Town has enough history to warrant a heritage district
“Then we went down to the SUF Hall where we had lots of artifacts on display and we served toutons. The public also brought in some of their own artifacts,” Balsom explains.
The two cable staff residences that housed British staff members involved with the transatlantic cable are currently owned by Edward Woodley. Woodley graciously opened them to the public for the weekend, providing visitors with a glimpse into the home life of staff members in the late 1800s.
Next stop on the tour was Mizzen’s headquarters – formerly the United Church School, built in 1917, where a rug hooking display and photo gallery are featured.
A short distance away Heyfield United Church, built in 1878 is getting a new picket fence. The society is currently fundraising “and doing everything we can” to restore the church to be used as a community arts centre.
“It’s in pretty good shape and we got a grant awhile ago and started to do some work on it.”
One of the fundraising events is a coffee house held from 8 to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. Organized by Mizzen’s vice-chairman John Warren, the fundraiser features local and regional talent.
Just a little further down the road, visitors got a look at another project in the works, the Rendell Forge. Blacksmith Charles Rendell moved to Heart’s Content from Trinity in the early 1800s where he crafted ironwork for vessels. His descendants carried on the blacksmith trade for three generations. The society plans to eventually use the forge to demonstrate the blacksmithing tradition.
On the north side of the harbour there’s a Newfoundland tradition still enjoyed by young and old.
The House of Commons ( Bill Piercey’s old fish store) welcomes one and all to pull up a chair around the old woodstove and share a yarn or two. The store gets its name from the many heated debates that have taken place there over the years.
“We’ve got some old photos displayed of a lot of the old guys who used to go there,” Rockwood notes. “It’s almost like a rendezvous, people meet there and sit around and chat on a Saturday afternoon.”
Heart’s Content’s historic treasures are located within easy walking distance of each other and during heritage day visitors got a good view of the community’s heritage, along with a peek of how more of its past will emerge as the future unfolds.
Mizzen is working on having the area designated a heritage district and Balsom says a half dozen houses in the section have already been restored.
Much of the history is archived in documents at the town hall under the watchful eye of town clerk Alice Cumby, Mizzen’s treasurer/secretary.
So far only the physical structure of the old Rendell Forge has been restored. The plan is to clean up and display the tools and eventually demonstrate how the forge operated.
TOP: Mizzen’s Heritage Hall displays a variety of hand hooked rugs by women of the area, who gather regularly to work in the traditional craft. The Hibiscus Heirloom by Rhoda Hedd was started by her mother-inlaw in the early 1970s.
Bob Balsom, left and Claude Rockwood flip through some photos from the past at the SUF Hall in Heart’s Content. The hall holds many artifacts from the community’s rich history.
Visitors at the Heritage Hall in Heart’s Content are invited to try their hand at the time-honoured art of rug hooking.