BOUDREAU’S BANK – AN ACADIAN SETTLEMENT? (December 19/11)

About the time plans were made to bring New England settlers to the Minas Basin, the provincial Governor abolished the old ruling military council. To replace it, Lord Edward Cornwallis then organized a civil government with headquarters in Halifax. Among the members of this governing Council was one Charles Morris, a New Englander who was also chief land surveyor for the province.

It was Morris who apparently laid out boundaries for townships on the Minas Basin and other areas. And it was Morris who in a letter to the governing Council in 1760 wrote that the actual settlement of the township of Cornwallis was to be at “Boudrou’s Bank (sic).”

Now Boudreau’s Bank, as it’s now spelled, obviously is a name that is of Acadian origin – it refers to a natural quay on the Cornwallis River used for decades by the French says Arthur W. H. Eaton in his Kings County history, but is this a fact? It’s surprising a government official, Morris, used an Acadian name for what may have been a river landing or was even aware of what the Acadians called the place. However, in his 1953 Master’s thesis on pre-Loyalist settlements around Minas Basin, James Stuart Martell quotes from the Morris letter to Council, pinpointing Boudreau’s Bank as the main settlement area in Cornwallis township.

I’ve found other references to Boudreau’s Bank as if it was a place name, an Acadian settlement. The Morris reference indicates it was a settlement of sorts, as does a reference to Boudreau’s Bank in the Port Williams history, The Port Remembers. This reference can be found on page 21 of the history and it reads: “Boudreau’s Bank became Town Plot when the Planters laid out the town site at this point.”

Now, let’s look at a monument near Boudreau’s Bank. The monument is tucked away on an old, little used road by the Cornwallis River and it commemorates the arrival of the Planters to the township of Cornwallis, which is on the south side of the Cornwallis River. The monument stands in a historically important, relatively isolated area of Kings County. The area is “historic” since it was near the monument’s site that the Planters disembarked after sailing up the Cornwallis River. The plaque on the monument refers to Boudreau’s Bank, noting it was the place known to the Acadians by that name, and it was a natural landing on the Cornwallis River.

The Planters landed on this site on June 4th 1760, the monument states. In his county history, Eaton refers to the site as the “disembarkement area,” one of the “chief places” selected as a landing point in Kings County. A town plot had already been laid out there – this is referred to on the monument – but it was to be a “town” in name only. Eaton writes that at the Town Plot the “bold bank” (of the Cornwallis River) gave way and made a natural landing area. Eaton says as well it was a “port” well used by the Acadians and was the “chief place of anchorage for vessels coming to Grand Pre through the whole French period in Acadia.”

Eaton said Boudreau’s Bank was a port on the Cornwallis River but was it also a tiny Acadian settlement? Possibly it was. The reference Morris made to Boudreau’s Bank indicates it was more than a port. Keep in mind that in the early days, when there were no roads, settlements often sprouted up at well-used landing places along rivers and the seashore. Whether Boudreau’s Bank was one of those places that evolved beyond being a port can only be speculated on.

Lorna Coleman beside Planters' monument

Lorna Coleman checks out the monument by the Cornwallis River which marks the place the Planters landed in 1760. Coleman is a descendant of the Planters. Boudreau’s Bank, which is nearby, is mentioned on the monument as the landing site. (E. Coleman)

SOME KINGS COUNTY MYSTERY HISTORY (December 5/11)

In 1752, was there a massacre of British soldiers, or possibly a massacre of French soldier and their Mi’kmaq allies in a major battle just inside town limits at the west end of Kentville?

Did Champlain’s discovery of what he called a “Christian cross” on the Bay of Fundy shore in 1604 indicate Europeans must have explored this area before the French arrived?

What explanation is there for the strange “fleet of ships” seen floating in the air over New Minas in the autumn of 1796, a fleet close enough for people to see the sides and ports of the ships?

In 1774, what strange “extinct order of animal” was found in the woods along the border of Kings and Hants County? Was it a fake?

Bloody massacres that made the history books, mystery ships floating in the sky, a Christian cross that shouldn’t be where it was found, bizarre wild beasts that resembled nothing known to man: These are only a few of the little mysteries I’ve come across in various historical records pertaining to this area. Of the four events mentioned, three are referred to in Arthur W. H. Eaton’s Kings County history. Here’s what Eaton reported.

In 1606 the great explorer Samuel de Champlain, following the course he had taken two years earlier with DeMonts, sailed up the Bay of Fundy and explored the area the French named Mines (Minas). In his account of this voyage, Champlain writes that in a harbor three or four leagues north of what we call Cape Split today he “found a very old cross covered with moss and almost rotten.” This, Champlain said, was a “plain indication that before this there had been Christians there.”

Amazing isn’t it. What’s even more amazing is that Champlain’s cross has never been investigated. Shades of Prince Henry Sinclair, you might say.

Much folklore exists on the 1752 massacre (a year Eaton doesn’t confirm, by the way) but most of it is speculation. Eaton writes that at a date not specified, a party of French and Indians ambushed a company of British soldiers going from Halifax to Annapolis. Eaton refers to the conclusion by one “Dr. Brechin” that the year this occurred was 1752.

The site where this took place is said to be in Moccasin Hollow (also called Bloody Run) in Kentville’s west end. The hollow lies along the old, no longer used extension of Main Street. Eaton writes that the trench where slain soldiers were buried was “visible, it is claimed, not more than 20 years ago.”

A couple of local historical writers mention the massacre and the folklore connected with it, taking it as gospel. However, it is likely no great battle, and certainly no great massacre of British troops, took place. No official records of such a clash exist and it appears to have been a minor skirmish. A local historian, the late Ernest Eaton, checked into the folklore and written records, concluded it was a minor affair, and the French and Mi’kmaq got the worst of it.

Bizarre or what? In his history Eaton writes that “we are at a loss to know” what sort of animal they found in the woods in 1774 on the kings-Hants border. “It has wool, and is of the size of a sheep, its head and nose is like a moose, its neck stands awry.”

Eaton gives us a hint as to what this strange beast might be when he refers to Halifax showmen who “had already learned the modern art of the manufacture of ‘freaks’.” Check the zoology texts if you will and you won’t find a reference to this unusual “animal.” It likely was a bit of taxidermy tomfoolery.

The published five volume diary of Simeon Perkins mentions this event, the sighting in the sky above New Minas of 15 ships, close enough that ports could be seen and a “man forwards of them with his hand stretched out.” This occurred on October 12, 1796. Perkins is skeptical – “it was only imagination” – but tells us that several people witnessed the sighting.

“A strange story,” Perkins writes, “is going that a fleet of ships have been seen in the air in some part of the Bay of Fundy …. by a girl about sunrise, and that the girl being frightened called out and that two men that were in the house went out and saw the same sight.”

This unusual sighting is mentioned in the 2009 publication, Wonders In The Sky, by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck.

NEWSPAPER HAD OLD HOTEL CONDEMNED (November 14/11)

The headquarters of stage coach travel before the railroad arrived, the “old Kentville hotel,” will be torn down, proclaimed the Berwick Register in its April 27, 1938 issue.

“Erected 123 years ago by a group of leading citizens in Kentville’s first community enterprise,” the Register said, “the old Kentville hotel where King George V was once a guest, has been sold and according to reports will be razed to make way for a large modern apartment house.”

For anyone interested in Kentville’s early day, the Register story on the hotel provided lots of little known history about the town and its connection with the stage coach line. The hotel about to be razed was hailed as the town’s oldest landmark by the Register. The hotel, located on what was known as “the Flat” on east Main Street, said the Register, was built in 1815 by one “Caleb Handley Rand and other citizen residents of the village and countryside (who) formed a company and built the 30-room hotel.”

On the hotels connection with early 19th century transportation, the Register noted that in 1829 a “stage coach commenced to run from Halifax to Annapolis Royal three times a week in summer and twice weekly in winter. The two coaches travelling East and West met at the hotel and exchanged passengers, freight and mail.”

When the Register reported the hotel’s upcoming demolition, the paper noted that at the time it was owned by the town’s postmaster, J. R. Lyons. The postmaster’s father, James, had “bought the other shareholders out in 1830 and operated the hostel for 70 years.” Sometime during this period (1884 say some sources) the Duke of York, who was to become King George V, stopped in Kentville “on a shooting expedition” and stayed at the hotel.

The Register concluded its report with an observation that while the hotel was to be demolished it was in superb condition – “that the old-timers built well is shown by the fine preservation of the structure.” The hotel was in its heyday during the period the stage coach was running, which, said the Register was “put out of business by the (arrival of the) railroad in 1869.” Said arrival no doubt also contributed to the hotel’s decline.

This is an excellent newspaper report, one mixing current events with town history. There’s one problem with it, however. The report was premature. Take a stroll today down east Main Street to “the flat” and you’ll finds that the old Kentville Hotel still stands there in all its glory. While it actually was slated for demolition, as the Register reported, the hotel was saved from destruction by the late Fred Huntley, who purchased it in 1938. With slight alterations by Mr. Huntley over a one year period, the old hotel came to life again as the “Stagecoach Apartments.” It has remained an apartment building ever since.

The former hotel is featured in the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia publication, Seasoned Timbers. First published in 1972, this is a book on unique historical buildings in western Nova Scotia. Describing the old building, Seasoned Timbers pays a well deserved tribute to Fred Huntley: “Much of the interior and exterior fabric, the two large chimneys and the many fireplaces (of the Kentville Hotel) remain as they were over one hundred and fifty years ago, thanks to the vision of Mr. Huntley.

TOURING WOLFVILLE’S OLDER HOMES (November 2/11)

If you participate in one of the walking tours John Whidden has been conducting in Wolfville, you’ll learn a lot about the town’s old wooden houses and discover some of its less known history.

In a nutshell, the walking tour is all about looking at and learning about the older homes of Wolfville. It was an excellent tour and if the opportunity arises to participate in one of them, I recommend that you do. Whidden is well versed in the finishes and styles used in building Wolfville’s old houses and he explains them so clearly even architecturally challenged guys like me understood them.

There were some surprises on the tour. Whidden pointed out, for example, that the stretch of street we toured contained homes built over a 160 period and “represent most of the architectural styles found in Wolfville.” Except for a few alterations and additions, Whidden said these homes have retained their original appearance.

In the tour I participated in, we started at the Acadia University arena complex and walked west along the north side of Main Street. Along the way, Whidden described the array of century plus homes found on the north side of the street, at the same time commenting on the builders, the previous occupants and the various architectural styles and finishes used in constructing these magnificent buildings.

As for styles and finishes, some examples of what I mean by this is Whidden’s description of the houses at 576 and 590 Main Street. Whidden said the former house was built by “a local carpenter” around 1890 and he described it as a “vernacular house in Gothic Revival style.” The latter house, built in 1862, Whidden described as New England colonial style with “gingerbread decoration” on the verandah.

I was surprised to learn that about 100 of Wolfville’s old houses were built before 1900; at least 25, Whidden said, were constructed between 1900 and 1930. The houses we viewed along Main Street all were built before 1920. The oldest along this stretch (Kent Lodge) was built circa 1761. Whidden described this house, which was built on an Acadian foundation, as the oldest dwelling in Wolfville and “one of the oldest and most important in the province.”

Whidden said – and this to me was most surprising of all – that Wolfville has managed to main whole streets of older homes where “except for renovations, nothing has changed.” His comments on the tour told me every old home in Wolfville has a story to tell. Many of the older houses are “historic” in that they’re associated with men and women who one way or another not only influenced the town but played important roles in the Valley’s commercial and agricultural development. One example is the house at 600 Main Street, built in 1893 for William H. Chase. Another is the house at 663 Main, the boyhood home of the Hon. George C. Nowlan.

On a minor note, if you take one of Whidden’s tours, be prepared to learn a lot of new lingo regarding the styles and finishes of older houses in Wolfville. For example: Ginger bread ornamentation, arts and crafts style, Georgian Revival, Queen Ann Revival, eastern stick style, Doric corner pilasters, Palladian windows and so on.

These are a few of the terms Whidden used on the tour and so aptly, clearly explained.

 

MUSEUM IS LOOKING FOR THE IRISH (October 24/11)

“Antigonish County has its Scots, Kings its Irish,” claims a friend who as an ardent “Scotophile” (if there is such a word) says he’s studied these things.

This may be askew when it comes to Kings County demographics, but this area does have many people with Irish surnames. Irish surnames outnumbered all others in a Catholic cemetery I looked at recently, for example. And according to local folklore, there are a couple of areas that once held small Irish settlements, one of them containing a forgotten, overgrown cemetery where numerous Irish settlers are buried.

If you need more convincing, look at the number of people with Irish names who in the 18th and 19th century settled all along the North Mountain, out on the New Ross Road, and in areas such as Centreville and Atlanta. Well after the Planters arrived, some of the land outside the main settlements was taken up by people out of Ireland. A few were grantees, some were “settled soldiers,” some were “removals by the British” during the potato famines.

It must be admitted that small as it is, there’s an Irish element in Kings County; not all us are of Planter or Scottish descendants. In fact, a move is afoot to seek out descendants of families from Ireland that settled in Kings County. Such a move is a current project of the Kings County Museum’s community and family history committee. In a recent newsletter on the topic of the Irish, the committee noted they settled at various times and in various localities in Kings. This is evident from the number of “Irish surnames (that) appear on stones in many of the 100 cemeteries in Kings County, on census and church records,” says the committee in the newsletter.

The main focus of the committee is to compile a “demographic profile” and gather “genealogical information” on these Irish settlers. If you have Irish ancestors who settled in Kings County the committee would like to hear from you. Any family history would be a welcome addition to the Museum’s archives.

Any input you may have re Irish ancestors, including research sources you may have found, will be welcome as well. If you have an Irish surname, or if one of your parents or grandparents did, you may wish to fill out the survey the committee has prepared. This can be found at the following: genealogy@okcm.ca.

A KENTVILLE HOUSE WITH ACADIAN CONNECTIONS (October 17/11)

Remarking on possible Acadian homesteads around Kentville and New Minas in his Kings County history, Arthur W. H. Eaton notes that one George Terry built a house “over a French cellar,” located on what was once the Post Road. This property at 229 Main Street in Kentville, the Terry-Young House, was designated a heritage property in 1995.

It’s uncertain if George Terry actually built this house at 229 Main Street, but evidence gathered from deed searches indicates he likely did. This would make the house nearly 200 years old, establishing it as one of the oldest homes in Kentville.

Early in the 1990s efforts were made to determine the history of this old residence and chronicle its Planter and possible Acadian lineage. The search was instigated by Elizabeth Tarrant-Young around 1992, culminating in the house being designated as a provincial Heritage Property in 1995.

The deed search mentioned above was conducted by a local historian, Heather Davidson. Ms. Davidson determined that the Main Street property was part of a farm lot first deeded to John Bishop Jr. in 1761. Over the years the property changed hands several times. In 1819, George Terry purchased a small section of the property and is believed to have built the house that now stands there. As mentioned by Arthur W. H. Eaton, the house was constructed on the remains of an Acadian cellar. The cellar, described in several reports as a fieldstone “curved Acadian cellar,” is part of the east side basement of the house.

In the report she prepared for the Department of Tourism and Culture, Heather Davidson’s deed search doesn’t mention any Acadian connection with the Terry-Young house. When she profiles the various owners of the property since 1761, however, Eaton’s reference to the Acadian cellar is quoted. Eaton may have been speculating about the origin of the cellar but it isn’t likely. According to several sources, Eaton had a hands on approach to the history of Kings County; that is, he often walked the land once occupied by the Acadians, doing a few “digs,” and was able first hand to pinpoint old homesteads.

We have to assume Eaton was correct about the Acadian origin of the basement wall in the Terry-Young house. This makes the house unique and it probably was one of several factors that lead to it being declared a heritage property.

IN 1930 – NEW CORNWALLIS INN REPLACES OLD (October 10/11)

Kentville would be “just another town if it weren’t for the Cornwallis Inn,” hotelier Don Wallace is quoted as saying in a 1986 issue of the Atlantic Advocate. Since much of Kentville’s prosperity can be attributed to the railway, and the railway built the Cornwallis Inn, no one can reasonably dispute Mr. Wallace’s statement. Kentville was a thriving railway town long before the Cornwallis Inn opened its doors on December 9, 1930, the opening of the hotel clinched Kentville’s place as the leading town in the Annapolis Valley.

The Cornwallis Inn had been converted into an apartment and business complex by Mr. Wallace after he purchased the property in 1976. As well as being named a heritage property, the Inn has the distinction of being the most famous building in the Annapolis Valley; or as the Advocate article put it, the Cornwallis Inn is “a unique Nova Scotia landmark.” Today, the Inn still dominates the Kentville landscape.

The forerunner of the Cornwallis Inn, as mentioned in a September column, was the Hotel Aberdeen. The Aberdeen’s name was changed to the Cornwallis Inn when it was purchased for $30,000 in 1919 by the Dominion Atlantic Railway. The railway operated the hotel, located immediately north of the railway station at the time, until it was torn down and replaced in 1930. In her history of the DAR Marguerite Woodworth notes that a larger and more modern hotel was needed in Kentville, which was growing rapidly – thanks Woodworth said to the railway having its headquarters there and the town being the center of the apple-growing district.

I found an interesting quote re the Hotel Aberdeen in the above mentioned Atlantic Advocate article; this sheds more, but not a lot more, light on a Kentville business that has a dearth of information on it available:

“The hotel was built for the Dominion Atlantic Railway, a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific, to replace the first Cornwallis Inn which had been operated since 1893 adjacent to the Kentville train station. The original hotel was built by Daniel McLeod and initially called the Aberdeen Hotel. But it was saddled with financial difficulties and indifferent service until 1919 when the DAR acquired it from Hally L. Cole for a mere $30,000. The railway renamed it the Cornwallis Inn in honor of Edward Cornwallis, the first governor of Nova Scotia and founder of Halifax.”

Construction of the new Cornwallis Inn began early in 1930 and was completed in 208 days. The Inn was built on the homestead of Judge Barclay Webster, a leading citizen of Kentville. Opened with great fanfare, the Inn was hailed as a “striking specimen of the Tudor style of architecture and the Old English theme.” The Inn went up on the Corner of Main and Cornwallis Street. On the other side of town, and with little fanfare, the old Cornwallis Inn was quickly being demolished.

WIDE AWAKE MERCHANTS – KENTVILLE STORES IN 1898 (September 19/11)

“The commodious dry goods establishment known as Whitehall is one of the oldest in Kentville, Mr. Ryan having been in business sine 1868 …. Mr. Ryan is an ex-mayor of the town and still finds time for public as well as business duties.”

It’s a few years after Kentville incorporated and the town is thriving. Kentville is doing so well by 1898 that The Herald, a Halifax daily, devoted an entire page in its June 8 edition to the town’s merchants. The above, one of over 30 businesses profiled on the page, refers to J. W. Ryan, one of Kentville’s prominent citizens through the latter part of the 19th century. Ryan served as the town’s mayor in 1894-1895 and in 1913-1914.

I came across a copy of The Herald page in the archives of the Kings County Museum recently and what caught my eye was a bold five column heading – “Kentville’s Wide Awake Merchants” – followed by a sub heading, “the “enterprising firms who make a reputation for Kings County.”

Reading on, I found a series of profiles, much of it historical, on various Kentville retail and manufacturing businesses. Except for one or two business that survived until recent times, most of the firms profiled in The Herald page are long gone and forgotten. One of the exceptions is the firm of T. P Calkin, which was established in 1847 and in 1898 had been in business for over a half century.

The historical information in the profiles should be of interest locally since Kentville has an incorporation anniversary this year. Some of the retail firms profiled were established in Kentville many years before incorporation and as the Herald indicated, contributed to the town becoming the business and shopping center of Kings County. One of the firms, the N.S. Carriage Co., became a pioneer in the automotive field when it built the McKay car in Kentville. T. P. Calkin, became a province wide leader in the hardware business. One of its original partners, W. Wylie Rockwell, later left the firm and established Rockwell Limited which still bears his name.

Another of the firms that remained in business until recent times and is mentioned by the Herald is Ross’ Bookstore. I’m not sure when this store closed but it was in business on Webster Street late in the 1950s. When it was profiled in The Herald the store had been operating for 20 years.

Also profiled by The Herald, and like T. P. Calkin, Rockwell Limited and Ross’ Bookstore, in business late in the 20th century, was the grocery firm of DeWolfe and Demont. This store, in business for decades when the Herald profiled it, will be remembered by senior citizens today as the Red Store.

Some of the “long gone and forgotten” stores in business in 1895 were a few I never heard of before discovering the Herald page. Among them were Leo Grindon & Co., The Boston Millinery Store, A. C. Moore, W. I. Grono, Dodge & Sealy and Dodge & Dennison Co. Ltd.

EARLY FARM DAYS IN WHITE ROCK (September 12/11)

“I have always been thankful my life span came when it did,” writes Gordon Young, a White Rock farmer who just celebrated his 90th birthday. “Half of my life was with horsepower, the other half with tractor power. We did not realize the dramatic change taking place as it happened over a period of time.”

Young made these observations in a series of stories he’s been writing about his early days in a farm community. As you’ll see from reading this extract from his tales, the changes in farming and farm life in the past half century have indeed been dramatic.

“Before mechanization everything moved at a slower pace. Farmers and neighbors helped each other and socialized; communities had their own schools, and the children were all well acquainted with other children in the community. I guess over the years I have slept in bout one third of the houses in White Rock while visiting my schoolmates. The hall was also a busy spot with Christmas concerts, bean suppers, entertainment shows and the Sons of Temperance, which met weekly.

In those days the young people used to have coasting parties on the mountain at night in the moonlight. We had two ponds that had cabins where we used to skate at night with a bonfire in the middle. Late in my teens (in the 1930s) White Rock had its own skating rink, complete with electric lights and a big cabin. The rink was enclosed, with a board fence and accommodations for spectators to watch the skating parties and hockey games. The rink was where Longs mill now stands.

“Older people used to spend a lot of time visiting. Nobody waited for an invitation (and) everyone was glad to have you come. The women of the community had their community club that met at a different home for each meeting. Often, on a Sunday evening, we would enjoy a hymn sing with music at someone’s home. If we went to help a neighbor, we could plan on a roast beef or corned beef and cabbage dinner.

“All that changed when mechanization came along. The older farmers had no choice but to give up. The younger farmers had to really love their job to stay with it. To stay on the farm you had to mechanize to compete. It did not mean just buying a new tractor. You had to have the equipment to match the tractor. To pay for it all you had to increase production. This meant you had to have more land to keep your equipment busy, more and larger buildings to keep your livestock and equipment.

“Finally, when you had everything where you wanted it, the new tractors came out. They were twice as big with new machinery to match. If you were going to stay in farming, you had to trade and get bigger in order to compete.

“In the end, those who stuck with it found they were the only ones in their community that were farming. These farmers were producing more than all the farmers (in the community) once produced. In the past, if a farmer went to a neighbor to work, he would not think twice about stopping for a hot dinner. Now there is no way you could let two hundred thousand dollars worth of equipments sit idle.

“Mechanization was intended to help farmers; instead it put 70 percent out of business. The rest had a 50 percent chance of succeeding or going bankrupt.”

Young concluded his story on farm life with observations on changes in the environment:

“Fifty years ago, on our way to the woods, we would usually see a fox or two, rabbits running across the road or a partridge flying from the wild apple trees. In the woods there were tracks everywhere. Deer would come late in the day and at night to browse off the tops of the hardwood trees that had been cut. It was a noisy spot with the chatter of squirrels and songbirds everywhere. Today the silence in the woods is deafening. You could walk a mile and not see a track.”

THE ABERDEEN – A GRAND OLD KENTVILLE HOTEL (September 5/11)

When Judge of Probate Edmund J. Cogswell wrote about Kentville in 1895, he mentioned the town’s seven hotels. Foremost among them, he said, was the Royal Oak and the Kentville Hotel, the former according to Cogswell being the better of the two.

Much later, in 1932, Leslie Eugene Dennison reminisced in The Advertiser about Kentville, covering the same period Cogswell wrote about. Dennison recalled the town having only five hotels or inns and he doesn’t mention the Royal Oak.

Surprisingly, Cogswell and Dennison fail to mention what for a time was the grandest hotel in Kentville and certainly in the Annapolis Valley. This was the Hotel Aberdeen which for about 40 years beginning in 1892 was the leading hostelry and social center. Before being torn down and replaced by an even more magnificent hotel in 1930, the Aberdeen stood in a prominent place near the railroad station. Kentville’s dominant position as the railway’s headquarters likely influenced the decision to place the Aberdeen there.

Among the numerous A. L. Hardy photographs of the Aberdeen that have survived is one reproduced many times in The Advertiser and in various historical publications. You’ll find it in Louis Comeau’s pictorial history of Kentville, for example.

Oddly, photographs and brief write-ups are the only record you’ll find on the Aberdeen despite its once prominent position in Kentville. How many rooms did the Aberdeen have in its three stories? What about its ambience, its dining room, its bar room? What conveniences did it offer besides the Union Bank and the fact that it was conveniently located close to the railway station? What did it cost to stay there overnight?

Search as I have, I’ve been unable to find answers to these questions. I can tell you the year the Aberdeen was built (1892) who built it (Daniel McLeod) when the railway purchased it and changed the name to the Cornwallis Inn (1920) and when the railway tore it down and built a larger, grander Cornwallis Inn across the other side of town (1930).

Other than these facts (that anyone can discover with a few minutes of research) I have no other information on the Aberdeen. Mabel Nichols Kentville history, The Devil’s Half Acre, contains a short history of the Aberdeen and from the researching I’ve done, this is the only written record currently available.

Aberdeen Hotel, Kentville, NS

This photograph of Hotel Aberdeen likely was taken during or after 1894 since the Union Bank of Halifax opened there in that year.