THE NAMING OF COUNTY ROADS (March 13/18)

Despite plenty of documentation, it’s usually difficult to determine how some of the road names in Kings County originated. But there are exceptions. Take Canard Street, for example, a 10 kilometre stretch of Highway 341 (from Porters Point to Upper Dyke) which likely was named because it runs parallel to the Canard River and along the northern edge of the Canard Dykes. For generations, residents along this highway have called it Canard Street and no matter what it says on highway maps, that’s what it is.

Not so obvious to people not familiar with our history is the origin of Middle Dyke Road. A visitor here might ask, “What’s a dyke and if there’s a Middle Dyke Road why isn’t there an upper dyke road and a lower dyke road?” After you explain about dykes and Acadians and aboiteaux you could tell the visitor that there is an Upper Dyke village and according to a map Kentville historian Brent Fox has in his book on the Wellington Dyke, the field or dyke just below it is called the Middle Dyke. Hence, I assume, this is the origin of the road’s name.

It’s likely that the original Middle Dyke Road was a two-kilometre stretch running north from Chipman Corner to Canard Street, crossing that area of the Canard River where the Acadians made an aboiteau. Today, Middle Dyke Road runs south to cross Church Street, Belcher Street and the Cornwallis River, and runs north to Canard Street and Sheffield Mills.

More than a few times in the past prominent residents have been honoured by roads being named after them. I’m not positive but I believe this is the case with Belcher Street and it was named after Benjamin Belcher. Eaton’s Kings County history notes that Benjamin was the founder of the Belcher family in Kings County. A latecomer, Benjamin didn’t receive a grant here until 1797 but he quickly became one of the most prominent residents of Kings County

Eaton says that Belcher was “an important landowner and farmer, a prominent merchant, a warden of St. John’s Church, a representative to the Legislature, and the owner of several slaves.” What Eaton didn’t mention was that Belcher’s grant lay along a road connecting what was to become Port Williams with Horton Corner (Kentville). Belcher maintained a general store along this road, a store that served a wide area of the county Hence naming the road after such a distinguished gentleman would seem like a normal thing to do.

When he died in 1802, Benjamin Belcher left a substantial sum towards the construction of a new church along what was is now known as Church Street. The St. John’s Anglican Church, which was formally opened in 1810, was the second church built on the street. The first Anglican Church was built about a mile east at what is known as Fox Hill. The Anglican Church history says the first church was never consecrated but a cemetery was established there and its remains are still visible.

What is fairly certain is that the Acadians also built a church along this road in the vicinity of Chipman Corner. So with three churches having existed at different periods along a relatively short stretch of road, naming it Church Street was a given. Church Street is (or was as recently as the 1950s) recognized as a community in the book Place Names and Places of Nova Scotia and at one time had its own school and postal station.

The piece of highway from Canning to Sheffield Mills, while designated as the start of Highway 221, has been known as Borden Street for generations. Most likely it is named after Canning’s most famous son, Sir Frederick Borden. I understand, however, that prominent farmers named Borden once lived on this road so maybe there’s no Sir Frederick connection.

Terrys Creek Road in Port Williams is another street with a historical connection. Early on, until 1856, the village was called Terrys Creek for the first family to settle there. One John Terry was a grantee in Cornwallis in 1761and supposedly it was his family who settled it what was to become the village of Port Williams.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s