Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Alberton's Old Landmark Demolished - 1950's

    The article below appeared in the Journal-Pioneer newspaper in the mid-1950’s - the article was posted on the Facebook page of Norma Deagle-MacPhee,  summer 2015.
Pictured above in the first stage of demolition is an old building which has been a landmark in Alberton for more years than the oldest citizen can remember.  Although the date of its erection cannot be learned, the house is known to have stood on the west side of the main street for more than one hundred years. 
     In recent years the building has been permitted to fall into a regrettable state of disrepair and has come to be considered a fire hazard.  Nevertheless it has stood unscathed through fires which destroyed adjacent buildings.  About 1896 fire destroyed the buildings to the north on lots now housing the business premises of White and Son, C.R. Leard and Myricks Alberton Ltd.  In 1917 fire swept to within a few feet of its south wall when the entire business section on the west side of main street was razed. 
     The house was built by Mr. Edwin Wallace and lumber for its construction was sawn from trees removed from the lot on which it stands.  The work of demolition has revealed a heavy framework still in excellent condition.  Floors of two-inch plank are fitted together with groove and tongue as it was made in that day (grooves sawn in the planks and a tongue inserted).  Joists are mortised and the flooring is secured with wooden pegs several inches long and almost an inch in diameter.
     In the beginning Mr. Wallace did not live in the house himself but rented it to Mr. and Mrs. Ireland who carried on a small business in one part of it.  A number of men and women still living in Alberton can remember buying candy there in their childhood, some of its being made by Mrs. Ireland herself.  Following the fire of 1896, which destroyed his place of residence, Mr. Wallace and his family lived in the house for some years.
     The next long-time resident of the premises was Mr. William Wells and his little Confectionary Store is well remembered by some who do not yet class themselves as the older generation.
     More recent occupants have been Dr. Cummings and Mr. Waldo Matthews, Jr.  About two years ago Mrs. William Wells and her daughter came back to live in their old home.  They returned again to St. John, N.B., last week.
     Various small businesses have been carried on in the section of the building used as a store by Mr. Ireland and Mr. Wells.  Its most recent has been Mr. Gordon Jeffery, Barber.
     The north section of the building which has been occupied by another barber, Mr. Alvin Bell, for the past 28 years is not part of the original structure but a later addition.
     The property has been purchased by Messrs. Fred and Gordon White and it is understood that they will erect a modern structure on the site of this old one which probably stood there in the days when the present town of Alberton was only a place where a few buildings had sprung up at the intersection of two roads and was known as “The Cross” and the surrounding area was covered with trees and pine stumps.

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