THE LEGACY OF DR. LIN COMEAU (January 16/12)

In 1955 Dr. Lin Comeau and his wife Edna purchased the A. A. Thompson house on Wickwire Hill in east end Kentville.

After purchasing the house, writes Kentville historian Louis Comeau, his parents got into serious collecting.  “It had all started with stamps as my mother had been collecting them before she met my father.  After they married in 1941 he too acquired her collecting interests.”

Edna and Lin Comeau decided to fill their Wickwire Hill property with appropriate furnishings to suit the age of their house which was circa 1900, says Louis.  The result was a large collection of antiques, historical documents and photographs. Many of these documents and photographs concerned various Kentville businesses, but more about this later.

Louis Comeau says his father and mother’s collecting “really got out of hand.”  Soon, he says, the “entire house (a two and a half storey Queen Ann revival) and its two adjacent two storey carriage houses became filled with antiques.

“It became quite an eclectic collection indeed; everything from hat-pin holders to a horse drawn surrey (a carriage with a fringe on top) to a complete circa 1920s general store.”

Born in Comeauville, Digby County, in 1904, Dr. Lin Comeau attended College Sainte-Anne, graduating in the late 1920s.  Comeau served at Camp Aldershot as a Sergeant in the Canadian Dental Corp during the 2nd World War.  After the war he entered Universitie de Montreal, graduating in 1948 with a degree in dentistry.  In 1949 Comeau opened a practice on Aberdeen Street in Kentville and it was here that he began collecting in earnest.

Eventually Dr. Comeau amassed a huge amount of Kentville …..  “Included in the collection,” Louis says, “was thousands of old papers and photographs from Kentville.”  The collection provided the base for the book Louis compiled on the town of Kentville – Historic Kentville, published by Nimbus in 2003.

To Dr. Lin Comeau must go credit for amassing a collection that has preserved much of Kentville’s past.  This is his legacy, a work that has been carried on by his son.  Credit must also go to Louis for expanding the Kentville collection. He notes that his father and mother inspired him to “carry on their ideals.”  After his father died in 1975, Louis concentrated on “collecting anything of interest and importance from the town.”  Since 1975 he has specialised in collecting Kentville artefacts; currently he is cataloguing the entire collection.  His book, along with Mabel Nichols work, The Devil’s Half Acre, is the only published history of Kentville.

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