THE FIRST CAR, TELEPHONE, RADIO IN BLOMIDON (June 20/06)

“At the time, Mrs. Anna Porter (who lived in a house near the Cape) was out gathering an armful of wood. Suddenly a great whirring sound was heard. Glancing up the road from whence the sound seemed to come, she saw it coming…. She did not stop to gaze in wonder. Dropping her wood much quicker than she had picked it up, she ran into the house screaming hysterically, “Here comes the red devil.”

The “red devil” was an automobile and the time about a century ago. The automobile was just appearing in many Kings County communities and the reaction of Mrs. Anna Porter may have been typical of people hearing and seeing one for the first time.

Similar stories are told in various communities. However, in 1932 when the pupils of Whitewaters School wrote a history of Blomidon, the tale of Mrs. Porter’s reaction to an automobile was probably part of village folklore. It may not have happened just that way. But as you’ll see from other references to the automobile in this quaint history, its arrival was alarming to one and all.

“The first automobile made its appearance in Blomidon in 1910,” the students wrote. “Imagine the consternation of the people one quiet summer day when they suddenly heard a queer noise and saw the red body of a horseless vehicle flash by. Some had heard of the automobile before, but few had ever seen one.

“(The car) was a one-seater affair driven by Mr. Munroe of Wolfville, and by his side sat his lady friend, a Miss Farrum, bookkeeper for the Sir Fred. Borden Supply Co., Canning. Apparently they were enjoying the great sensation they were causing.”

The history, which I have before me courtesy of Philip Beeler, list various other “firsts” in the Blomidon, Whitewaters area of Kings County. “It was seven years after this exciting episode (the red devil’s run through the community) before an automobile was really owned by anyone in Blomidon, Mr. F. C. Bigelow being the first to own one here.”

The students of Whitewaters School felt the arrival of the phonograph in the community was worthy of noting as well. “The first phonograph was owned by Miss Ellen Woollaver. Many a pleasant evening was spent by the neighbors, while listening to the sweet music or chatting pleasantly of its wonders.”

The schoolboy/schoolgirl historians gave no date for the phonograph’s arrival in the community. On the telephone, however, there’s an entry reading “Hustons had one in 1901,” which apparently was added after the history was compiled. This telephone, say the young historians, was “very different in appearance and effectiveness to the one found in almost every home in Blomidon now. It was a simple box style and the batteries were on the outside (not at all ornamental). This first found its way into the home of Mr. James Woollaver, Blomidon.”

Arrival of the radio is also noted. “The first radio was owned by Mrs. B. L. Jackson, who brought it to Blomidon in 1924.”

We learn from this little history that lumbering and shipbuilding once were main industries of the area. “Lumbering at one time seemed to be an important industry. Several old mills are still found around, two having been abandoned at the top of the Cape, and another at the foot. There is only one mill running now. This is owned by the Bigelow brothers and is located at the top of the mountain. At one time, when lumbering was more important, a sluice was built from the top to the foot of the Cape, and on which the logs were easily carried down.

“Shipbuilding has been carried on to a certain extent in times long past. Mr. Von Loomer was about the first shipbuilder in Blomidon. Later others followed his example and quite a number of vessels were built.”

As it still is today, the main industry over the years was farming. “Several fruit companies have from time to time been established in Blomidon. One went by the name of Whitewaters Fruit Company, still another was the Seaside Fruit company. Later was founded the Mill Creek Fruit Company, established abut 1918, under the auspices of Mr. Wallace DeWitt, Mr. Edward Pineo, Mr. Enos Lyons and others.”

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