Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rebuilding the Port Royal Habitation Part 4

If there is an unfortunate part of the story of the reconstruction of the Port Royal Habitation it is this. When the reconstruction of the Habitation started in 1939 there was a small community located near the area where the structure would be built. The community, part of a larger area which stretched from Granville Beach to Victoria Beach, was named Lower Granville. Like many communities in this area, the people made their living from ship building, fishing and farming. In this community, there was a general store, a facility to process and can clams, and a number of families. Included among the families who lived in the community were names like Littlewood, Robblee, Porter, and Parker.

When the Canadian government took control of the reconstruction a decision was made that an attempt should be made to have the Habitation look as it would in the early 1600s. Unfortunately, a 17th century French trading post in the middle of a collection of 19th century houses was sending mixed historical messages. A decision was made that the land for these houses would be expropriated. To somewhat appease the residents, they were allowed to stay in their houses as long as the direct family of those alive in 1939 were in the house. The buildings were demolished when these residents were no longer in the house. Once the construction of the Habitation was complete, the community was renamed Port Royal to reflect the early history of the area. The most recent house was demolished in 2004.

While all but one of the houses have vanished, if you walk the beach beside the Habitation, you can still see some of the remnants of this community. Here you will find the remains of wharves which were once a key part of the community’s economic survival. Sadly, even the pilings which once supported the wharves are now quickly starting to vanish due to the ongoing tides and weather. On a positive note, you can still purchase a memento of the community of Lower Granville. One of the residents of the last surviving house produces wooden wind spinners to sell to tourists. These spinners hang in front of his house for visitors to see as the approach the Habitation’s ticket booth.

Today’s Images were taken in 1939. The first shows the community of Lower Granville clustered around the Habitation with Goat Island in the background. The second image shows the John Robblee House and the final image shows the Albert Parker house which was demolished in 1970.

All for now,
RGS

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