In 1897 Marshall Corkum started the first mill on Cape Blomidon, and at the time five families lived there. The mill was eventually purchased by Sir Frederick Borden, who opened a store at the mill site that was managed by his nephew.
In 1800s there was a shipyard at Mill Creek in the Blomidon area, operated for many years by the Rands and Woolavers. There was a store at Mill Creek as well, managed by Clyde Woolaver. The “shipyard boss” at Mill Creek was Harry Vaughan. Several small sailing vessels were built in this yard, among them the “Golden Light,” the “Hornet” and “The Linnet.”
Where am I getting these facts about the early days in Blomidon?
As readers will recall, in a June column I reviewed a history of Blomidon written in 1932 by the pupils of Whitewaters School. This is a valuable piece of rural lore and thanks to Philip Beeler, who was kind enough to provide me with a copy, it will be deposited at the Kings County Museum and preserved for future generations.
Some 50 years later this history was expanded and updated. Again thanks to Philip Beeler, I’ve been given the opportunity to review the updated version, which roughly covers a 50-years period following the 1932 essay; the update also included some history of early lumbering and shipbuilding in the Blomidon area in the 1800s, mentioned at the beginning of this column.
On the shipyard at Mill Creek, by the way, the late Leon Barron told me he wasn’t sure exactly where this was located. It was somewhere along the Blomidon shore, he said – and most likely where the creek spills out on the beach at Whitewaters – but Barron searched government documents constantly without finding out much about the shipyard or mill.
Barron was able to unearth all kinds of historical data on Sir Frederick Borden’s involvement with lumbering on Blomidon and Cape Split, however. He would have enjoyed reading the Blomidon update and the inclusion of early shipbuilding and lumbering lore in Blomidon.
To give credit where it is due, I should mention that the update was written by Roberta Greene. As well as the Blomidon history mentioned, Ms. Greene also included other informative historical tidbits about Blomidon. In the late 19th century, for example, Blomidon could boast of having its own hotel. The hotel was operated by Marshall Corkum and was called Marshall House.
Now little used except perhaps by hunters and snowmobilers, a road connects Blomidon and Scot’s Bay. Most residents of these areas are aware of the road’s existence – it’s now more of a trail than a road – but few know how it came into being. Credit Sir Frederick Borden. Ms. Green writes that Sir Frederick had the road cut through after he purchased Corkum’s mill and timberland on Blomidon. According to Greene, the road was once used as a mail route between Scot’s Bay and Blomidon. “With the opening of this road,” Greene writes, “the mail was daily from Scot’s Bay driven by a man by the name of Rufus Jess.”
Historical trivia buffs keep this in mind
Greene says that a telephone line was strung along the road from Sir Frederick Borden’s mill on Blomidon to Scot’s Bay. Earlier, Sir Frederick had two telephones installed in Blomidon, which along with the phone line to Scot’s Bay, undoubtedly were the first in the area.