Pictures of Halifax Nova Scotia

The Lives of the Old North End

The installation of the tram tracks on Gottingen Street ca. 1895 - Nova Scotia Archives: Nova Scotia LIght and Power Fonds, MG9, vol. 226, pg. 65.Over the last year I have had the privilege to be involved with the organizing committee of the Gottingen 250 Festival from the earliest planning meetings right up to now and it has been extremely fulfilling to see the vision that the committee saw come together.

One of the legacy pieces that the Festival committee has been working on is a web-based Walking History Map App which will allow people to walk down the street and from the convenience of their tablets of cell phones learn about the history of the street and the people who have lived on it.

Today we can combine different media – photos, sound recordings, text – and present it on our crazy technology and walk down the street and learn about our neighbourhoods. However in the past we just had pen and paper. One of the richest historical resources we uncovered in our research for the Map App was a description of the street ca. 1875 written in 1940 by 73 year old Laleah M. Hendry.

So come, let’s take a walk down Gottingen Street in 1875…

The description of Gottingen Street ca. 1875 written by Hendry was done more than seventy years after she lived on the street and are recollections of when she was about eight years old. That being said this three page typescript (transcribed and presented here with its original notes and formatting) provides us with an amazing look back at a street that was primarily residential but had business and commercial enterprise, as well as a bear and a peacock.

Below is the recollection in its entirety. Immediately following the transcription I will try to identify some of the things she mentions as we walk from the North end of Gottingen Street to the intersection of Gottingen and Cogswell streets ca. 1875:

Old Gottingen Street About 1875

I sometimes wonder if there is anyone besides myself who remembers old Gottingen Street in the Seventies as I do. I was a small girl of eight years when we left that part of Halifax, but the street as it was then seems most clearly printed in my mind.

To begin at Fort Needham, to which was the longest walk we children ever took, somewhere near there further out I think were the two old Merkel homes, two very interesting old homes, then you came to Young Street running down to Lockman. Kaye Street running same way, on which was a Methodist Church, then St. Joseph’s Church, then Russell Street where was St. Mark’s Church.

To continue on Gottingen, you come now to Wellington Barracks, occupied by British Soldiery, where the high stone wall was only party built at that time, and the blanks filled in with a palisade of split poles through which we children peered in and sometimes, oh wonderful saw a bear tied to a pole. Then Dr. Walker’s beautiful home opposite, at which place I remember seeing peacocks. The fine old Admiralty house on East side, adjoining the barrack property, opposite again the old Bell home occupied by Hon. Hugh Bell, called Bloomfield, and entered by an avenue of trees from Gottingen. Then, on! Two beautiful homes opposite each other, at corners of North and Gottingen, lived in by Martin P. and Charles Black. At southwest corner was a dear old-fashioned house in from street lived in at one time by the Mackinlays, ancestors of Andrew and Williams Mackinlays who for years kept well known stationery shop on Granville Street. Then the old Harrington place, also in from street, and called “Hawthrone Place”, later turned into three dwelling houses, opposite the Hendry house, of which family I was a member.

1878 Hopkins Atlas of Halifax, portion of Plate F, showing the East side of Gottingen Street between Gerrish and Cunard Streets.Then Mrs. Clayton, mother of Clayton and Sons, and a Mr. McInnis next; next the Deaf and Dumb School, of which I remember a Mrs. Vinecove as matron and a Mr. Hutton as Superintendant. On other side of street lived a Mr. Sutcliffe and family, then came three houses alike, in one of which lived the Logan family for many years. Next came a house occupied by a Miss Clarke and her mother. Miss Clarke kept a small private school which I attended. Then came the Old Ladies Home, the original house I have heard was once owned and lived in by the Knight family, but was split in two, moved away and the present building took its place. Next to them came a Mr. Gully and family, and next again a Mr. James MacLearn and family, very dear friends of ours, then somewhere near, a house in from the street, which in that day of mine was occupied by Rev. Dr. Forrest, then pastor of St. John’s Church on Brunswick Street, and afterwards President of Dalhousie College. The Bayne family lived in a very nice stone house corner of Cunard Street, then North Baptist Church, since removed to Robie, and Zion Church, which I think is still there. A Mr. Parker lived in a very nice house in from street, and on other side a Colonel Clouleith, who kept several small dogs.

It's Interesting

  • Amor De Cosmos (August 20, 1825 – July 4, 1897) was a Canadian journalist, publisher and politician. He served as the second Premier of British Columbia.
    Amor de Cosmos was born William Alexander Smith in Windsor, Nova Scotia to United Empire Loyalist parents. His...

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