Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking Back at Annapolis Royal

It is a bit of a gray and overcast day in Annapolis Royal. Even though there is not much colour in the sky, there is still some very interesting scenery when the water of the Annapolis Basin is still. The reflections of buildings often make for wonderful pictures.

While I was driving in to town, I stopped on the edge of Granville Ferry and took some pictures looking at Annapolis Royal. Today, I will post three pictures which were all taken while standing in one spot. Each of these images represents a very different element of Annapolis Royal's heritage.

The top image is the area along Lower St George Street. This is the area of Annapolis Royal where I spend most of my time. The yellow building on the far left is the O'Dell House Museum where my office is located. Ironically, the museum, which was built in 1869, is one of the new buildings on this section of the street. Starting with the maroon and green Bailey House in the center of the picture, four houses in a row were built in the 1760s to the 1780s. Contemporary with the arrival of the New England Planters and the Loyalists, this is a heritage landscape which is unique in Canada. Surviving 18th century landscapes are few and far between.

The second image is the middle of Annapolis Royal's business district from the backside. While Annapolis Royal is still a waterfront community, it has in many ways turned its back on the water. Like many areas who made their living by catching fish and shipping goods, Annapolis Royal at the end of the Victorian Era had a very lively waterfront. The area depicted in this photograph would have been lined with wharves and ships waiting to load or unload. The lighthouse, which was built in the 1880s, is a reminder of this time.

Much of this section of town was burned in the 1920s. At that time, the age of sail had started to pass so buildings were rebuilt so that they faced St. George Street. Today most of the business in Annapolis Royal takes place without even looking at the water.

The final image is of Fort Anne's glacis and Officer's Quarters. Built in 1797, the Officer's Quarters are perhaps Annapolis Royal's most iconic building. With three chimneys and a distinctive gambrel roof, I would wager that this structure has appeared on more postcards than any other building in town. From the arrival of the Scots at Charlesfort (on the grounds of Fort Anne) in 1629 until the British Garrison left in 1854, this was the most contested piece of land in Canada. This is also where one of the most important battles in Canadian history, the 1710 Conquest of Acadie, took place. This is also where, in 1613, the French were tending their crops when Samuel Argall arrived from Virginia to burn the Port Royal Habitation. Whether it was manned by the French or the British, much of the life of early Port Royal and Annapolis Royal was centered around events at the fort.

One location, three photographs, a lot of history.

All for now,
RGS

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