OLD KENTVILLE SCRAPBOOK (August 23/96)

I’ve mentioned Kentville collector and history buff Louis Comeau in this column on a couple of occasions. Mr. Comeau specializes in collecting old items pertaining to Kentville and the mini-museum in his home covers over 100 years of the town’s history.

Mr. Comeau’s collection was started by his late father, Dr. Lin Comeau, who practiced in Kentville for about a quarter-century, until the early ’70s. In the collection are several scrapbooks with newspaper clippings on Kentville and area dating back over a century. I recently spent several hours reading the clippings in one of the books. I believe the news items will be of interest to readers who like local history and local trivia, and I pass some of these along.

Died in 1940 at age 94, J.R. Lyon who, just before his death, was said to be the oldest active postmaster in Canada and the oldest native citizen of Kentville. Mr. Lyon was said to be a descendant of one of Kings County’s pioneer families. Lyon’s father operated a stagecoach inn on east Main Street. The Duke of Kent, who gave the town its name, stayed at this inn when touring the province in 1794.

Kentville’s “Grand Old Man”, George E. Calkin, is saluted on his 90th birthday. Mr. Calkin was one of Kentville’s business pioneers and one of the founders of the Blanchard Fraser Memorial Hospital.

Failed in 1920 and sold under Sheriff Sale, the Union Printing Co., which published the Western Chronicle, an early (and possibly first) Kentville-based newspaper.

Kentville and its immediate area in 1826 contained “two grist mills, two manufactories for fulling and dyeing cloth and two buildings containing machines for carding wool, besides a flax mill nearly completed.”

A first for Kentville: the first Junior High in Nova Scotia was officially opened in 1933.

The Kings county agricultural and industrial exhibition opened Oct. 7, 1878, at Kentville. Reading these news items I found that the exhibition was similar in format to today’s agricultural fairs, with displays of fruit and vegetables, farm machinery and livestock. The exhibition president is John E. Starr (a Planter descendant?); the vice-president, E.M. Jordan, is from an early Kentville family.

A news item dated early October gave populations figures for various Valley towns in 1922; Kentville 2,390; Wolfville 1,536; Windsor 3,590.

An advertisement from a 1932 issue of The Advertiser informs readers that a Kentville manufacturer – the McNeil Liquid Wax Company – has been offering its products to householders since 1900. An accompanying news story informs the public that the miracle wax produced by McNeils was discovered by accident.

In an 1887 issue of the Western Chronicle, Kentville dentist J.E. Mulloney offers artificial teeth “without plates and without extracting teeth – the latest and most artistic thing in dentistry.”

Kentville streets being numbered is the heading of a news item in a 1936 issue of The Advertiser.

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