As the joke goes, we have two seasons in Canada - winter and construction. Since local lawns have started to pick up a greenish hue, I guess that it is time to head into construction season. At least this is what I realized when I rolled down St. George Street in Annapolis Royal yesterday and was greeted with a "Local Traffic Only" barricade at the corner of Drury Lane. Being local traffic I grinned, drove around the barricade and went to work. Through the day I saw a flurry of measuring, marking and the general sort of preparations which are done in advance of construction. This morning I had message on my home phone from the Mayor of Annapolis Royal (our neighbour at the museum) telling me that the equipment had arrived and work had begun. There would be no driving around barricades with a grin today.
This construction is in no way a surprise. The work was originally planned for last fall but was postponed to this spring due to the onset of winter. Last year I spent a great deal of time working with the Annapolis Heritage Society board members, the town's engineers, public works and contractors to come to an agreeable treatment for the sidewalk surface, curbs, catch basins and parking. The preservation and presentation of our community's heritage is very important to the AHS. We are interested in this section of Annapolis Royal not only because this is where the O'Dell House Museum is located. This part of town boasts four buildings dating from the 1760s through the 1780s and one which is possibly from the 1740s. This is a landscape unique to Canada. In terms of the preservation of buildings, this is also one of our most intact neighbourhoods. Thankfully, Annapolis Royal's Town Council approved a plan which would soften the look of the proposed concrete sidewalks and, most importantly, make use of the original granite curbing. While this may not be the ideal heritage treatment, I think that a fair balance has been struck.
Since the digging has started I have devised a plan to walk the construction site a few times a day looking for any archaeological artifacts which pop to the surface. Sadly, most of this area was disturbed for archaeological purposes when the sewer line was installed years ago. Despite the disturbance, today's finds included some broken bottle glass, very corroded square nails and a piece of yellow chert. I believe that the chert is the type imported to this area as ballast during the French period. Since they are planning to dig down a foot or so I will be keeping my eyes open for any interesting finds.
All for now,