., is on its way to being protected for future generations.
            The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is starting a campaign to raise money to buy the 90-acre island, which sits about one and half kilometres off Summerside’s port in Bedeque Bay.
            The island has a colourful history as one of Canada’s first major resort. It has changed hands several times over the years but has been owned by the Clark family for the last 60.
            MORE: On lavish Island Park Hotel
            In a statement, Rodney Clark and Sue (Clark) Kelly, said they felt it was time to let go of the island and selling to the NCC allowed them to do that while ensuring the land’s protection.
            The total conservation project, which includes administrative expenses, the purchase price and various other costs, comes in at about $530,000.
            Most of that money is already in the bag, but the NCC still has to raise about $130,000, which it is hoping to do through local private donations. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of September.
            Julie Vasseur, a co-ordinator with the NCC, said her organization is interested in Holman’s Island for a number of reasons, but the foremost would be its ecological importance to the area as a multi-species bird nesting area and as a remnant of the area’s old Acadian forests.
            “We’re pretty excited about it honestly, because it’s got such a fascinating history from a cultural perspective and because of its ecological importance,” she said.
 Island Park Hotel
            The lavish Island Park Hotel built on the island by James L. Holman was a destination for wealthy United Empire Loyalists.  Opened on June 12 ,1873, it had upward of 100 rooms, a barbershop, bowling alley, banquet halls, bars and immaculately maintained trails and grounds. A ferry, called The Frank, took people over from Summerside. It also had mosquitoes and lots of them. Most of the articles written about the resort during its years of operation mention hordes of bloodthirsty mosquitoes descending on the guests from the salt marshes on the island. This didn’t stop Holman from trying to make a go of the business. He next tried appealing to the upper echelons of Island society as well. Trains would run up from Charlottetown and for $2.25 customers got their train ticket, diner and entertainment. Diners, according to a bill of fare from July, 1874, included: mock turtle or oyster soup, boiled salmon or fried trout, beef, lamb, chicken and caper sauce. There was also cold dishes, like ham, tongue and corned beef, and various kinds of pastries like floating island and lemon and custard pies. Despite Holman’s efforts, the business was a failure. Not enough guests came. In October of 1878 the hotel closed and Holman died six days later. The property burned down in early December of 1904.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tignish United Church 1893-1973

     I found the following clipping on Norma Deagle-MacPhee's Facebook Page...
Journal Pioneer Newspaper - July 22, 1964
TIGNISH- A centennial anniversary service honouring the early pioneers of Protestant church history in this part of the province, will be held at Tignish United Church, Sunday, July 26, 1964 at 2:30pm.
            Worship will be conducted by the minister Rev. David S.H. MacDonald, who will also deliver the sermon, Special music will be sung by the Wilmot Church Quartette of Fredericton, N.B.  Henry Clark of Alberton will be guest organist.
            Protestant church history in Tignish dates back 104 years.  The first church building was located one mile south west of where the present church stands.
            Rev. Robert Dyer, the first Anglican clergyman to be settled in west Prince says in his journal that at Little Tignish a church was
built by the Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists and that he himself had the pleasure of opening the new church.  The year would be either 1860 or 1861.
            Rev. Allan Fraser, minister of Alberton Presbyterian Church from 1855-1870 had under his care an area extending from Tignish to West Cape and in the years of Tignish congregation were Alexander Stewart, Thomas Haywood, Mrs. Josiah Hamill, Thomas Barbour, Mr. and Mrs. James Haywood, Daniel Miller, Alexander MacLeod and Carlyle Bell.
            Erection of the present edifice was completed in 1893 and on July 2 of that year was dedicated.  Communion at the afternoon service was conducted by Rev. James Murray assisted by Rev. David Sutherland of Charlottetown.
            The land on which the new church was built was a gift of Mrs. Benjamin Haywood (nee Elizabeth Rodd)  So far as can be learned the building was erected by J.M. Clark and Co. of Summerside.  One of the carpenters in its employ at the time was Hensley Stavert who later became a Presbyterian minister. Bricks used for the foundation and flue were manufactured by Francis O. Hughes who operated a kiln just outside the village.
            Ministers who served the congregation in Tignish were Rev. George Fisher 1884-1889; Rev. James Murray 1891-1895; Rev. A.D. MacDonald 1894-1903; Rev. W.A. MacKay 1905-1908; Rev. J.H. MacNattie 1909-1913; Rev. Emmanuel Lockhart 1914-1920; Rev. T.L. Williams 1921-1923.
            At the time of church union in 1925, a rearrangement of congregational boundaries resulted in Tignish becoming a part of Alberton Pastoral Charge.  It’s ministers since then have been Rev. J.R. Miller 1926; Rev. A.S. Weir 1926-1934; Rev. George Ross 1934-1936; Rev. M.K. Charman 1936-1941; Rev. G.N. Somers 1941-1943; Rev. Murdock Fraser 1943-1948; Rev. P.A. Fitzpatrick 1948-1951; Rev. A.R. Wallis 1951-1954; Rev. Murray Gardiner 1954-1956; Rev. J.M. Sproule 1957-1958.
            The charge was without a minister for eighteen months and during this period it was served by Elmer MacLean a laymen who is now studying for the ministry.
            Rev. J.A. MacIntosh was minister in 1960-1961.  The present minister Rev. David S.H. MacDonald was inducted as minister in July 1962.
            About 18 years ago the exterior of the church was repaired and painted.  In 1959 the interior of the church was completely redecorated.
            In preparation for pioneer Sunday the interior of the church and grounds around the church have received a major clean-up.  Within the past few years a number of gifts in honor of loved ones departed have been presented and dedicated.
            Tignish Protestant Church began as a community church with its people of several denominational traditions working together to foster and promote the Christian spirit.  After a century of service it is apparently still a community church proud of honour and pay respect to the early Pioneers who kept faith.
           Below is an excerpt about the church from UPEI: Island Lives
Methodists, Bible Christians And Presbyterians In Prince Edward Island:  Campbellton-Miminegash. 1984.  Warren W. Goss. Williams & Crue. Page 53.
            "TIGNISH — To the people of Tignish, Church Union was nothing new. The first church in their community was built in 1861 by Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Use of this little church was discontinued in 1893 when a new one was built by the Presbyterians. This church also became a community one. In 1973, the building was turned over to the village of Tignish to be converted into a museum."
            The church that preceded the above church was built just outside Tignish on the Christopher Road on the south side of Little Tignish River.  Rev. R.W. Dyer officially opened the church in January 1860 as noted in his journal excerpt below.  He called it "Omnibus Church".  I've never been able to find references to this church name - it might have been called something else.
          "January 29, 1860... After the Morning Service, I took some refreshment and started off to Tignish to hold Service in the new church.  I was not a little gratified to have the pleasure of opening this new building, especially as it has been built by all denominations, namely, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Wesleyans, Baptists.  Service commenced at 3 o'clock with singing, and then commenced our beautiful Service, and a sermon, Exoduc 20, and the 24th verse, which I had partly prepared for the purpose.  After the Service we sang the evening hymn and closed the service of the day which was, I believe, enjoyed by the whole congregation.  This is the first time since I came to this Mission that I have had a church in which to conduct services or to preach.  it seemed a comfort and a great pleasure.  if there should have been one soul born again at the service, it was but the place of the (re)birth of one sinner, besides a pleasure, what a mercy.  "Laus Deo."  After the service I went to see Mrs. Platts..."
            Below:  Photo of the former Omnibus Church site, the church is long gone - only a few stones remain in the cemetery - it's all grown up around it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Belcourt Centre on list of Top 10 Endangered Places by Heritage Canada National Trust

     Those of us wishing to see Belcourt Centre saved are delighted to see it included in this years Heritage Canada National Trust Top 10 Endangered Places.  
     Below is a photo I took in February 2015.
OTTAWA, ON – May 26, 2015 - The National Trust for Canada has released its Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses Lists, drawing attention to historic places in Canada either threatened or already lost, as part of its mission to raise awareness of the value that historic places bring to quality of life, local identity and cultural vitality. 
     The Endangered Places List, compiled from nominations received as well as from news items the National Trust has been following and reporting on throughout the year includes (from west to east):
*Peace River Valley, Northeast, BC — Hydro power trumps Aboriginal and Natural Heritage. 
*Point Grey Secondary School, Vancouver, BC — Seismic mitigation program poised to reduce historic school to rubble.
*East Coulee Bridge, Atlas Coal Mine, East Coulee, AB — Rare trestle bridge needs new lease on life.
*Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, ON — Feds play fast and loose with a National Historic Site. 
*Barber Mill, Halton Hills, ON — Stakeholder impasse threatens important industrial heritage site.
*Our Lady of Assumption Church, Windsor, ON — Hope remains despite fundraising rollercoaster ride. 
*Quebec Bridge, Quebec City, QC — Longest cantilever bridge span in the world is rusting away.  
*Miséricorde Hospital, Montreal, QC — Institutional landmark in need of revitalization.
*Sackville United Church, Sackville, NB — Deck stacked          against yet another former church building.
*Belcourt Spirituality Centre, Rustico, PEI — Good faith lacking in Diocese’s dismissal of a cherished community asset.

This year’s Worst Losses lists includes three heritage buildings destroyed by the wrecking ball: Etzio Building, Edmonton, AB; Farnam Block, Saskatoon, SK; and the Stollery’s Building, Toronto, ON.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Old House at Murray Harbour

     I was up to Murray Harbour last week - finally getting out and about after the worst winter on record here on Prince Edward Island.
     This old house is located at 268 Machon Point Road.
Meachams 1880 Atlas of PEI shows H.L. Machon living here with 50 acres.  The 1928 Atlas of PEI shows Benj'n Sensebaugh owning this property.  The last owner was Gordon Lemuel Beck who died in May 2004 at the age of 80 ((son of Ezra & Mabel (Dean) Beck))
     See Brad Olivers listing for this house...

 View as you drive in the driveway.

     Above: this side of house faces southeast towards the Murray Harbour - the South River (noted in Meacham's Atlas) divides Machon Pt. Road and Murray Harbour. 
     Below: view through window on left of door into kitchen - note the old stove.
     Above: View of stairs by putting camera against window, this is on the back side of the house - the door on the other side of the house, below the dormer, seems to come in under the stairs. 
 Above: An old building on site - reminds me of a building from the harbour.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Old Barn burns in Knutsford

     The following article appeared on the Guardian newspaper's website:
Faulty lightbulb causes Knutsford barn fire
Published April 30, 2015 - Eric McCarthy/ Journal-Pioneer 
KNUTSFORD — A faulty light bulb is the likely cause of a fire that destroyed a barn in Knutsford Thursday afternoon, O’Leary Fire Chief Blair Perry reported.
The call to the property of Ralph and Sherren Sweet went in to the O’Leary department shortly after 2 p.m. and Perry said they immediately called in West Point and Alberton Fire Departments for back-up and to assist with a water shuttle.
By late afternoon Perry called in a hi-mack to rip steel from the roof of the structure so that firefighters could get at the smouldering bales of hay and straw.
The machine didn’t have far to travel, as the barn fire is located directly behind Matthews Lime Spreading’s heavy machinery yard. The owner of that property had moved some of his machinery out of harm’s way shortly after the barn went ablaze.
Fire damage was confined to the barn. Perry said it contained hay and straw but no equipment or livestock. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

London, UK Council takes 1920s Pub demolition seriously

Developer who demolished Kilburn pub without permission is ordered to rebuild it "brick by brick"

Image: Ewan Munro via Flickr
Earlier this month we ran a story on the Carlton Tavern, a much-loved local pub in Kilburn which was demolished without warning, or, in fact, permission. The owners, CLTX, had bought the pub only to find that Westminster council would not approve its plan to replace it with a new block of flats; and, with the threat that the pub could soon be listed looming, it decided to take matters into its own hands.  Many people were, quite rightly, outraged by this, and a popular response was that CLTX should be forced to rebuild the pub to atone for its flagrant disregard for council permissions and common human decency: 
Well, we're delighted to report that Westminster council seems to have taken your feedback on board. From today's Evening Standard:
The owners of a historic London pub who triggered outrage by demolishing it without permission are to be ordered to rebuild it brick by brick. Council chiefs will next week issue an unprecedented enforcement notice to the firm that owns the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale requiring it to “recreate in facsimile the building as it stood immediately prior to its demolition”. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Orlo Jones, Genealogist

     I met Orlo Jones thirty years ago this winter as I researched the various branches of my family.  Back then the genealogy department was located in Beaconsfield House.   Every Wednesday evening I would go and do my research - she was a great help to me!  Later that winter Orlo had to take time off due to illness - Arnold Smith, who volunteered there, stepped in to help and it was during one of those Wednesday evenings I met him - eventually learning we were fourth cousins - it's a small Island!!!  My passion for genealogy and Island history has been fostered by these two great Islanders and historians!
     Below is one of my favourite photos - Arnold and Orlo at Ardgowan Garden Party, July 2000.
     Recently Orlo passed away - the following is tribute by Ian Scott which appeared in the Guardian newspaper on March 14, 2015.
     The Orlo Jones Awards mentioned below was established many, many years ago by Arnold Smith in honour of Orlo.
Genealogist left huge mark
Letters to the Editor (The Guardian) Published on March 14, 2015
     The recent passing of Orlo Jones reminded me of her many contributions to the Island. Some readers will recall her regular column in this paper on genealogy several decades ago. During the 1980s I had the pleasure of working with Orlo during her time as professional genealogist for the Museum and Heritage Foundation at Beaconsfield.
     She led an effort supported by volunteers to index (alphabetically on index cards) every written record of genealogical importance in the province. The Master Name Index continued after her retirement and is now over a million records strong; having moved to the Provincial Archives it remains a major guide to locating information for P.E.I. family history research.
     During the pre-internet era, Orlo responded to the inquiries from across the continent providing genealogical research as well as assisting those able to access the growing resources in person. Many would arrive here after having corresponded for several years with Orlo, often in awe of her abilities and knowledge.
     Some of these individuals had lost any connection to their Island roots two or three generations ago and were amazed that she could put them in touch with a local cousin or two with a just a phone call. Quick to realize that few standards for researchers existed she led the way along with Dr. Terry Punch from N.S. and others in the region in establishing certification standards for the profession.
     It is quite fitting that the highest award that can be granted to a genealogist by the P.E.I. Genealogical Society remains the Orlo Jones Award.
Ian Scott, Charlottetown

Sunday, March 29, 2015


     A couple of Sunday's ago I picked up my 95-year-old grandmother, Empress (MacNevin) McDowell to spend the day with her.  As I made my way to O'Leary I took a different route through Coleman - here's a few photos I took with my cellphone.
     Above: an old railroad warehouse beside the Confederation Trail in Coleman.  The store to the left was owned by Rankin Wallace and later by his niece Margaret Lockhart who ran the store until the mid-1990's.
     Above: Free Church of Scotland at Coleman Corner.  Built around 1895.  This was my grandmother's family's church.  The church was used seasonally until a couple of years ago.
See previous post on this blog...
Above: a long abandoned house between the Church of Scotland and Leard's Mill.

     Above & Below: Leard's Mill, built in 1888 by James Barclay, it was later sold to Peter Warren Leard in 1899.  The mill continued operation by the Leard family until 1999.  Today the mill is owned by the Canadian Potato Museum in O'Leary.
     See previous post on this blog...
     Above:  this was the homestead of Sanford Phillips located in Mount Royal (between Coleman and O'Leary) - he was a successful farmer with a great herd of Guernsey cows.   The house was sold out of the family many years ago and following the death of that owner the house was abandoned.
Above: O'Leary United Church at the Corner of Main Street and Barclay Road.
Below are a photos I took of the church interior last winter.