A 1914 MAP TELL MANY TALES (October 15/04)

On the old map, Aldershot is designated as both a military camp and a “trotting park.”

Oddly enough this is true. Before the federal government purchased the land known locally as the Pine Woods and established a militia training grounds, a racetrack was located there. Advertiser columnist Brent Fox confirms the existence of the race track in his Aldershot history (Camp Aldershot, Serving Since 1904, published in 1988).

Like most old maps, this one tells us that many community names and many of the original county roads have vanished. On the old map, for example, is the community of Vernon Mines but it doesn’t exist as a place name today. Vernon Mines was located on the North Mountain between Pelton Mountain and Rockwell Mountain, a few miles north-west of Centreville and roughly behind Lakeville. The community was important enough to be included in Fergusson’s Place-Names and Places of Nova Scotia but you won’t find it in county tax rolls today.

Recently I spent a couple of hours just looking at the old map (it hangs on a wall in the drill hall at Camp Aldershot) and I went away with curiosity aroused and with many questions unanswered. What, for example, happened to some of the communities that were important enough to be included on the map but aren’t recognised today? I’ve already given one example in Vernon Mines; others are Atlanta near Sheffield Mills and Sunnyside, near Greenwich. Then there are those curiosities, Etna and Vesuvius, which while included in Fergusson’s work weren’t communities but postal stations.

The same with the names of various geographical features. Just east of Hall’s Harbour, which by the way is shown as Hall Harbour on the map, is Hall Point and Shoal Point, which you never hear of today. Farther east along the shore is the long forgotten Woodworth Bay. For those still discussing this issue, and for what it’s worth, the old map indicates that in 1914 it was Scott’s Bay, not Scots Bay.

I learned from the old map that as well as there being a Canard River, there was a Canard Creek. Coldbrook was once spelled as two words, Cold Brook. The map indicates that Church Street was once recognised as a community. At the junction of Brooklyn Street and Lovett Road there was once a community called Brooklyn Corner. North of Canning there once was a community called North Corner, which probably was named for the North family who were among the original landholders in that area and still own property there.

The old map, which has the legend, “Map 25 Department of Militia and National Defence,” and is dated 1914, show two large bodies of water on Camp Aldershot grounds. There’s a mill on the smaller of them; the name is blotted out but it probably is Barnaby’s Mill, which later became Killam’s Mill. The larger body is likely what today is referred to as Peach Lake, named I believe after a man who farmed in the area before the land was purchased by the government.

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