Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Annapolis Auto Station

I have stepped into the files at the Annapolis Heritage Society's archives for another image today. What interests me about this photograph is that it a scene which is not possible in Annapolis Royal today. Yes, the buildings featured in this picture are no longer standing but, I am not writing about them. While we do have a number of residents who own vintage cars, I am not writing about them either. What I am interested in is the gas station itself.

Those of you who live in the Annapolis Royal area know that we do not have a gas station in town. We do have stations just outside of town in Granville Ferry and Lequille but there are no gas stations in the town itself. From looking at this image, this was obviously not always the case. In fact, we have historically had at least six gas stations in the Town of Annapolis Royal.

The station in this picture was located at the current location of Petit Park beside the Annapolis Royal Town Hall. The larger building had previously been used as a blacksmith shop by James Buckler and Arthur Barteaux but they made the transition to become automobile mechanics as cars became more common. This was a common transition for blacksmiths.

I am very impressed with the graceful building built to house the gas pumps. This is a very interesting little building with its hipped roof and mushroom shaped exterior lights. We have very few examples of this style of purpose built gas station remaining in Nova Scotia today. The business itself operated under a series of owners until it eventually closed and was torn down.

The house beside the Annapolis Auto Station is the Haliburton House. From 1821 to 1829 this was the home of famed juror and author Thomas Chandler Haliburton. While he is most famous for his later novels about the clockmaker Sam Slick, it is in this location that Haliburton wrote much of his two volume history of Nova Scotia which was published in 1829. This house was torn down in 1958. I will undoubtedly have a post on Haliburton House at some point in the future.

As a note of interest, the man standing in the photograph has been identified as James E. Murray.

All for now,


  1. This is very interesting, and awfully pertinent to my MA thesis. Do you have an idea when this picture was taken and/or when the building with gas pumps was put in? And finally, what are the archive's rules for using photographs for academic purposes?

    (My thesis, btw, is on tourism and landscape in the province in the 1920s and 1930s. I've been working on it for 3 years now - *so* close to finishing.)

  2. Send me an email at historic@ns.aliantzinc.ca and we can discuss the details.