Thursday, June 26, 2014

Doucette Sawmill, Harper Road

     This was a busy place when I was growing up in western PEI during the 1970's - Dad would take his lumber here to have it cut into boards.
     The saw mill was operated by Howard Doucette and later his son Claude.  It's located not too far off the Western Road just outside Tignish on the Harper Road (Rte. 158) in the community of Harper, which is situated between the communities of St. Peter St. Paul and Peterville, not far from Leoville and Palmer Road.

Monday, June 23, 2014

former Conway-Ahearn-Porter Homestead, St. Peter St. Paul

     I took these photos a week ago - the old farmstead is located at 42209 Rte. 2 (Western Road) in the community of "St. Peter St. Paul" ( located between DeBlois and Tignish ). 
      When I was in Junior & High School in the 1970's, this was the home of one of my classmates - this is where the Porter Family lived.  It was a beautiful property, always well-kept and tidy.
     Today the house is abandoned and 100-acre farm is owned and farmed by a large local agricultural corporation.
     Cumin's 1928 Atlas shows this property being owned by Tim Conway, married to Adeliene with the following children: Joe, Jim, Gregory, Emma and Addie.
     My parents told me this property was owned by Jimmy Ahearn in the 1950's. He built the huge barn in the 1950's and died suddenly not long after building it.  His wife moved to Alberton following his death.   They said it was one of the nicest properties in western P.E.I.
     The house is in the "Island-ell Farmhouse" style.  The front/east/road side of the house features two square-bay windows.  
     See more photos of this place on Facebook's "Abandoned Properties on P.E.I."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is anyone looking for a PEI Heritage Home to Renovate?

     I have a lead on this historic property which hasn't gone to real estate yet - its located on a large lot in the Crow Bush Golf Course are abetween Mount Stewart and Morell. 
    Anyone who might be interested, or knows of someone who might be, please email me at
    The listing went up today -
It was likely built in the 1880's - an early version of the typical "Island-ell" farmhouse. 
The house is on a sandstone foundation, the stones are amazing, however, the walls have given way in many places and a new foundation would be on the first order.
The long, back, north wall (43' overall) is as straight as I've ever seen in an old house.
There is  a new water well.
Not sure about the septic
The roof is about 5 years old.
The electrical has been upgraded.
The grounds have always been kept cut and trimmed - there's a lilac tree.
The house hasn't been "lived in for 15 years", however, family members have been here off and on over the years, last visiting in 2012 - i believe short visits.
There's no water pump or well. No furnace or heating system.  There are 2 chimneys which are in poor condition - no wood stoves.
The floor in the kitchen wing, between the pantry and kitchen has a bit of a hump in it, however, the house is very square, sits above grade (sill seem good) and reasonably good for all.
There is no evidence of destructive animals living in the house, IE. racoons, squirrels, however it look like a chair had been chewed by a hungry mouse :-D)  There are a few raccoon footprints in the basement, however, there's no evidence of nests, dung, etc. - that's a good thing!!!
The exterior shingle are thin on the north and east and had been face stapled, I'm sure to keep them from blowing off.
The windows are wood with aluminum storm windows - not bad, the windows in my house are the same - no rot.
The Parlor, Hall, etc. have hardwood floors; the second floor has a pine floor.
The bathrooms and kitchen aren't really worth talking about as they really need to be replaced.
There's also a back stairs from the kitchen.
The only outbuilding onsite is an old pump house.
The view to the north is over fields, there are cottage way down the field - in the sitance is the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Kilmahumaig" (Station of Meteorological Service), S. Kildare

     This house was located in South Kildare on the Sou'west Road next to the Kildare Bridge, northwest of Alberton.  
     In recent memory, Barry Maloney (1921-2013) operated the Prince Edward Island Miniature Railway - it attracted locals and tourists alike to ridge miniature trains 
     Mr. Maloney came to the Island in 1979 and soon after started working on his railway.
* * * * * * * * * *
I found some photos on Flicker of the Abandoned Miniature Railway
* * * * * * * * * *
     What brought me to research this property was a 1985 West Prince Graphic newspaper clipping I came across recently about the Cheese Wedge House in Alberton - formerly part of Kilmahumaig house.  It was built by James Hunter, an emigrant from Scotland, who came to the Alberton area in 1872.
     The two images below come from the millennium book, Alberton & Area: A Pictorial History Through Time.
     More information about James Hunter and Kilmahumaig can be found on Historic Places website.
     Below:  I scanned and zoomed this map from Meechams 1880 Atlas of PEI of Jas. Hunter's 50-acre property in South Kildare.  This is before the Kildare Bridge was built - today the bridge spans between the Pattern and Gillian properties.
     My copy of Meecham's Atlas has a poor image of this house - here's an image cf.

     There were two diarists from the Alberton Area who mentioned James Hunter and Kilmahumaig.  They were Rev. Robert Wm. Dyer, Anglican Missionary to West Prince who kept Journals 1859-1884 (transcribed by Carter Jeffery); and Susan Woodman's 1895-97 Journals (transcribed by Susan Murphy).  

1.   Rev. Dyer's Journals -
April 19, 1874 - Sabbath morning: a fine morning but very windy.  Had a pretty good attendance and preached from Matt. 22, verses 12, 13.  Took some dinner and then started for Cascumpec – roads dreadful bad but got down in time for Service at St. Peter’s.  Had a very good congregation.  Mr. James Hunter present and Mr. Cook.  Preached from John 3: “Except a man is born again, he cannot see or enter the kingdom of heaven”. (sic)  After the sermon I administered the Holy Communion.  A happy day notwithstanding all the fatigue of roads, etc.
July 19, 1874 -Sabbath morning: went to the Sunday School.  Mrs. Dyer is very ill; she has been so for the past week but I think that is a trifle better today.  Children present at the School:  about 16 or 17.  Commenced Service, had some very good singing.  The family of the Hallets present, - I am glad they are all Church folks.  Mr. and Mrs. Cook present; Miss Jessie Cambridge and Fanny Smith came in unexpectedly.  We had a good congregation. Mr. James Hunter and family present.  

2.   Susan Woodman Journals -
Tuesday, January 1, 1895 - Year began with a thick snowstorm, which lasted all day. Drifting wildly in afternoon, the first real winter storm of the season. In morning Mr. Forbes came in to ask Charlie to go over to office for a marriage license (which had come in yesterdays mail) as a couple were at the Rectory waiting to get married having driven from Lot Ten this morning. I went with him for my first drive of the New Year. Alva Gordon came back with us on his way to spend the day with Mrs. Hunter. (Kilmahumaig)
Saturday, October 12, 1895 – Cloudy but mild. Agnes and Kate turned out the girl’s bedroom and cleaned it today. Will carting manure in forenoon. Seymour plowing. George fencing a field for some sheep belonging to Mr. Agnew who has brought them in for canning. Emilie, the girls and I took tea with Mrs. Hunter at Kilmahumaig, coming home just before dark. Parkhurst went out tonight. Tom got home from Halifax on night train.
Tuesday, December 3, 1895 – Cloudy and very soft. Will Callaghan did some plowing this morning, which was unusual for the time of year. This is Court Day. Charlie over early and came home to dinner about half past one. Court over and Judge off in noon train. Mrs. Jas. Hunter died of heart failure about eight o’clock this morning. Seymour fishing smelts. George in warehouse.
Thursday, December 5, 1895 – Colder. Roads hard and rough. Wind easterly and raw. Seymour hauling seaweed. Tide too high all day for much fishing. Mrs. Hunter’s funeral at two o’clock this afternoon. Charlie pressed hay from noon until he went to it. 39 carriages passed here following her to the grave. She will be very much missed. A Negro man lectured in Hall tonight for W.C.T.U. Had a large audience but they were interrupted by a cry of fire. Three buildings were burned on Wallace’s corner. High wind.
Friday, April 3, 1896 – A thick snow storm, which lasted all day. So thick that none of us went to morning service but Charlie and Agnes, who walked down from Kilmahumaig. Evening finer. Charlie spent the afternoon with Ted Hunter doing some drilling on a bicycle wheel hub. Will and Seymour had a fight after tea and Will had to go to the doctor to get his eye bandaged. Will Hunter, Will Tweedy and Mr. Wry here in evening.
Tuesday, July 14, 1896 – Bright and very warm. Agnes came down last night and is washing today. Ted Hunter sleeps at Harry’s as Kilmahumiag is deserted. Kate and I sewing carpet most of day. Boys brought two loads of coal and did some more carting. Charlie filling oats to go in Parkhurst.
Tuesday, August 4, 1896 – Bright morning. Thunderstorm in afternoon with very heavy rain. Court day but they finished up before tea time. Tom over to tea. Agnes went to Kilmahumaig to wash blankets.
Saturday, November 14, 1896 – Cold and cloudy. Ground freezing all day but still Seymour went on plowing. A. Cahill hauling seaweed till eleven o’clock then went home sick. Agnes washing windows at Kilmahumaig in afternoon.
Tuesday, November 24, 1896 – Rainy morning. Snow going very fast. Seymour looking for sheep. Ted Hunter called for boys to go fix up the house for him.
Tuesday, January 26, 1897 – Bright morning but cloudy in afternoon with a slight snowfall just at dark. Also pretty cold. Agnes spent the day at Kilmahumaig. Will bending trap bows.
Friday, June 4, 1897 – Bright but north wind. Charlie and I took Bessie and went to factory for the day. Girls in school. We called at Kilmahumaig on our way home and got 13 apple trees from Ted.
* * * * * * * * * *
     Here's an obituary for James Hunter's son I found on a Google search... 
HUNTER. – On the 6th March 1910, suddenly, after operation for appendicitis, at Vancouver, B.C., David A. HUNTER, formerly Local Secretary of the Standard Life Assurance Co. in Glasgow, third son of the late James Hunter, of Prince Edward Island, formerly of Kilmahumaig, Argyllshire, aged 45 years.
* * * * * * * * * *
    Here's also is a link to the Meteorological Tables Maximum and Minimum Temperatures for 1879 Table LXXIV Kilmahumaig, P.E.I.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lobster Factories at Howard's Cove in 1912

     Here's another photo from my friend Donna (Barbour) MacPhees scrapbooks.  It was published in January 1987, probably in the West Prince Graphic.
CAPTION.  This is one of the first lobster factories to come to the West Prince area.  It was built in Howard's Cove in 1880, by a Mr. Bell from Maine.  He and his wife can be seen here, standing beside the building.  The photo was taken in 1912.

Roy Leard's Store, Alberton - 1913

     Recently my friend Donna (Barbour) Macphee loaned me her scrapbooks - here's an interesting article about an old store in Alberton.  It was published in December 1986, probably in the West Prince Graphic.