Like many people interested in local history, I’ve often wondered about the origin of Kings County road and street names. Why, for example, was Brooklyn Street so named, and even more puzzling, why was it once called Shadow Street? And when and why was the street’s name changed?
Brooklyn/Shadow Street is but one example of county roads and streets with names of obscure, mysterious origin. However, the origin of some road and street names are relatively easy to determine – Belcher Street, Church Street and Middle Dyke Road are three examples and there are many others.
While the origin of county road and street names around Kentville, may be difficult to determine (especially along the northern border of the town) they may not remain a mystery for long. I was recently contacted by a former Kentville resident whose research into various thoroughfares immediately north of Kentville may determine how their names originated. For starters, by researching deeds and records of land transactions, Gary Young discovered the earlier names of various roads in a huge block roughly comprising Exhibition Street, Campbell Road, Oakdene Avenue, Lanzie Road, Scott Drive, McKittrick Road, Cornwallis Street, Nichols Avenue and Aldershot Road.
Some of these roads and streets start in the town of Kentville and run into the county. Mr. Young believes all or most of this area was once called the Pine Woods and was part of a Planter land grant given to the Chipmans. Eaton, in his Kings County history, appears to indicate that the Pine Woods was a much smaller area well north and northwest of Kentville, an area once occupied seasonally by Mi’kmaqs and settled by in several places by Blacks. Based on what Mr. Young told me, I believe he is correct about Pine Woods being a much larger area than Eaton indicates.
Hopefully Mr. Young plans will publish his findings. For one thing they’d be a welcome supplement to Eaton’s county history, which was researched and published over 100 years ago and could stand some updating – the history of towns like Kentville, Wolfville and Berwick and the villages, for example, definitely need updating.
In searching through deeds, Mr. Young has discovered some interesting, little known history about roads and streets in and around Kentville, especially when it comes to Lanzie Road and Brooklyn Street. Here’s one example of what he’s found and I quote from a recent note he sent me via email:
“My efforts over the last couple of years have revealed several things from deed searches,” he wrote. “Lanzie Road was most certainly called after a Landsey, Samuel Landsey. The new Cornwallis Road passed through his land connecting at the top to Oakdene Avenue, named in other deeds (as) Boyle Road, Barnaby Road, Middle Road and Wolcott Road, Campbell Road (East Road) Shadow Street …. and Church Street. He was deeded this land in 1848 by William Chipman.
“Samuel Landsey’s land mostly was on the corner of Nichols Avenue (the proposed new road to Kentville in 1846) and Shadow Street. With a portion on the other side of Nichols Avenue at the tip of what today is Merle Daniel’s land and was (once) Carl Barnaby’s …. Another interesting fact is that Scott Drive and McKittrick Road were called Pinewood Road in several deeds in the 1880s.”
Another interested tidbit found by Mr. Young is that Samuel Landsey may have been the slave of William Chipman, whose land holdings were part of the original grant to Handley Chipman, said grant including the Pine Woods. Young found records indicating William Chipman had deeded land in the Brooklyn/Shadow Street area to the Landseys; perhaps, we may speculate, after the manumission of the Landseys.