When Wolfville officially incorporated on March 20, 1893, it boasted at least 20 stores and hotels, but pigs were kept within town limits and horses, oxen, and cows apparently had free rein in the streets.
Well, perhaps not exactly free rein. There was enough of a problem, however, that one of the first bylaws passed by the new town council regulated the roaming and passage of farm animals through the streets. Some 25 bylaws were quickly passed by council tackling the problem of roaming livestock, open sewers in the town, rubbish disposal and that like.
With many resolutions in place to govern the town, report the editors of Mud Creek, Wolfville’s unofficial history, the appearance of the town soon improved. But the editors noted that when it came to overall prosperity the new town still ranked slightly below Kentville and Berwick at incorporation. Perhaps at the time, these towns had as much livestock roaming the streets, but Kentville dominated as the railway centre and Berwick was the heart and soul of the apple industry.
On the prestige side, however, not a single town in the Annapolis Valley at the time came close to Wolfville when comparing educational institutions. Also on the plus side, of the three towns, Wolfville had the only outlet to the Minas Basin and its port – “the smallest in the world” – was a unique advantage that for decades contributed greatly to its overall prosperity.
A closer look at Wolfville the year it incorporated shows that besides its retail outlets, the town held several small industries, among them the Skoda bottling factory. The editors of Mud Creek hailed the 1890s as a growing period in Wolfville and it’s difficult to understand why they ranked the town below Kentville and Berwick. The number and variety of retail stores and services more than equalled that of Kentville and certainly surpassed Berwick and the villages in Kings County, including Canning.
In the pages of Mud Creek, the editors list business after business opening in Wolfville in the decade following incorporation and it’s impressive. Grist mills, sawmills and a creamery opened, along with a variety of retail and professional services. Incorporation, which led to an orderly running of the town, started a boom period that lasted well into the next century. This year, Wolfville is marking its 125th year of incorporation. The celebration began on March 20 and will continue throughout the year.