Town has enough his­tory to war­rant a her­itage dis­trict

The Compass - - OR­THTE -

“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.


Lil­lian Sim­mons photo

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.

Lil­lian Sim­mons photo

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.

Lil­lian Sim­mons photo

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.

Lil­lian Sim­mons photo

Visi­tors at the Her­itage Hall in Heart’s Con­tent are in­vited to try their hand at the time-hon­oured art of rug hook­ing.

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