Sunday, July 6, 2014

Burke Gardens, Southport (Stratford)

     We often hear references to local markets and farmers markets in our history books, however, we never hear much about those who supplied goods and products to those markets - we always assume they were farmers.  The other evening "The Burke Gardens" was brought to my attention.  I did a bit of research and found this information from, A History of Southport, published in 1982 and the Historic Places website.
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The Burke Gardens
            Approximately 1880, James and Mary Burke of Alexander moved to Southport, to the home formerly owned by James’ brother Walter Burke.  They had four children at the time and eight more were born after that.  The youngest son, Ernest, is still living in Southport.  James was a marker gardener (as listed in the Atlas of 1880) who took his produce to the Market in Charlottetown.  When he died in 1895, his son Arthur, at the age of 16, took over the business and the property.  He continued on with it until 1930. Ernest started going to the Market with his brother in 1907, at the age of 15.  He married Della P. Clark in 1919, and built a home on the property next to Arthur’s, formerly owned by a Walter Ogar.  He continued in the market-garden business with his brother until 1930 and then branched out on his own that spring.  Ernest and Della took the produce and flowers to market twice a week until 1942.  After that, until 1965, the seedlings that were grown in the green house each spring were sold from the house in Southport and the vegetables were taken to the stores.  Della died March 29, 1971 and Ernest has continued to live in the homestead, growing flowers and vegetables for his own use.

Above cf. A History of Southport and District: including Rosebank, Keppoch and Kinlock.  Page 22 & 23.
Published by the History Committee of the Southport Women’s Institute in 1982. Edited by Jim Hornby.
 Showing southwest elevation
Image cf. http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/image-image.aspx?id=15212#i3
The Burke House, 2 Glencove Drive
            There is no record of when this house was built but when Dr. Lantz bought it and had it renovated about seven layers of paper were stripped from the walls.  Walter Burke was a brother of James Burke and he must have passed the property to James; in the 1880 Atlas the name James Burke, gardener, is recorded.  The house passed to Arthur Burke, and he and his wife Beatrice lived there for many years.  The property now is in the possession of Eugene MacDonald.
Info cf. A History of Southport, Page 69
Location of William Burke's Glen Stewart Farm
Image and info below cf. 
http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/image-image.aspx?id=15212#i3
     This Maritime Vernacular style house is valued for its historical association with the early history of Stratford.  Constructed in 1840, it was the site of Glen Stewart Farm which was established by the Burke family. For a few years in the 1870s, the house was occupied by Robert (1811-1878) and Augusta May (1812-1875). The Mays had emigrated from England in 1862. Robert May died in England, while the rest of the family, Augusta and her daughters, Harriet (d. 1918) and Emma (d. 1901), are interred in the Anglican cemetery in Stratford. The noted PEI architect, William Critchlow Harris and his brother, the painter, Robert Harris are known to have visited the house when the Mays lived there. W.C. Harris notes in his diary that in 1872 he and his sister, Sarah, crossed the harbour from Charlottetown to Southport (now part of Stratford) on board the steamer "Ora" to visit the Mays. While there, they played croquet, had a "bountiful meal", and sang songs into the twilight hours. By 1880, Meacham's Atlas of PEI shows William Burke (1833-1902) as then residing on the property. Shortly after this time, Glen Stewart Farm became the property of William's brother, James Burke (1847-1895) and his wife Mary (Burhoe) Burke. They established a market garden on the farm which grew produce to sell in Charlottetown's Market which was located in Queen Square on the site of the current Confederation Centre of the Arts. When James passed away in 1895, his son, Arthur, who was then only sixteen, took over the business. He continued to operate the market garden until 1930. In the 1940s, the house was purchased by Dr. J.P. Lantz. He was a graduate of McGill's medical school, but was known on PEI for his award winning Aberdeen Angus and Jersey cattle. The current owners purchased the house in 1964. During renovations, they discovered that copies of the "London Times" from the 1840s had been applied to the original walls as a form of insulation. Although renovated over the years, the house retains elements of its original design and has many important historical associations.

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