Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Brigus and Area

After the Blueberry Festival ended, we decided to stay in Brigus for a few more days and explore the area. The Hawthorne Cottage in Brigus, near the festival site, was a treat to tour. It was the home of Captain Robert “Bob” Bartlett (1875-1946), originally built in 1830 by his maternal great-grandfather. Since he spent winters in New York and summers exploring the arctic, his sisters Emma and Eleanor were the full-time residents after the death of their parents, and he only visited there, even though he inherited ownership of the house.


Here are a few pictures of the cottage’s interior.




This grandfather clock is the oldest item in the house.


The master bedroom is fairly plain.


Sister Eleanor’s bedroom was one of the smallest, by her choice. She was a nurse, and her white shoes sit under the chair where she took them off.


Capt. Bob’s bedroom was the largest, although he was rarely there. It’s part of a 2-story addition to the house built in 1928-29. When he wasn’t there, grandchildren visiting during the summer stayed there with their nanny.


This large bathroom incorporated the first indoor plumbing in Brigus. Water was hand-pumped to a tower outside, and another pump brought the water inside to a storage tank. After the house was wired for electricity in 1914, an electric pump was added.


The Bartlett family was one of the most famous in the town of Brigus for several generations. In 1860, Abraham Bartlett had the Brigus Tunnel built to provide easy access to the Bartlett wharf. The only explosive used was black gunpowder and laborers drilled holes for the charges in the rock by hand. You can just barely see the opening on the other side of the tunnel, which slopes downhill.


A few kilometres up the coast from Brigus, we saw The SS Kyle, the first scheduled ferryboat in Newfoundland. She was built in 1913 and carried cargo and people back and forth from Carbonear to Labrador for many years. In 1965 she was damaged by ice flow, was repaired, then broke from her mooring during a storm in February 1967 and was retired and relocated aground in Riverhead Harbour Grace.


This model of the ship is in the visitor’s centre.


Outside the visitor’s centre is this DC-3, the “Spirit of Harbour Grace.”


And next to it stands a lovely statue of Amelia Earhart. Her famous solo flight (first for a woman pilot) across the Atlantic in 1932 originated from Harbour Grace.


Today we explored the western side of the Baccalieu Trail. We visited the town of Dildo, where Don posed with Captain Dildo.


This is a life-size model of a 24-ft. giant squid caught in these waters in December 1933.


If you look up Dildo, Newfoundland and Labrador in Wikipedia, you will see that the origin of the name is obscure, and it dates back to 1711. However, the article says, “It was once used to reference a phallus-shaped pin stuck in the edging of a row boat to act as a pivot for the oar (also known as a "thole pin" or "dole pin.")” Here’s such a pin.


We stopped for lunch at Brown’s Restaurant in Whiteway, as recommended by a local, and enjoyed the view of the Shag Rocks out in the water. We managed to catch a shot of them with the brief showing of sunshine during an otherwise overcast, misty, rainy day.


Our next tourist stop was at Heart’s Content Cable Station. In 1866 the first cable connecting Europe to North America was hauled ashore in Heart’s Content, chosen in part because of its extremely deep water harbour. Interesting displays included the various cables, as well as equipment and the actual working areas of the station.




Employees were provided lots of amenities, including this oversized billiards table.


Women were able to work here on an equal footing with men, and earned very nice wages as well as benefits, quite unusual for this era. One girl was hired when she was only 15, and by the age of 17 she had been promoted to Supervisor! The only downside for women is that they had to stop working when they got married.


We took a short drive out to Heart’s Content Lighthouse, but didn’t stay long because of the heavy mist.


We’re moving on tomorrow, eastward to St. John’s, the capital and largest city in the Province.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blueberry Festival, Brigus, NL

It’s been a busy couple of days in the small historic town of Brigus. The Blueberry Festival began with a parade that was short and sweet. These are the winners of Muff and Duff, the “Missed Blueberry” contest from last year (for men only).


A dancing troupe, who also entertained on stage the next day, danced down the street.


Fire Department trucks were there, of course.



And there were a few old cars, but nothing I consider antique, as well as some other entries. However, the town itself is very old, dating back to 1612. I love the old houses, some of which have whimsical names/signs, and many that are so close to the street they have to check traffic before opening the door. That’s because the houses were built before the streets.





The Hawthorne Cottage, home of Captain Robert Bartlett (see below for more about Capt. Bartlett), is here, and we plan to tour it tomorrow.


There was quite a variety of booths selling everything from food to quilts to novelties. Many involved blueberries, of course.





Don found a great gift for Susie to go with Denny’s ugly stick – a fish-shaped tambourine!


Denny got a new cap, free!


We listened to many hours of music from a variety of groups.



People danced.


Children danced.



The dancing troupe danced.


A lot of people gathered under a big tent yesterday when the skies opened up and dumped rain for about an hour.


A river developed under our feet.


One woman took refuge in a washroom!


Volunteer firefighters came to our rescue and kept the tent from collapsing under the weight of water pooling in the tent. They couldn’t fix the hole in it, however.


These boys thought it was great fun to play in the rain!


This morning we had a breakfast of blueberry pancakes, bacon and sausage at the Recreation Centre. We had a nice conversation with a couple at our table. We soon learned that she is Marion Bartlett, closely related to the famous Captain Robert Abram “Bob” Bartlett who accompanied Robert Peary’s expeditions to the North Pole 1898-1909, and has possession of many artifacts of Capt. Bob’s.


She and her partner Dan invited us to her home a few blocks away to view the collection. The home is beautiful, and was formerly a restaurant. Marion bought it at auction, did some modifications to it, and lived there with her husband until his death. It is now her summer home.


I didn’t take any pictures of the inside out of respect for the integrity of the collection, but suffice it to say that I felt like I was in a museum. What a fine collection! I hope it will one day find its way to an appropriate archive.

Here are some views from the 2nd story deck in the back of the house. Too bad it was a little overcast today.




Thanks, Dan and Marion, for an interesting glimpse of history!