Wednesday, December 29, 2010

30 Rock in Annapolis Royal

Would you believe me if I told you that this picture was taken in Annapolis Royal? It would probably be for the best if you did not since you could stack most of the houses in Annapolis Royal on top of one another and not have a structure as tall as those in this image. No, this is not Annapolis Royal but the famous plaza at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

I can almost see the puzzled looks as to why this image is appearing in a blog about the heritage of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Well, within the AHS archival collection we have what I would consider a number of oddball images. These are generally images which were taken by local residents as they traveled. When the family collection of images was donated to the archives, these images were included. As a small example, we have images of the French countryside during World War 1, industrial buildings in Boston in the early 1900s and unidentified images of sea lions playing. While we have a wonderful assortment of local wildlife, I have yet to see a sea lion frolicking on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. While these images are somewhat out of place in our collection, they are important because they document the travels and adventures of our local residents. In this festive season I figured that I could justifiably share this image from the Schaffner Collection.

Evidently, Rockefeller Center was first officially decorated with a Christmas tree in the early 1930s. While this image is undated, based on the archival collection where this image was found, I feel safe in stating that this is one of the trees from the late 1930s or early 1940s. The iconic statue in this image is of the Greek Titan Prometheus bringing fire to mankind. This bronze was sculpted by Paul Manship.

All for now,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Nor'easter

How about beginning this rant with a few realizations. I realize that it is only December and that we have a lot of winter to go. I realize that, by all normal standards, we have had a fairly mild autumn our part of Nova Scotia. I also realize that it is pointless to rail against the weather. Despite the mildness of the early season and the waste of emotion, I am getting grumpy with the weather. I am not sure if I am getting soft but, I am quickly growing tired of the repeated pattern of storms and power outages. In the past few months we have had hurricanes, tropical storms, post tropical storms, weather bombs, nor'easters, and something called snow thunder last night. Each of these storms seems to knock out power. On top of this, we have seen rain, rain and more rain. Add a few frogs and locust and we are moving onto the biblical stage.

I suppose it isn't really the weather but the power outages that are getting to me. We are not talking about outages of the five to ten minute variety. While those outages are an inconvenience, they are not too upsetting. The outages we have been experiencing run anywhere from 12 hours to several days. About an hour ago our power came back on after 15 1/2 hours. A week and a half ago it was off for 20 hours. It was off for 8 hours the week before that. A century ago I would not have been making these complaints. The difference being that a century ago life was not geared to electricity. Lanterns and candles were a daily part of life. Meals could easily be prepared on a wood or coal fired stove. Daily patterns were arranged to take advantage of the rising and setting of the sun. While I know how to live without electricity, most of our daily patterns are somewhat at the mercy of Benjamin Franklin's discovery.

The images in this post were taken around our house this morning while the power was out. In an act of desperation, we enjoyed a hot cup of hand ground coffee perked on the side burner of our BBQ.

All for now,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas - 2010

For the next few days I hope to be taking my cues from our dog. Yesterday evening I found him resting beside the Christmas tree and I decided that this is an excellent way to approach this time of year. So much of the year is busy and rushed that this is the perfect opportunity to relax, eat some good food and enjoy time with the family.

I would like to wish everyone who regularly reads this blog a Merry Christmas. I truly appreciate all of your comments and feedback. I look forward to bringing you new stories about the history and people of the Annapolis Royal area in 2011. For now, the smell of turkey is wafting this way so I think that I have some work to do in the kitchen.

All for now,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Fancy set of Wheels

This image from the AHS Archives just makes me smile. Can you imagine someone more excited than the little boy who woke up on Christmas morning to find his first set of wheels under the tree? I can see him frozen at the bottom of the stairs wondering if this fancy vehicle could really be for him. Quickly overcoming his momentary indecision, he bolts forward to touch his new tricycle. You can almost feel the happiness radiating through the years.

As evocative as this circa 1950 picture is, it leaves me with a number of questions. Were there shouts of excitement or tears of joy when the present was unwrapped? Had the young boy clipped an image of this trike out of a catalog and carried it around with him for weeks before Christmas? While the black and white image hides the detail, I am imagining that this is a fancy red tricycle with white trim. The image itself comes from the Shaffner collection at the AHS Archives. I hope that you find something as exciting as this tricycle under your tree.

All for now,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Annapolis Royal's Town Officers, 1930

Every town has individuals who are responsible for overseeing elements of our daily lives. My, it almost sounds like we live in a creepy, Big Brother type state when I write it that way. It gives me visions of a cold, unseeing hand auditing and evaluating my every move. Well, despite the fact that we are not really a totalitarian community, there have always been people needed to enforce bylaws and act on behalf of the Town.

On February 11, 1930 Annapolis Royal's Town Council appointed its list of "Town Officers" for that year. These individuals have duties that run from Health Officer and Fire Constables to various duties surveying and regulating wood and lumber production. I must admit that my two favorite titles are Salt Measurer and Fence Viewer. I am thinking of mounting a run for one of these positions if the opportunity presents itself. I long for the opportunity to hand our business cards announcing myself as the Fence Viewer. I have transcribed the 1930 list of officers at the bottom of this post.

Today's archival image is of the Fortier Lumber Mill as it looked in February, 1947. The mill was located beyond the end of St George Street in the lower town. If you look carefully at the center top of the image you can see one of the spans of the Annapolis Royal to Granville Ferry bridge. I am sure that this mill is a location which saw its share of wood and lumber surveyors.

All for now,

Town Officers 1930

Fire Wards: A.G. Herbert, K.P. Harris, C.C. King

Fire Constables: Kerr Merriam, T.B. Price

Wood Surveyors and Inspectors: J.M. Harris, J.T. Bateman, M. McMillan, Owen Orde

Hay & Coal Weighers: J.H. Edwards, J.K. Edwards, E. McDormand

Lumber Surveyors & Inspectors: Owen Orde, J.H. Edwards, G.B. Hardwick, Roderick Hardy, J.T. Bateman,

C.N. Whitman, K.P. Harris, Charles McClafferty

Salt Measurer: George Cummings

Pound Keeper: George Robinson, J.R. Wallace

Log Surveyors: Owen Orde, G.B. Hardwick, J.T. Bateman, K.P. Harris

Fence Viewers: W.E. Collins, George Wells, G.B. Hardwick

Assessors: T.M. Buckler, A.W. Banks, A.G. Herbert

Health Officer: Dr. L.B. Braine

Extra Constables: F.J. Miller, C.P. Goldsmith, Lloyd Berry, Thomas Robinson, Andrew Riley

Revisers of Electoral Lists: H.A. West, F.M. Dargie, F. Rutherford

Chief of Police, etc:

Town of Annapolis Royal Minutes

Book 3

Feb 13, 1923 to April 15, 1935

Meeting of February 11, 1930

Page 370

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Time for Children - Part 2

Believe it or not, these children are probably a lot happier than they look. Due to the slow exposure speeds of early cameras, it was common to have the person sitting for the picture pose with a serious face. Evidently it is easier to hold a pose with a serious face easier than a smiling face. Sadly, this sort of image has added to the common understanding of the Victorians as a rather joyless lot. The exception to the dour faces is the young gentleman in the image titled "Bert and Co". I am not sure if you could find a better smile if you were looking for one. The little girl who seems to be relieving some sort of nasal issue in the top image provides another hint that Victorian era children were more than grim faces. For those interested in historic costumes, it is worth noting the clothing worn by the little boy standing beside her.

Today's post is the second part of a collection of images of local children from the late Victorian period. These images come from the Perkins collection held by the Annapolis Heritage Society Archives. These images would have been taken between 1895 and 1905.

All for now,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Time for Children - Part 1

It may be because there is the patter of excited little feet around our house but, there is something about the Christmas season that makes one think of childhood. I can easily conjure up memories of the anticipatory feeling you have going to bed on Christmas Eve and the excitement of waking up early to see what has arrived under the tree. The mere mention of Twas the Night Before Christmas, Hermey (the elf who wants to be a dentist) and the mad capering of the Grinch are enough to bring a wistful smile to the lips of many people. In fact, the image of the baby at the top of this this post reminds me of the story of another baby that is often told at this time of year.

In the spirit of the season, I have found some archival images of local children from the Late Victorian period. This collection comes from a number of different fonds in the Annapolis Heritage Society Archival Collection. The images are of children who either lived in the Annapolis Royal area or were related to local families. While some of the children have been identified, many are unknown.

All for now,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Down with the Flu

It is official. I am down with the flu or some such malady. For your sake, I am going to spare the more graphic details. I am also going to keep this post short since the keys on the keyboard are floating around in a state reminiscent of vertigo.

I figured that I would include an image of a building I am hoping to avoid over the next 24 hours. This image is of the Annapolis Royal Hospital as it looked in the mid 1940s. This image was taken by Harold Thorne Stultz. Greatly renovated, this building still serves as the core of the Annapolis Community Health Centre.

All for now,

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Spray Wagon

Well, this has been an interesting post to write. I started it one day and, after writing a couple of sentences, we lost power and we have been in the dark for the next 24 hours. Those of you murmuring that I have been in the dark for years can just stop that chatter. You may be right but that does not add anything to the conversation. On the positive side, I got to use some of our camping equipment to make coffee, bacon, eggs and toast on side burner of the BBQ. Desperate times... well, moderately desperate.

Now, back to the original post. Occasionally I come across an archival image that almost leaves me dumbstruck. That is the way I felt when I first saw this image taken by Sidney Payne (1882-1964). Mr Payne worked for the Dominion Entomological Laboratory on Grange Street in Annapolis Royal. In addition to scenes taken in and around Annapolis Royal, his photographs chronicle many of the activities of the lab. The AHS Archives have images showing differing types of plants damaged by insects as well as some marvelous contraptions which were used to spray fruit trees.

Based on the clothing, I feel safe in assuming that the apple trees are getting a fairly strong spray. Both the men and the horses are wearing protective clothing. Under magnification you can see that the gentleman in the rear has a cloth tied over his mouth. Sadly, the poor horses were not accorded the same privilege. I would be interested in learning what exactly they were spraying.

All for now,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Allain's River

Once in a while I come across a photograph which provides an interesting perspective on the scenery around Annapolis Royal. Certain views of the town are quite common. I have seen countless photographs of Fort Anne, St George Street and the view across to Granville Ferry. On the other hand, I have seen far fewer images taken from this vantage point. For those unfamiliar with the geography of Annapolis Royal, this image is taken looking into town from across the Allain's River. The old railway bridge can be seen almost in the middle of the image with the earthenworks of the fort directly behind it.

The Allain's River wanders from the right of the picture to the center where it meets the larger Annapolis River. The conjunction of these two rivers was an important seasonal encampment for the Mi'kmaq and their ancestors for thousands of years. This would have also been a point of strategic importance during the 1707 and 1710 British attacks on Port Royal. Landing parties were sent up the Allain's River so that they could build entrenchments and start to attack the fort from the back side.

By the time this image was taken by Charlotte Perkins around 1900, there was no hint of this violent past. In fact, there is something relaxing about this pastoral scene of cattle grazing beside a meandering river.

All for now,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Archival High Jinks

Once in a while an archival image fools me. When this happens, it is usually because I have looked at the image in a cursory manner or I have not had the cultural reference points to interpret the scene. Whatever the cause, I have missed a key detail. Occasionally, as is the case with this image, the photograph is intentionally misleading.

I have previously looked at this image a number of times without really understood what is going on. A group of men are sitting around a table enjoying a pipe of tobacco with what seems to be a crock of "salt", a can of "Pure Old Kerosene" and a clam shell on the table. To make the image a bit more confusing, they all appear to be happily imbibing in some liquid. Now call me crazy but for some reason I just can't imagine the salt and kerosene cocktail gaining much of a following. Even if it was served in a festive clam shell, this drink is just a bit too strong.

So, now that the image had captured my interest, I decided to see if I could figure out what was going on. The men all seem to be dressed in clothing that I would expect people to wear around the turn of the twentieth century. While two of the gentlemen are sporting very stylish mustaches, this does not provide much additional contextual evidence.

The first tangible clue is written at the top right of the picture. Here we can find the words "High Jinks". This leads me to surmise that there is some sort of trickery at work. This would explain the wry expressions on the faces of the three gentlemen. At the bottom of the image is a label which tells the remainder of the story. Here we find the words "Close Season - Scott Act".

The Scott Act, properly the Canada Temperance Act of 1878, was named for the Upper Canadian politician Sir Richard William Scott. Under the terms of the act, a petition signed by one quarter of the electors in a region could trigger a vote to ban the sale of alcohol. What we see in this image is a comical political protest against prohibition. The jars of "salt" and "Pure Old Kerosene" are doubtlessly rum or moonshine. Raise a glass boys.

All for now,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

List of Granville Hearse Subscribers - 1859

One of the most interesting things about managing an archival collection is occasionally taking the time to look at some of the documents. I greatly enjoy delicately leafing through a journal created centuries before I was born. I adore the texture and colour of archival paper. More importantly, I love to be able to pick up odd nuggets of information on my forays into the archives. Honestly, I would love to have more time to leisurely browse through our archival collections but, that may need to wait for some far off retirement.

One archival fonds which I find particularly interesting are the minute books of the Granville Hearse Society. Founded in 1859, the Granville Hearse Society were a group who came together to purchase, operate and maintain a hearse. This hearse served the residents of Granville Ferry, Stoney Beach, Lower Granville and parts of the Bayshore. Essentially, this was a co-operative founded to operate a service that would otherwise have been difficult in this community.

One of the terrific aspects of these minute books is that they occasionally give lengthy lists of the subscribers to the Society. These are the residents who have paid their dues. For a genealogist this is a wonderful primary resource which, until this moment, has not previously been published. Not surprisingly for the times, all but one of the names listed are male. The lone female in the list is Martha Fowler who contributed 60 cents. The contributions themselves run between $2.50 and 25 cents. While this may seem like a fairly small sum, we must keep in mind that a salary of $1.00 per day would have been considered a fair wage at the time. With inflation that $1.00 would currently be worth somewhere in the range of $175 to $200.

By the way, the archival image of a hearse at the top of this post is not the Granville hearse. This particular vehicle served the residents of Bridgetown and the image is part of the Samuel Newton Weare collection at the AHS Archives.

All for now,

Names of persons who subscribed to the hearse with amount subscribed.

Lloyd Delap .50

Joseph Hardy 1.00

Thomas Delap Jun. 1.00

James Shafner Sen. 1.00

William Shafner .50

John Healy .50

James Shafner Jun. .50

Isaiah S. Delap 1.00

Charles Parker .50

William H Fowler 1.00

Thomas Delap Sen. 1.00

Joseph Roblee 1.00

William Delap .50

Silas Littlewood 1.00

James T Thorne 1.00

Thomas Roblee .50

James Roblee 1.00

John Littlewood 1.00

Frederic Spencer 1.00

John Roblee 50

Benjamin L Winchester 1.00

James Winchester 1.00

Alfred Winchester 1.00

Robert Delap Sen. .50

Wiswell Winchester .75

Guilfred Delap 1.00

Laurence Delap 1.50

John VanBlarcom 1.00

David Delap .50

John Kennedy 1.50

William McKinzey 1.00

William Blaney .50

Joseph McKinzey .50

David Sproul 1.00

William Fowler .50

Ebenezer Sproul 1.00

Daniel Kennedy 1.00

Joseph W. Hall 1.00

William Winchester 1.50

Soloman Farnsworth Sen. 1.00

Cornelius Bogart 1.00

Weston Hall 2.00

James E. Reed .75

Henry Hall .75

James E. Farnsworth .50

Whisman Armstrong 1.50

John E. Reed 1.50

Joseph D. Halfyard 1.00

William Oliver 1.00

Moses Hall .60

John E. Bath 1.00

John Shafner .50

Stephen Hardy 1.00

Aaron Hardy 1.00

Robert Murphy 1.00

Charles Hagerty 1.00

John Corbet 1.00

Alexander R.Cumming 1.00

Charles H. Halfyard 1.60

Martha Fowler .60

George McNeal .50

Oldham Armstrong 1.00

James Cumming 1.00

Robert Delap 1.50

Edward Letteny .50

Samuel Pickup 1.50

Isreal Lettney 1.00

William H. Gilliatt .50

George F. Nevil .50

William A. Parker .50

Wesley Amberman .50

John H. Robinson .50

Jeremiah Gilliat .50

Walter Willet 2.50

William Weatherspoon 2.50

Alfred Troop 1.50

Samuel Hall 2.00

Job Wade .50

George Smith .75

Paul Amberman .50

William Sweet .25

Henry Wagstaff .50

Robert Mills 2nd 2.00

Benjamin Reed 1.50

David Amberman .50

Edward Wright .50

John Mills 2.50

John Johnson 1.00

Richard Collins .50

William Lettney .50

James Halladay 1.00

Joseph Tomlinson .50

David Inglis .50

Edward F. Dunn .50

James A Halladay .50

Reed Hall 1.00

Michael Collins .50

Robert Chute 1.00

Robert Weatherspoon .50

James H. Gilliat .50

David Weatherspoon .50

William Collins .50

Harris Wright .50

Fletcher Reed .50

F.L.B Vroom .50

George T Bingay 1.00

Walter W. Mills .50

Robert Mills 1st 1.00

James Weatherspoon .50

Daniel James .50

William Inglis .50

Jeremiah Lettney .25

David Mills 1.00

John Amberman .50

Joseph Dunn .25

William Fash 1.00

James Litch 1.00

Mannassah Litch 2nd .75

John Litch 1.00

Thomas Dickson 1.00

Ebenezer Clerk 1.00

Samuel Sproul 1.25

John J. Woodworth 1.00

Mannassah Litch 1st 1.00

Alexander Turple .75

William C. Woodworth .75

Alexander McKinzey 1.00

Stephen McCaul 1.00

John McCaul 1.00

William Reeve 1.00

William Roop .80

Isaiah Sproul 1.00

Stephen John .80

Cornwell Anderson 1.00

Alexander Clerk .80

Andrew Clerk .80

Stephen Anderson 1.00

George Key .50

William Longmire 1.00

William Halladay Jun .80

William W. Halladay 1.00

William Halladay Sen. 1.00

William Milner 1.00

Jonathan Milner .50

Thomas Milner 1.00

Cyrus Hardy .75

John Weatherspoon .25

John Milner .50

Joel Edgett .50

Christopher Halladay .25

Abner Foster .50

Gilbert Wade .50

Monday, December 6, 2010

Janet the Cat

Since this blog has begun I have tried to introduce the world to a number of the faces who are regularly seen around the museums of the Annapolis Heritage Society. One of the decidedly unsung presences around the O'Dell House Museum is our neighbour's cat Janet. I will admit that Janet can be a mixed blessing in the museum on occasion. I have frequently been in the middle of a discussion with visitors when I see her leisurely wander through one of the exhibit rooms at the museum. Invariably there is a somewhat comic chase through the museum as I attempt to move her toward the exit without breaking any artifacts. If she is feeling generous she will let me carry her out. If she is not, we have a game of cat and curator until she decides to run out the door.

On the positive side, Janet does play a useful role in attracting visitors to the museum. I would not even begin to count the number of times that I have opened the door of the museum to find a tourist having a short visit with Janet. She rolls around on the sidewalk and doles out short bursts of feline affection for tourists who are suffering separation from their own cats. This usually provides me with the opportunity to introduce Janet start a conversation. More often than not this conversation turns into a museum visit. She is much better in this role than her elusive brother Sam who tends to shun most human attention.

Interestingly, Janet has recently started to provide some gardening services for the museum. As you can see in the second photograph, she has decided that the dead stems of our hostas are quite unsightly. She regularly wanders over to the museum, bites off a stem or two and gives a somewhat disgusted look at the door before she walks away. As a community organization, it takes a broad spectrum of personalities to make a museum work.

All for now,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Victorian Christmas 2010 - Second Weekend

Victorian Christmas at the O'Dell House Museum has officially come to an end for another year. As always, it was nice to have so many people from our community help us celebrate Christmas in the way it would have been done at the end of the 19th century. We sang some carols, ate some cookies and drank about 40 liters (10.5 gallons) of apple cider. I would like to thank all of the foragers, decorators, animators, cookie bakers and other volunteers who make this event possible.

I decided to have a bit of fun with the pictures I was taking this weekend. While there are lots of interesting photographic opportunities at Victorian Christmas, I started to wonder how the event would look if it were photographed in black and white. I suppose that my logic was somewhere in the realm of "this is how a Victorian would have photographed Christmas". When I looked at the resulting images I was amazed how quickly people I had known for years started looking like images from our archival collection.

All for now,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Christmas Market

We took our show on the road today. Well, not to far on the road since we were only a couple of blocks away at the Annapolis Royal Legion. Today was the day of the Annapolis Royal Christmas Craft Market. This market is a much anticipated part of the Christmas season in Annapolis Royal. As we traditionally do, we had a table where we tried to sell books and merchandise from the gift shop as well as some of the local genealogies we publish. Even if we didn't sell anything, the Christmas Market is a good opportunity to chat with members of the community, hand out a few newsletters and remind them of the type of resources that we have. We almost always seem to pick up a couple of new members or potential volunteers from at event.

Even though it was a short trip to the Legion, it required my arriving at the O'Dell House Museum bright and early to pack books and material from the gift shop. While I would have loved to pack things up on Friday afternoon, I was hampered by not wanting to disrupt the gift shop just before a night of Victorian Christmas. It really did not make sense to empty our retail shelves on a night we were expecting visitors. Thankfully Frank Taylor, one of our long time genealogy volunteers, met me at the museum to load the car and we were able to get set up fairly quickly.

It was a busy day for markets in Annapolis Royal with one at the Firehall and the regular winter market at the Historic Gardens. Since I was tied to our table at the Legion for most of the day, I did not get the chance to see the other two markets. I tried to make the most of some free moments by getting started on some of my own Christmas shopping. From the reports I heard from the folks who stopped to chat, It sounds like it was a good day of marketing in Annapolis Royal.

All for now,