History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation

Chapter 12
1 January 1880   to   31 December 1889

We live in an age in which rapid change is certain. We have lived in a century that has experienced more change than any other.

Or so we believe.

In fact, the generation that had to deal with the greatest changes in business, commerce, war, and all other aspects of human life lived in the first half of the nineteenth century, not the second half of the twentieth...

When Was the Real Techno-Revolution? by Stephen Ambrose, December 1996

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1880 February 2

First Telephone in Yarmouth

Telephone service began in Yarmouth, when Hon. L.E. Baker had his office and residence connected with the Yarmouth Herald building, which later became the central exchange.

1880 April 29

The Bell Telephone Company of Canada is Incorporated

On this day, Melville Bell, father of Alexander Graham Bell, incorporated The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, as Royal Assent was given to the Act authorizing the formation of the firm.  Its stock was soon listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.  The invention was developed at the Bell homestead in Brantford, Ontario, and the world's first business telephones were installed in Hamilton, Ontario.  The Bell Telephone Company of Canada operated a telephone service in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the 1880s.  120 years later, in 2000, this company is the largest telephone company in Canada.
[National Post, 29 April 2000]

Act of Incorporation of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada
29 April 1880

Alexander Graham Bell Institute
Cape Breton University

Alexander Graham Bell, who resided increasingly for most of his life in Nova Scotia, Canada, received "the master patent" (U.S. Patent 174,465) for the telephone in the United States in 1876.

Bell Canada: Inception

Alexander Melville Bell

What is known today as BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) was created in 1983 through a corporate reorganization whereby BCE became parent to over 80 companies previously known as the Bell Group, of which Bell Canada, the country's largest telephone company, had been head.

BCE  (Bell Canada Enterprises Incorporated)
BCE website

Bell Canada
Bell Canada website

Bell Canada

Bell Aliant
Bell Aliant website

Nova Scotia Telephone Company
(1885 - 1910)

Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company
(1910 - 31 May 1999)

Aliant Inc.
(1 June 1999 - 9 July 2006)
As of 1 June 1999, BCE Inc. owned 41.6% of Aliant

Bell Aliant
(10 July 2006 -   )

Charles Fleetford Sise Sr. (1834-1918)
First president of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada

Charles Fleetford Sise (1834-1918)

1881 May 5

First Shipload of Pipes

On this day, the first shipload of pipes for the Yarmouth Water Company docked at Yarmouth. The second load arrived 29 May, and the third 18 July.

1881 November 19

Installation of Water Pipes Completed

On this day, the last pipe was installed for the Yarmouth Water Company.

1881 May 23

First Submarine Telegraph Cable into Canso

On this day, the first trans-Atlantic submarine (underwater) telegraph cable was landed at Canso, marking the beginning of the period 1881-1962 during which Canso performed a pivotal role in telecommunications between Europe and North America.

1882 June 1

Yarmouth Telephone Company

The Yarmouth Telephone Company was organized, with Directors: Anselme O. Pothier, President, J. Murray Lawson, Secretary-Treasurer, and Thomas Killam.

1882 June 3

Nova Scotia Steamship Company

The Nova Scotia Steamship Company was organized.

1882 June 9

Birth of A. Walters

On this day, Angus Walters was born at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Walters took the helm of the newly-launched Bluenose fishing schooner in 1921 and sailed her until 1938, mostly in commercial fishing voyages on the North Atlantic, but from time to time competing in races against other schooners. Walters never lost a race.
[National Post, 9 June 1999]

Bluenose: A Canadian Icon
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management

1882 June 17

Telephone Service Begins
Yarmouth To Tusket

The Yarmouth Telephone Company's line to Tusket and Tusket Wedge was opened for business.

1882 August 25

Telephone Service Begins
Yarmouth To Port Maitland

This was the first day of regular operation of the Maitland Telephone Company's line between Yarmouth and Port Maitland, a distance of about 10 miles 15 kilometres. This was less than seven years after 10 March 1876, when the first complete sentence was spoken over any telephone.

1883 February 17

First Issue of the Yarmouth Times

The Yarmouth Times newspaper had 4 pages, and was published each Wednesday and Saturday.

1883 February 27

First Fatal Accident on the WCR

The first fatal accident on the Western Counties Railway occurred on this day, near the foot of Commercial Street in Yarmouth. Frank Dulong was run over by a train.

1883 July

First Steel Ingots Cast

Steel ingots were produced at the Trenton plant of the Nova Scotia Steel Company in July 1883, and "were the first produced in Canada on a commercial basis". Five years later the basic open-hearth process af making steel was introduced. [The quote is from a paper read by Major Charles Cantley at the 1913 annual meeting of the Canadian Mining Institute in Ottawa.]

1883 September 8

Maitland Telephone Company

The first general meeting of the Maitland Telephone Company was held at the office of W. Stayley Porter, Esq. It was reported that during the year the telephone line from Yarmouth to Port Maitland, Yarmouth County, had been extended to Meteghan Station and new offices were opened at Salmon River, Meteghan River and Meteghan Station, in Digby County.

1883 October 6

Bermuda's First Currency Note Came from Halifax

The Merchants' Bank of Halifax (later, the Royal Bank of Canada), established in Halifax in 1864, opened an agency in Bermuda in 1882 via the local Butterfield's Bank. On October 6th, 1883, it issued its own money for use in Bermuda. It began circulating a $5 Canadian note printed by the American Bank Note Company in Ottawa for its bank in Halifax and converted to a one pound, one shilling (guinea) note for use in Bermuda. This Canadian/Bermudian note has considerable historical value as the first "Bermudian" paper money to arrive in Bermuda; some 31 years before Bermuda got its own official currency notes. Later, the Merchants' Bank of Halifax divorced itself from Butterfield's Bank in Bermuda and ran its own branch bank in Bermuda for four years. Thus it also became the first (and only) non-Bermudian bank in Bermuda. Later yet, the Merchants' Bank of Halifax's Bermuda operation was bought out by banking newcomers in Bermuda who built it into the present day Bank of Bermuda Ltd.

1883 November

Blenkhorn Axe Factory Busy

Blenkhorn & Sons, Canning, Kings County, ship 100 axes a day from their factory, and employ fourteen hands.
[Halifax Morning Chronicle, 19 November 1883]

1883 November

Steam Saw Mill, Yarmouth

G.F. Allen & Co.'s steam saw mill in Yarmouth turns out 1,200,000 staves, 1,000,000 shingles, and 800,000 feet of lumber a season.
[Halifax Morning Chronicle, 19 November 1883]

The "board foot" was a measure widely used for sawn lumber in the 1800s and
1900s, continuing into the 1990s. A board foot was/is legally defined as a piece of
wood one foot long, twelve inches wide, and one inch thick. Production statistics,
inventories, and prices of sawn timber were usually stated in terms of board feet.

For example, a "2 × 4" nine feet long contained six board feet of wood.
(A "2 × 4", widely used for framing interior partitions in houses, was a standard
size of sawn timber with a cross-section two inches thick and four inches wide
5cm thick and 10cm wide usually sold in lengths of eight, nine, or ten feet.)

A "2 × 12" 24 feet long contained 32 board feet of wood. (A "2 × 12", often
used for floor joists, was a standard size of sawn timber with a cross-section
two inches thick and twelve inches wide 5cm thick and 30cm wide
usually sold in lengths from about 14 feet to 24 feet.)

"2 × 4" in writing, is said aloud as "two by four".
"2 × 12" in writing, is said aloud as "two by twelve".

The term "board feet" (or "feet board measure") was often abbreviated
to simply "feet", as in the newspaper item quoted above. It was generally
assumed that everyone understood "800,000 feet of lumber" meant
"800,000 board feet of lumber".

One board foot = 144 cubic inches = 2360 cubic centimetres

800,000 board feet = 1888 cubic metres

1884 January 1

Standard Time Comes to Yarmouth

On this day, Standard Time was adopted by several Yarmouth business establishments. On 3 March 1889, it was adopted by the churches, and a few weeks later was generally in use.
[Excerpted from Yarmouth Reminiscences, by J. Murray Lawson, 1902]

1884 February 11

Carleton Telephone Company

On this day, the Carleton Telephone Comapny was organized, to supply telephone service to a rural area north and east of Yarmouth. The first Directors were S.M. Ryerson, President; Edwin Crosby, Secretary-Treasurer; W.H. Miller, A.R. Durkee, and Nathan Hilton. At the beginning, the company's capital was $500, but in August 1895 this was doubled to $1000. The Carleton Tel. Co. continued in business for over seventy years, until 3 September 1958, when it sold its entire undertaking, including plant, apparatus, and equipment (all in working order), and rights-of-way and goodwill, to MT&&T, officially abandoned its territory and went out of business forever.
History of Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia

1885 January 1

Adoption of Standard Time

On this day occurred the official and legal adoption in Canada, of Standard Time based on the Greenwich Observatory's 24-hour system, pursuant to the recommendation by Sir Sandford Fleming, following the International Prime Meridian Conference in Washington, DC, USA, in October 1884.
Source: Department of Canadian Heritage
List of important anniversaries

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List of important anniversaries
Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa

Archived: 2000 February 29

Archived: 2001 January 9

Archived: 2001 November 25

1885 April 24

Town of North Sydney Incorporated

On this day, the Town of North Sydney was incorporated.
[Halifax Daily News, 24 April 2000]

1885 May 1

First Issue of the Yarmouth Telegram

The first issue of the weekly (each Friday) Yarmouth Telegram newspaper was published this day.

1885 October 8

First Four-Masted Schooner

On this day, the first four-masted schooner in Canada, J.M. Blackie, was launched at Great Village, Colchester County, Nova Scotia.
[Halifax Daily News, 8 October 1999]


Orangedale Railway Station

Nova Scotia: Railway Station at Orangedale, Inverness County, built in 1886
The Railway Station at Orangedale, Inverness County, was built in 1886 by the Intercolonial Railway, as part of the construction of the new main line railway from Point Tupper to Sydney. This picture was taken in the mid-1990s.

Orangedale Station website

Orangedale Historical Society website

1886 March 28

Birth of R.P. Bell

Nowhere in the history of the Maritime provinces is there a more colourful or Nova Scotia: Ralph Pickard Bell (1886-1975) controversial character than Halifax-born industrialist, Ralph Pickard Bell (28 March 1886 - 31 March 1975). With an iron will and a vocabulary as foul as his temper, he triumphantly presided over some of the most influential businesses of his time — The Lockeport Company, the shipping firm of Pickford and Black, The Halifax Insurance Company and, perhaps most notably, National Sea Products Ltd. which, at its inception in 1945, became the largest and most powerful fish company on the Eastern seaboard. From Bell's high-profile second marriage to New Brunswick heiress, Marjorie Young Smith of Shediac, to his celebrated stint as Mount Allison University's inaugural chancellor, Ralph Pickard Bell: A Biography provides an intriguing look at both the personal and professional highs and lows of one of Canada's most fascinating figures.

Ralph Pickard Bell
Mount Allison University Archives

Ralph Pickard Bell: A Biography by W. John E. Williams.

The Wayback Machine has an archived copy of this website:
Ralph Pickard Bell: A Biography

Archived: 2001 November 2

1886 May 11

Incorporation of
Maitland Telephone Company of Yarmouth

The Legislature passed an Act (chapter 167, 1886) to incorporate the Maitland Telephone Company of Yarmouth Limited, with founding shareholders John H. Harris, W. Stayley Porter, Joseph Goudey, and Robert E. Harris. The Maitland Telephone Company had been doing business for several years previously, apparently as an informal association.

1886 December 20

Coast to Coast Telegraph

On this day, the new all-Canadian electric telegraph system was officially put into operation for regular traffic. The official inaugural message was sent from Westminster, British Columbia, to Canso, Nova Scotia, in three minutes, and was then sent onward to England by submarine cable.


New Glasgow Electric Company

The Legislature passed an Act (chapter 102, 1887) to incorporate the New Glasgow Electric Company Limited.

New Glasgow Electric Company


Truro Electric Company

The Legislature passed an Act (chapter 108, 1887) to incorporate the Truro Electric Company Limited.

Truro Electric Company

1887 February 1

Yarmouth Steamship Company

The Yarmouth Steamship Company was incorporated with L.H. Baker as President, Lyman E. Cann and J.W. Moody as Directors.

1887 May 2

Steamship Yarmouth Arrives

The steel-hull steamship Yarmouth, built in Glasgow, arrived in Yarmouth, and made her maiden trip to Boston a few days later. She remained in service on the Yarmouth - Boston route for several years.

1887 May 3

Incorporation Act for the CVR

On this day, the Act of Incorporation of the Cornwallis Valley Railway was passed by the Nova Scotia Legislature. The CVR built a railway track between between Kingsport and Kentville in Kings County, Nova Scotia, and began operating trains in December 1890. Later, a branch line was built from Centreville to Weston, also in Kings County.
Source: History of the Dominion Atlantic Railway, (book) by Marguerite Woodworth, printed by the Kentville Publishing Company, Kentville, October 1936

Also see: History of the Cornwallis Valley Railway at

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1887 July

Yarmouth Street Railway Company

The Yarmouth Street Railway Company was organized, with Directors James J. Lovitt, President, and B.F. Pearson of Halifax, Secretary.

Yarmouth Street Railway Company

1887 November 28

Bell Tel Sells to Nova Scotia Tel

Bell Telephone sold its telephone and telegraph operations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to the Nova Scotia Telephone Company.
[National Post, 28 November 2000]

Nova Scotia Telephone Company
(1885 - 1910)

1887 December 29

Yarmouth and Shelburne Steamship Company

The Yarmouth and Shelburne Steamship Company was organized, with authorized capital of $21,000 in shares of $25 each.


Freezing Plant at Canso

"In 1888, A.N. Whitman & Son started the first Cold Storage for freezing bait."
[From The Canso News, 29 April 1909, published monthly by A.N. Whitman & Son Limited, Canso, Guysborough County.]


The Bridgewater Bulletin Begins Publication

Charles J. Cragg, an old-school newspaperman who fearlessly expressed his opinions on any subject, started a weekly newspaper in 1888 in Bridgewater, Lunenburg County. T.K. Cragg moved to Bridgewater from Halifax during pre-Confederation days. He built and lived in the house on the north-east corner of Victoria Road and St. Phillips Street. The Craggs had four sons and two daughters and were recognized as one of the most clever and interesting families of old-time Bridgewater. Some years before 1888, Mr. Cragg built himself a large office on the east side of King Street, across from the post office. Charles was the second son. He went to the States to seek his fortune and returned to Bridgewater in 1888 with one object in mind — to start a newspaper. His father offered the lower flat of his King Street building and Charles named his paper The Bulletin. Although his father was reported to have been a Liberal, Charles was a Tory. Most newspapers of that day had political affiliations and apparently what this energetic and fearless young man would write in his paper at election time defies description. In 1932, F.H. MacPherson of Stellarton purchased the newspaper from Mr. Cragg who had published and edited it for more than 40 years. In 1938 The Bulletin was amalgamated with the Mahone Bay South Shore Record and the name was changed to The Bridgewater Bulletin and South Shore Record. About two decades later this was simplified to The Bulletin.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 10 February 1999]


Pickford & Black of Halifax Takes Over
the Halifax - Bermuda shipping run

In 1888, two years after Cunard's Halifax Bermuda service was canceled, the Cunard vessels Alpha and Beta, which had been operating on the Halifax Bermuda West Indies run, were sold to Halifax's Pickford & Black. Alpha was used to provide a monthly Halifax - Bermuda - Turks Island service, until she was replaced by a refitted Beta in 1897.

Halifax - Demerara Shipping Service

In 1889, Pickford & Black of Halifax introduced a second service, from Saint John and Halifax, via Bermuda and the Windward Islands, to Demerara, British Guiana, using the vessels Tayworth Castle and Duart Castle. This service continued until 1913.

Partners Robert Pickford (1841-1914) and William A. Black (1847-1934) were ship chandlers and grocers of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Pickford founded the business in 1870, and Black joined the firm in 1878.  The company is still in business in 2011, with an office located in the Gogswell Tower on Barrington Street in Halifax.

1888 January 6

Yarmouth Streets Lit by Electric Arc

The first electric arc street lights in Yarmouth, comprising several street lamps on Main Street, one on Water Street, and one on Parade Street, were put into operation on the evening of Friday, 6 January 1888.

"Most of the stores on Main Street have been lighted and present a brilliant appearance, one arc light furnishing abundant illuminating power for the largest apartment. The Company has placed several street lamps on Main Street, one on Water Street, and one on Parade Street, which furnish a beautiful light in their vicinity."

"A strong popular feeling prevails in favour of the adoption of electric light for street lighting. The displays on Saturday [January 7th] and Monday [January 9th] evenings afforded evidence that a proper disposal of twenty or thirty street lights would splendidly illuminate all the principal thoroughfares, and if the cost were not excessive would prove more satisfactory than the present system" of gas street lights.

[Yarmouth Herald, 11 January 1888]

"The Company" may have been the
Yarmouth Street Railway Company,
which was incorporated in 1887 and
had the legal authority to generate
and distribute electric power.

1888 Summer

Passenger Trains To and From Pictou
1888 Summer Schedule

Pictou County

Pictou Town Branch
Intercolonial Railway

1888 Summer Schedule, Passenger Train Service

Four Passenger Trains Each Way Each Day
Depart Pictou 6:00am 9:45am 2:20pm 5:40pm
Arrive Westville 6:23am 10:20am 2:52pm 6:12pm
Arrive Stellarton 6:30am 10:40am 3:00pm 6:25pm
Arrive New Glasgow 6:43am 11:05am 3:20pm 6:35pm
Depart New Glasgow 7:00am 11:15am 3:30pm 8:45pm
Leave Stellarton 7:35am 11:35am 4:00pm 9:10pm
Leave Westville 7:47am 11:45am 4:12pm 9:20pm
Arrive Pictou 8:20am 12:15pm 4:50pm 9:50pm

[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, all issues, September 1888]

1888 September

Long Working Hours

Railway Conductor Foster is on the road every day from 6am to 10pm — long hours for any man.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 29 September 1888]

1888 September

Pictou Railway Station

Receipts at the Pictou railway station last month (September 1888) were $18,000. Business on the Pictou branch line is booming.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 20 October 1888]

1888 September 22

300 Casks of Kerosene Oil

Three hundred casks of kerosene [for oil lamps] were landed at the New Glasgow railroad station in one day this week. Not bad for an electric light town.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 22 September 1888]

1888 September

Best Lighted Town in the Province: Truro

Three Truro Items

Truro is the best lighted town in the province.

The veteran Hiram Hyde bears up bravely under his newly won laurels. May his shadow never grow less.

Craig's hat factory runs till 10 o'clock at night, and turns out 24 dozen hats daily.

[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 22 September 1888]

1888 September 22

$10,000 in Gold

A despatch to the Truro Foundry and Machine Company says the Malaga company at Malaga, Queens County, obtained two hundred and fifty oz. (ounces) 7.78 kg of gold as the result of ten days' crushing ... It looks like a $10,000 brick this month.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 22 September 1888]

At that time, gold and silver were weighed by the Troy Weight system
(different from the Avoirdupois Weight system) in which
    12 ounces (oz.)   =   5760 grains, and
    3.086 grains   =   0.200 gram,
    thus 1 oz. (Troy)   =   31.11 gram
according to the International Standard, 1913.
From Handbook of Engineering Fundamentals first edition,
edited by Ovid W. Esbach, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1936

Note: In the 1880s, gold was weighed by Troy ounces (not Avoirdupois).
In 2002, the price of gold was still quoted in Troy ounces in the financial pages
of Canadian and U.S. newspapers.
How much would this quantity of gold
be worth at today's prices?

14 August 2002

In London, on 14 August 2002, gold was trading at US$314.70 per Troy ounce.
250 ounces, "the result of ten days' crushing," would be worth US$78,700.

On 14 August 2002, exchange rate between Canadian and U.S. currency
was US$1.00   =   C$1.5635.

At this exchange rate, the 250 ounces of gold would be worth about C$123,000.

1888 September 24-28

Provincial Exhibition, Truro, Nova Scotia
Sept. 24th to 28th, 1888

Special Trains on the
Intercolonial Railway and
Eastern Extension Railway

Excursion return tickets at single [one way] first class fare will be issued from all booking stations in Nova Scotia to Truro on 24th and 25th September, good for return up to 28th September. Special cheap excursions on the 24th Sept. from Halifax, Amherst, Pictou, and Antigonish, to Truro. Train leaving Halifax at 7:30 o'clock, Amherst at 6:50 o'clock, Pictou at 7:00 o'clock, and Antigonish at 5:30 o'clock. Returning leave Truro for Amherst at 21:00 o'clock, for Halifax at 21:15 o'clock, and for Pictou and Antigonish at 21:30 o'clock. Fares: — Halifax, Amherst, Pictou, and New Glasgow $1.00, Antigonish $1.50, with correspondingly low rates from intermediate stations.
D. Pottinger
Railway Office, Moncton, N.B.,
19th Sept. '88

[Advertisement in The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 22 September 1888]

1888 September 26

5,000 Passengers to Truro

It is estimated that the trains took 5,000 people to Truro on Wednesday [26 September 1888.] Conductor Miller says he never saw as many people in any train as the one he took to New Glasgow that evening. There were over 100 in each car. There was scarcely standing room.

The special train from Antigonish on Wednesday morning for Truro had seven cars crowded when it left New Glasgow.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 29 September 1888]

1888 September 29

New Glasgow Electric Company

The New Glasgow electric light company are preparing to put in the incandescent light, and expect to have it running in about one month. They are getting the most improved plant. The system to be adopted is one of perfect safety, as the wires can be handled without the least fear of danger.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 29 September 1888]

The last sentence, about "perfect safety," shows us that
public relations misrepresentations are not a modern invention.

New Glasgow Electric Company Limited

1888 October

Three New Railways Near Completion

Within a year, says Chief Engineer Schrieber, the Oxford & New Glasgow railway, the Cape Breton railway, and the Short Line railway to Montreal, will all be in operation.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 6 October 1888]

All three railways were completed in 1889, and were of great economic importance to Nova Scotia.

The "Short Line to Montreal" was the Canadian Pacific main line from Saint John to Montreal, across Maine via Vanceboro and Brownville; in 2001 this railway remains in operation, under ownership by the New Brunswick Southern Railway and others.

The "Cape Breton railway" was the ICR main line between New Glasgow and Sydney, via Antigonish, Mulgrave, Point Tupper, Orangedale and Grand Narrows; in 2001 this railway is owned and operated by the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway.

The "Oxford & New Glasgow," 68 miles 109 km long, from Oxford Junction via Oxford, Tatamagouche and Scotsburn to Brown's Point Junction (near Pictou) continued operating into the 1970s as the Oxford Subdivision of Canadian National. The track between Pugwash Junction and Brown's Point was abandoned and dismantled in the 1970s, but the section from Oxford Junction through Oxford to Pugwash Junction, and the branch to Pugwash, remained in operation carrying regular freight trains until October 1993, when abandonment was forced by highway construction (the 1993 widening of the Trans-Canada Highway in the Oxford area, from two lanes to four).

1888 October

Painless Extraction, Cocaine &c

(Advertisement) Dr. Wolff, dentist. Office at his dwelling house, head of Provost and Archimedes streets New Glasgow. Painless extraction by use of Nitrous Oxide gas, Cocaine, &c. Durable artificial sets and fine fits guaranteed. Natural teeth carefully filled and cleaned.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 6 October 1888]

1888 October

An Early District Heating Proposal

Truro has the reputation of being the first town in the province to have the incandescent electric for window lighting. Mr. Chambers, the controller of that enterprise has now on foot a plan for heating the business portion of the west end. A central heating station will be established and pipes laid to convey the heat to the different establishments. This would lessen the risk of fires and the proposed rates are not exorbitant. Mr. C. is going to New York in a few weeks to obtain information in regard to the scheme. It works successfully in the larger towns of the U.S.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 6 October 1888]

1888 October 1

Tender Deadline
Cold Spring Head Lighthouse

Tenders addressed to the undersigned at Ottawa, and endorsed "Tender for Cold Spring Head Lighthouse," will be received up to the 1st October, 1888, for the construction of a small Lighthouse Tower on Cold Spring Head, in the County of Cumberland, N.S. Plans and specifications can be seen, and forms of tender procured at this department, Ottawa, at the Agency of this department, Halifax, and at the Post Offices at Amherst and Parrsborough, N.S.
Wm. Smith,
Minister of Marine

Department of M.,
Ottawa, 19th September, 1888
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 22 September 1888]

1888 October

New Glasgow Train Service

Pictou County

New Glasgow Station
Intercolonial Railway

Arrivals and Departures

October 1888

Express from Pictou 4:43 5:43am
Express from Trenton 5:45 6:45am
Acc. from Hopewell 6:45 7:45am
Freight from Truro 9:30 10:30am
Freight from Mulgrave 10:00 11:00am
Freight from Pictou 10:05 11:05am
Express from Truro 10:40 11:40am
Express from Mulgrave 13:40 2:40pm
Express from Pictou 14:20 3:20pm
Acc. from Trenton 17:05 6:05pm
Acc. from Pictou 17:35 6:35pm
Express from Truro 20:20 9:20pm
Express for Truro 5:20 6:20am
Express for Trenton 5:45 6:45am
Acc. for Pictou 6:00 7:00am
Freight for Mulgrave 10:15 11:15am
Express for Pictou 10:15 11:15am
Express for Mulgrave 10:55 11:55am
Freight for Truro 11:00 12:00 noon
Express for Truro 13:55 2:55pm
Freight for Pictou 14:30 3:30pm
Acc. for Hopewell 17:10 6:10pm
Express for Pictou 19:45 8:45pm
Note: "Acc." means an Accomodation Train,
a local passenger train which stops at every station.

[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 13 October 1888]

1888 October

Annapolis Spectator

The Annapolis Spectator, which was burnt out some months ago, has resumed publication under new management. R.C. Hamilton, formerly of Truro, is the editor. It is a fine looking sheet, and under Mr. H's management will no doubt meet with success.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 13 October 1888]

1888 October

New Glasgow Steel Works

J.H. Bartlett, of Montreal, has contributed an article to the Canadian Mining Review on "Steel Manufacture in Nova Scotia," and describes our steel works ... The steel works pay out nearly $100,000 a year in wages. When the additions to the works are completed, 300 men will be employed...
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 13 October 1888]

1888 October 13

Mail Contracts

This day's issue of the New Glasgow Enterprise, contained five display advertisements calling for tenders. These are summarized below:


Sealed tenders addressed to the Postmaster General, will be received at Ottawa until noon on Friday, 2nd November 1888, for the conveyance of Her Majesty's Mails... ...under a proposed contract for four years from the 1st of January next. Printed notices containing further information as to the conditions of proposed contract may be seen and blank forms of tender may be obtained at the Post Offices [named in each ad] and at this office.
Chas. J. MacDonald
Post Office Inspector

1888 October

Pictou County Iron Mine

Large quantities of iron ore are now being brought from Bridgeville, East River, to Eureka siding, and there loaded on rail cars for Londonderry, Colchester County. We hope to see soon the East River iron mines largely developed, and this industry become one of Nova Scotia's greatest enterprises.

The Iron Farm!

A Visit to the Centre of our Iron Deposits

We paid a flying visit to the "Iron Farm" as it is commonly called. All of our readers, no doubt, have heard of the wonderful deposits of iron ore in this county. Twelve miles 19 km from New Glasgow, on the East River, is situated the Grant Farm. It contains about 400 acres of land. Two years ago the Grant Brothers began to open the iron beds here, and have taken out about 800 tons 800 tonnes, which mostly was shipped to Londonderry. At the time of our visit last Friday [5 October 1888] we found Mr. McVicar, a miner of 15 years experience, busy with a gang of men. He has a one-year lease of the mine, and is working it on a small scale, paying a royalty to the owners on all ore extracted. Mr. McVicar is working on a seam over 30 feet 10 m wide and probably 180 feet 55 m deep. After being mined the ore has to be carted [by teams of horses or oxen] to Eureka siding on the ICR, six miles 10 km distant, for shipment. With the exception of one car load, all has gone to Londonderry...
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 13 October 1888]

1888 October 13

Oxford & New Glasgow Railway

M.J. Hogan has leased his engines (steam locomotives). They will work on the Short Line. Gray McManus & Company are pushing on the construction work with wonderful rapidity.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 13 October 1888]

M.J. Hogan was a contractor on the construction of the Short Line.

1888 October 13

Chignecto Ship Railway

N.A. Rhodes, of the enterprising firm of Rhodes, Curry & Co., was in New Glasgow a few days ago.  He says the Chignecto ship railway is going ahead.  This monster enterprise will cost $7,000,000, and give employment to 2,000 men.  Mr. Cook of Pictou has secured a contract for draining.  M.J. Hogan, the well known railway contractor, has sold to Dawson & Sims, contractors, his steam shovel for $7,000.  It will be used in construction.  The railway is to be finished in 1890.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 13 October 1888]

Nelson Admiral Rhodes
Rhodes, Curry and Company

1888 October 13

Oxford & New Glasgow Railway

This day's issue of the New Glasgow Enterprise, contained a display advertisement calling for

Tender for Station Buildings,
Freight Shed,
Engine and Water Service

Sealed tenders, addressed to the undersigned, and marked "Tender for Station Buildings, &c.," will be received up to noon on Tuesday, October 16th, 1888.  Plans and specifications may be seen and forms of Tender obtained on application at the office of the Division Engineer, in the Town of Wallace, Nova Scotia, and at the Intercolonial Railway Office at Moncton.

Each tender must be accompanied by a deposit equal to five per cent of the amount of the tender. This deposit may consist of cash or of an accepted bank cheque made payable to the Minister of Railways and Canals, and it will be forfeited if the party tendering neglects or refuses to enter into a contract when called upon to do so, or if after entering into the contract he fails to complete the work satisfactorily according to the Specification. If the Tender is not accepted, the deposit will be returned.

Tenders must be made on the printed forms supplied. The Department will not be bound to accept the lowest or any Tender.

A.P. Bradley, Sec'y.

Department of Railways & Canals,
Ottawa, October 2nd, A.D. '88.

1888 October

Fast Mail Service Planned

The Canadian Pacific Railway proposes to carry the British mails from Liverpool, England, via Canada to Brisbane, Australia, in 31 days. Canada is fast becoming the highway of the nations.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 20 October 1888]

1888 October

We Must Have It!

A Bridge between New Glasgow and Stellarton,
and a Line of Street Cars from Trenton,
through New Glasgow and Stellarton to Westville

...Does it not strike you forcibly that one of the next improvements which will be called for is a line of cars, run by horses or electricity, to accommodate the travel between these points, and further that it would be an investment that would pay from its inception and be a valuable stock in a few years to come. The Steel, Glass, and Forge works, situated at the extreme lower end to which not less than three hundred of the employees live in New Glasgow and go and return daily, augmented by a large number who go daily on business and pleasure. The writer counted the people who arrived on the evening train from Stellarton about a month ago and found that about fifty seven had arrived on one train, all of whom would return in a few hours. If the travel is so large now, what would it be with superior facilities? We hold that nothing hinders such an undertaking being immediately prosecuted, except the absence of a bridge directly leading from New Glasgow into Stellarton of sufficient width to carry the traffic...
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 20 October 1888]

1888 October 14

Drunk Driver Imprisoned

A drunken man from Stellarton was gailed on Sunday (14 October) for disorderly driving on the streets of New Glasgow.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 20 October 1888]

The newspaper's spelling is "gailed".

1888 October 19

Special Colonist Sleeping Car

(Display advertisement) A Special Colonist Sleeping Car will leave Montreal, Friday, October 19th, 1888, for the Pacific Coast. Passengers from Nova Scotia should arrange to take the Quebec Express, leaving Halifax Wednesday, October 17th, at 18 o'clock. Passengers desiring to take advantage of the superior accommodations afforded, should make early application and have accomodation reserved. The Canadian Pacific rates are the lowest to British Columbia, Washington Territory, and Oregon. For circulars giving all information apply to any Ticket Agent, Canadian Pacific or International Railways.
C.E. McPherson
Saint John, N.B.

[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 6 October 1888]

1888 October 27

Electric Light in Towns


The Windsor Tribune is endeavouring to stir up the Council of that town to the idea of running its own electric light supply just as it runs the water works. But Windsor is a sleepy old town, and as long as a few people can make money out of contracts with the town they will do so. Brother Knowles [editor of the Windsor Tribune?] however has the true idea. It is only a question of time when all towns will supply themselves with light as well as water. The one is just as necessary as the other. What a howl there would be in Halifax, for instance, if its water supply were in the hands of a company. Why cannot Halifax supply itself with electric light as successfully as with water? The sooner it buys out the Chandler electric light company the better.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 27 October 1888]

1888 October 27

Terminal City

W. Harrington, a well known miner of long experience, is moving an engine and plant from Pictou to Hawkesbury, near Terminal City, where it will be used in sinking for coal. The Diamond Drill was in operation there this summer, and several valuable seams were found. We understand the Terminal City Company, which is composed of wealthy American capitalists, are pushing things ahead to make the Terminal City one of the greatest business centres in America. As they have the capital we see no possible reason why they should not succeed.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 27 October 1888]
Terminal City, by Charles G.D. Roberts, 1891
from "The Canadian Guide Book: The Tourist's and Sportsman's Guide to Eastern Canada..." (page 247)
1891, by Charles G.D. Roberts, Professor of English Literature at King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia
Source: Early Canadiana Online http://www.canadiana.org/

Terminal City

1891: The town of Canso is on Chedabucto Bay, 32 miles 51 km southeast of Guysborough. It has a population of about 1,500, and is the western terminus of several of the Atlantic telegraph cables ... At Canso a company of Canadian and American capitalists is proposing to erect a great city, to be called Terminal City, whence fast steam ships are to traverse the Atlantic and lightning express trains rush westward. This scheme is pretty fully developed, and may perhaps be carried out, in which case the splendid Bay of Chedabucto would emerge from its present obscurity.

Source: Page 247 of The Canadian Guide Book: The Tourist's and Sportsman's Guide to Eastern Canada and Newfoundland... by Charles G.D. Roberts, Professor of English Literature at King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia; 378 pages, published by D. Appleton, New York, 1891.
[2 September 2002] Early Canadiana Online http://www.canadiana.org/ has this book
at http://www.canadiana.org/cgi-bin/ECO/mtq?id=24a0011313&doc=56228
Page 247 is at http://www.canadiana.org/cgi-bin/ECO/mtq?id=73f2010914&display=56228+0335

1888 October 27

Oxford & New Glasgow Railway

Work is being rushed along on the Oxford & New Glasgow Railway, especially at the Oxford end. The bridge being built across the river at Wallace, for this railway, will, it is said, be one of the finest structures in the Lower Provinces.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 27 October 1888]

This is the same bridge that was severely damaged
by a spectacular fire on 11 August 2002.

1888 November

Apple Shipments

Halifax has shipped to Europe 36,000 barrels of apples this season, against 6,000 barrels for the same period last year...
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 3 November 1888]

1888 November 3

Chignecto Ship Railway

Thomas Cooke of New Glasgow, has secured a contract on three and a half miles 5.6 km of the Chignecto ship railway.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 3 November 1888]

1888 November 3

Oxford & New Glasgow Railway

Rhodes, Curry & Co., have secured the contract for the erection of station buildings, etc., from Oxford to Tatamagouche, on the Short Line, at a cost of about $45,000. The contract could not be in better hands.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 3 November 1888]

The Short Line

The railway line between Oxford and New Glasgow, was known
then and forever after as the Short Line. For example, it was called
the "Short Line" in a prominent article in the Halifax Daily News,
13 August 2002. The name came from the Great American and
European Short Line Railway Company, which promoted it, and the
Montreal and European Short Line Railway Company, which built it.

Reference: History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

1888 November 3

Chignecto Ship Railway

A. Robb & Sons are now manufacturing wheels, and Rhodes, Curry & Co., woodwork, for cars to be used on the Chignecto Ship Railway.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 3 November 1888]

1888 November 3

East River Steamboat Company

We are pleased to learn that a company is now being formed to run a steam boat between New Glasgow and Pictou. In a previous issue we pointed out the advantages of such an enterprise, and we have no doubt the parties who have the project in hand will have no trouble in floating the necessary stock. The prospectus has already been issued, and a large amount subscribed. The capital stock is $16,000 in 800 shares of $20 each, with liberty to increase capital to $24,000 either by increasing the number of shares to 1200 or the per share amount to $30. It is to be called "The East River Steamboat Company Limited". As soon as 500 shares are subscribed a meeting will be held for the purpose of electing directors and having the company duly organized under the Joint Stock Company Act or in any other way as may be advisable. The route so far talked of is to make two trips per day to Pictou, calling at Trenton, Loading Ground, Abercrombie (when tides will permit it) and Fisher's Grant.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 3 November 1888]

1888 November 8

Halifax to Boston

The magnificent Steel Steamship

Commanded by Capt. R.S. Hill, running between Halifax, Charlottetown, Port Hawkesbury and Boston, will sail from
Halifax for Boston

at noon on Thursday, November 8th.
Forward Berths $3, Return $5
Saloon Berths $6, Return $10
Halifax to New York

Forward Berths $5.75
Saloon Berths $9.50
Through tickets issued to New York by Fall River Line and by Canadian Pacific Railway from Boston to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and all points west. This is decidedly the Cheapest and Most Pleasant Route to the Upper Provinces. Insurance by this Steamship is much lower than by any other ship sailing out of this port.
Chipman Bros., Agents

[Display advertisement in The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 3 November 1888]

1888 November 10

Deplorable Sidewalks

The New Glasgow sidewalks are in a deplorable state. A plank has been out of the walk between Patterson's store and the Post Office all week.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 10 November 1888]

1888 November 10

Caledonia Newspaper

We have received a copy of the Gold Hunter, a weekly newspaper published at Caledonia, Queens County. It is a newsy as well as neatly arranged paper, and will do much to boom that rich although not well known section of country. Caledonia is the centre of the Queens County gold areas and we hope Brother Banks [editor of the Gold Hunter] will "pan out" well.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 10 November 1888]

1888 November 10

Telephones in Thorburn

Telephone communication is now complete from the pit bottom to the bank head, in the McBain slope, Thorburn. This will prove a great convenience.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 10 November 1888]
Historical notes about the McBain Coal Mine, Thorburn

1888 November 10

The Future of New Glasgow

And What The Enterprise Proposes
as the Programme for its Development

(Editorial) New Glasgow is going to be a big town, the heart of a flourishing region, flanked by Westville, Hopewell, Trenton and Thorburn. The Enterprise proposes to cooperate with the young men of the district who have faith in themselves and hope in the future ... To this end we suggest and will advocate, among other things, the following:
1. Immediately light the streets with electricity.
4. Light up the railway station with electricity...
10. Urge the immediate establishment of the East River steamboat service.
11. Urge the immediate construction of a bridge to connect New Glasgow with Stellarton and communication between Trenton, New Glasgow, Stellarton, and Westville by tram car...
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 10 November 1888]

1888 November 13

Hopewell Woollen Mills Company

(Paid Notice) A Special General Meeting of the Shareholders of the Hopewell Woollen Mills Company Limited will be held at the Company's office at Hopewell (Pictou County) on Tuesday, the 13th day of November 1888 at one o'clock p.m., for the purpose of receiving a statement of the Company's affairs and considering its circumstances in consequence of the recent fire. Also for taking such action in the interests of the Company as the Shareholders may determine..
By order of the President.
D.W. Crockett, Secretary

Hopewell, Oct. 10th, '88
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 13 October 1888]

1888 November 17

Two Telephones in Stellarton

Stellarton contains nearly 300 inhabitants ... Once we get the bridge to New Glasgow, a line of street cars will surely follow ... In Stellarton, we want electric lights on the main street, in our stores, and at the railroad station. It is a pity more of our merchants do not avail themselves of the electric light ... Only two of our citizens use the telephone. This is a big mistake. The instrument should be universally adopted ...
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 17 November 1888]

In the 1888 directory issued by the Nova Scotia Telephone Company, there are two telephones listed for Stellarton: Hensley & McDonald, Barristers, and Rogers, B. D. & Co., General Merchants. The directory lists the names only, no phone numbers.

I suppose, with only two telephones installed,
there wasn't much need for numbers.

1888 November

The Oldest Railway in America Abandoned

The Albion Mines railway, on the west side of the river, from the New Glasgow crossing to the loading ground, has been abandoned by the Acadia Coal Company, and workmen are now engaged tearing up the rails and sleepers (ties).

This road is said to be the oldest in America. It was begun in 1836 and finished in 1839. The abandoned portion is about four miles six km long. The land on which the road was built was never the property of the company, but was rented from the farmers at a yearly rental, and as the company had not much use for it, they came to the conclusion that it would be better to give it up than pay the heavy rents. This means that the loading ground will be no more a shipping point, and will not tend to enhance the value of property at that section.

From its historical associations we are sorry to see the road abandoned. Some enterprising citizen should have bought it up as a piece of bric-a-brac. A mile or two of it would be a valuable addition to our museum.

[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 24 November 1888]

1888 November 20

Shipment of Grindstones

The schooner Gondola cleared from Pictou for Boston on Tuesday last (20 November) with a cargo of grindstones. She received half her cargo from R. McNeil, at Merigomish, and the other half from R.E. Chambers, at Granton.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 24 November 1888]

1888 November 21

Western Union Installing Copper Wire

A gang of twenty Western Union men arrived at New Glasgow on Wednesday [21 November] and left Thursday for Mulgrave. They are engaged putting up a new copper wire and will extend their work to North Sydney. They put up at the Vendome. [The Enterprise, 24 November 1888]

The early telegraph lines were built with iron wire, and iron wire continued
to be used for telegraph lines for decades before copper wire came into use.
From personal experience — I encountered some number nine iron wire,
old but still strung on poles and in operation carrying electric current for
commercial purposes, in January 1956, in the vicinity of Springhill,
Cumberland County. ICS (webmaster)

In the 1888 directory issued by the Nova Scotia Telephone Company, there are 33 telephone numbers listed for New Glasgow. Phone number 19 was the Vendome Hotel, D. McDearmid, Proprietor.

1888 November 24

Electric Light Being Installed

The Electric Light Company are busily engaged putting in the incandescent light. It will be in working order in a few weeks. Good.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 24 November 1888]

It is believed that this item refers to the New Glasgow Electric Company Limited.

1888 November 24

Halifax - Moncton Express Train

The express to Moncton on Sunday last (18 November) from Halifax with the English mail, under charge of Conductor Rhodes, did some tall work. Her running time was five hours and fifteen minutes. Not too slow for 188 miles 303km.
[The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 24 November 1888]

This report indicates an average speed, including all stops,
of 58 km/h, Halifax to Moncton.

1888 November 28

Halifax to Boston

Canada Atlantic Line

Running between Charlottetown, Port Hawkesbury, Halifax and Boston, will sail from and leaving Boston and Halifax (until further notice) every alternate Wednesday and Saturday.

Through tickets issued to New York by Fall River Line and also railway tickets issued via Boston to Montreal, Ottawa, and points on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Marine insurance by the Halifax can be effected for one-fifth of one per cent. The S.S. Halifax is by far the safest, fastest, and in every way the finest Passenger Steamship that has ever been engaged in the Canadian coasting trade.
Chipman Bros., Agents
Richardson & Barnard, Boston Agents

[Display advertisement in The Enterprise, New Glasgow, 24 November 1888]

1889 February 9

Chambers Electric Light & Power Company

On this day, the Chambers Electric Light & Power Company Limited was legally incorporated "by letters patent under the great seal of the province of Nova Scotia".

Chambers Electric Light & Power Company

1889 April 17

Truro Electric Company Sold to
Chambers Electric Light & Power Company

On this day, the Legislature passed an Act (chapter 130, 1889, 52 Victoria) to empower the Chambers Electric Light & Power Company Limited to buy "the property, rights, and franchise" of the Truro Electric Company.

Truro Electric Company

1889 April 17

Dartmouth Gas & Electric Light & Heating & Power Company

On this day, the Legislature passed an Act (chapter 132, 1889, 52 Victoria) to incorporate the Dartmouth Gas & Electric Light & Heating & Power Company Limited, head office in Dartmouth, with a capital of $50,000 divided into 5,000 shares of $10 each, to manufacture and distribute gas for illuminating purposes in the town of Dartmouth and the county of Halifax, and to generate and distribute electric power for "lighting, heating, or as a motive power". Founding shareholders were William S. Symonds, Duncan Waddell, William H. Greene, Henry C. Walker, John Walker, Simon H. Holmes, Edmund M. Walker, John R. Graham, Dr. Alfred C. Cogswell, all of Dartmouth.

History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

1889 October 14

Last Spike Driven, Nova Scotia Central Railway

On this day, the last rail was laid for the Nova Scotia Central Railway track connecting Middleton with Bridgewater. The last spike was driven by Mr. George W. Bedford, court appointed manager of the railway. The line was built from both ends at Middleton and Bridgewater, with the last spike being located about halfway between.

The first train arrived at Middleton from the South Shore that evening. Bridgewater's Judge DesBrisay bought the first ticket and was allowed to keep it

When the Halifax and South Western Railway took over the Nova Scotia Central (about 1903) they acquired Bridgewater's roundhouse. This included five locomotive stalls, a shop, boiler room, blacksmith shop with three forges and a machine shop capable of turning out everything from a nut to a set of steel wheels. They also took over a carpenter's shop which could make patterns for any required casting and a two track car shop for repairing and painting coaches. The office area included a mechanical office, superintendent's office and stores. All train repair work was completed in Bridgewater.

By 1917, there were as many as 32 locomotives running out of Bridgewater. In 1954, the H&SW officially became part of the Canadian National Railway.

The track between Middleton and Bridgewater was oficially abandoned in 1984, and was torn up in 1985.

[Bridgewater Bulletin, 10 February 1999, and other sources]

History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

1889 December 23

Nova Scotia Central Railway Opened

On this day, the Nova Scotia Central Railway, between Middleton and Lunenburg, officially opened for regular traffic. NSCR connected with the Windsor & Annapolis Railway at Middleton. There now was a continuous line of railway track (owned by various companies), with daily trains (operated by various companies but with connecting schedules), from Lunenburg through Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, New Germany, Springfield, Nictaux, Middleton, Kingston, Aylesford, Berwick, Kentville, Wolfville, Hantsport, Windsor, Mount Uniacke, Windsor Junction, Bedford, and Halifax — with connections at Windsor Junction to Dartmouth, Truro, Amherst, Moncton, and Saint John. There was a connecting railway line, with daily trains, between Middleton and Annapolis Royal. (There was a railway between Digby and Yarmouth, but the only passenger connection between Digby and Annapolis was by stage coach.) There was a connecting railway line, with daily trains, between Truro and New Glasgow. (East of New Glasgow, the only scheduled service was by stage, but many people travelled by horseback or on foot.)
Nova Scotia Central Railway Timetable Number One
Nova Scotia Central Railway
Timetable Number One
Commencing Monday, Dec. 23rd, 1889

NSCR Ad in the Kentville Western Chronicle, 21 May 1890
The above was scanned 15 September 2000, directly from the original newspaper, generously loaned to me by Mr. Ed Coleman of Kentville.

Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia

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