READER REMEMBERS ARCH PELTON’S WHARF (May 18/01)

My April 27 column on the old Cornwallis River wharf off Wolfville, where the Minas Basin ferry Prince Albert once docked, brought responses from several readers and added more to my collection of river lore.

Starr Williams, a former Kentville resident who now resides at Grandview Manor in Berwick, tells me that there was another wharf on the Cornwallis where ships could dock. While nowhere near the size of the Prince Albert’s dock, which as previously mentioned was 152 feet in length, a privately owned wharf that once stood on the river could accommodate smaller boats.

Mr. Williams tells me some 70 years ago the wharf was located in Kentville in the area known to most residents as “the Klondyke.” In this area where the dead end streets Maple Place and Chestnut place run towards the Cornwallis River, a well-known Kentville resident Arch Pelton built a wharf; Mr. Pelton apparently maintained a yacht or some sort of seaworthy boat that he tied up at the wharf.

Mr. Williams also told me that Pelton once operated a Studebaker dealership in Kentville; Pelton’s home was located in the Klondyke area and said Williams, was called “Pelton Place.”

Starr Williams mention that Arch Pelton operated a car dealership rang a bell. I knew I had heard the name before in association with Kentville’s early history but I couldn’t recall where. When I told Leon Barron about the wharf Arch Pelton had once maintained on the upper Cornwallis, he immediately placed the gentleman. “I believe Arch Pelton was involved with the McKay car when it was manufactured in Kentville,” Barron said.

Of course. That’s why the name seemed familiar. Pelton’s name has been mentioned in this column as being associated with the McKay Motor Car which for a short time was manufactured in Kentville. As well as the Studebaker, Pelton, who was a Berwick native, was also the distributor for Franklyn, Gray Dort, Oldsmobile and other makes of motor vehicles. Pelton apparently was the head mechanic with the McKay company. He also made a name for himself by being one of the first to drive an automobile across Canada.

Anyone interested in more details about Mr. Pelton are directed to a short history of the McKay Motor Car by William H. McCurdy. Mabel Nichols Kentville history, The Devil’s Half Acre, may also have references to Pelton since he may be the E. L. Pelton who served several terms as Mayor of Kentville.

Where Are They?

Many of the old place and street names once common in this area are now forgotten, or for various reasons have been discarded or changed. Take Onion Street in the Gaspereau Valley, for example; everyone knows which road it is and residents still call it Onion Street, but the name was ignored by the Dept. of Highways when road signs were erected.

Brooklyn Street, said to be the longest continuous road in Kings County, lost what might have been its original Planter name, Shadow Street. Does anyone know why?

Government records often contain the names of roads and communities that are no longer in use. Here are some of the vanished Kings County place-names from the sessional papers, with the year they were in use: Givan Wharf (1851); Barnaby’s Mill Cove (1856). Also from 19th-century records for Kings County: Ira Woodworth Creek, Murray Hill Brook and Safe Harbour.

 

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