Heart’s Content earns historical honour
Heritage district designation denotes over 100 years of history
Preserving the history
When entering Heart’s Content along Route 80, modern businesses and homes welcome you.
The road goes north, through several twists and turns until a large red and yellow building can be seen in the distance — the cable station.
This building is one of many historic building in the town, and the first stop on a journey back in time.
Surroundings dramatically change after passing the station. There are no more modern businesses or even many paved driveways.
The area has been kept well preserved since 1866 when a transatlantic cable was installed in the community. It was then it began to grow.
On July 20 the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador named the area a registered heritage district.
Just shy of 100 local residents joined representatives of the foundation and government officials to unveil a new distinction plaque on the lawn of the Mizzen Heritage Museum, a place chosen because of its central location.
According to Dale Jarvis, heritage development officer with the foundation, there are only a handful of districts in the province with this prestigious designation. One of the few is located in Harbour Grace and another will be honoured Friday, August 2 in Bay Roberts.
One of the many unique buildings that find its home in this deep-rooted district is the Society of United Fisherman Lodge.
Local resident John Warren is on the local heritage committee and explained that the building was restructured to match the original design in 1993 after being named a historic building.
He also said it was the first united fishermen’s lodge in the province which was used in 1873 for the brotherhood as a meeting place.
The ceiling is wrapped in lengths of wood and a stage was built to display many of the fishing artifacts and stories that fabricate the history of the building and those that used it.
Other buildings that are found in the district are the Arnott house, the cable staff houses, old Jack’s shop, the Heyfield Memorial united church and the museum.
The day was rainy so the event started in the fisherman lodge where the crowd gathered to hear the announcement that their town would be designated a heritage district.
Residents of all ages attended the event, hoping for the rain to let up for a few minutes so the plaque could be unveiled.
Mayor Don Blundon spoke to the crowd about the many years he has been around and how proud he is to be a part of the celebration.
“Heart’s Content has more history than many other communities,” he said. “This is officially recognizing Trinity Bay at large.”
Provincial MHA for Trinity-Bay de Verde, Charlene Johnson, told the crowd how important the area is for her.
She completed a course at Memorial University recently and did a paper on the importance of women labourers during the war at the cable station, something she finds significant for the designation.
“It is so important to preserve the history we have,” she noted.
Lisa Wilson, an outreach officer for the foundation, completed a book for the announcement which was handed out to everyone in attendance.
“So many stories, so many traditions,” was written to explain some of the experiences and memories residents have had over the years with different buildings in the heritage district.
She did field work in the area for six months, but was completing a chapter in her life in Heart’s Content with the completion of the book.
“This is the end of an era, but also a beginning,” Wilson said. “Here we go, into the future.”
Unveiling the plaque
Once all the speakers had fondly recalled their memories of the area, the rain had let up.
Everyone walked across the street from the lodge and onto the lawn of the museum where a large pole stuck out of the ground draped in a purple velvet cloth.
Blundon and Johnson had the honour of removing the cloth to unveil the bronzed plaque that announced the area an official heritage district.
The event continued with tea, cof- fee and snacks at the lodge where Chairman of the board of the heritage foundation concluded by saying, “This district is going into the future with a great attitude and a sense of community.”
Members of the Heart’s Content heritage committee and special guests gather in front of the newly erected monument during a celebration denoting an area of the town as a provincial heritage district. They are, from left, Wallace Randall, Patricia Smith, John Warren, Claude Rockwood, Lisa Wilson, Jane Tavernor, Paulette Cumby, Jackie Piercey Lloyd Smmith (obstructed), Alice Cumby, Bob Balsom, Ed Arnott, Ted Rowe and Charlene Johnson. Missing from photo are Howard Tavernor, Brian Fitzpatrick, Blanche Fitzpatrick and Betty White.
The provincial heritage foundation named an area of Heart’s Content that is over a century old as a provincial heritage district. The foundation unveiled a bronze plaque on the lawn of the Mizzen Heritage Museum July 20.