1895 Main Street in Baddeck
This photograph depicts a portion of Chebucto Street in the village of Baddeck, circa 1895.
On the lefthand side of the picture, the readers will notice the Court House lawn with newly-planted deciduous trees. The Court House is not visible in the picture as it was set farther back on the lot, unlike the other buildings which were fronting directly on the street.
The next building on the left was the former Robert Elmsly house. Robert Elmsly was among Baddeck’s earliest settlers, having arrived in 1839. He was a merchant, however, he is best remembered as the village’s first official Post Master. The post office was in the ell at the rear of his dwelling. To quote George Patterson, author of “History of Victoria County” published in 1885, about Robert Elmsly - Patterson writes, “He was known throughout the length and breadth of the county as the genial postmaster of the shire town.”
The building adjacent to the Elmsly home was the Maclean store but, later became a warehouse for the Mckay-mcaskill store.
The next structure was the Mckay-mcaskill store which initially had been in possession of the Mccurdy family. From all accounts, it was a well-stocked and inclusive department store which was comparable to those found in large urban centres at that time. The building even boasted an elevator (not for its customers but for transporting goods from one floor to another). On September 6, 1926, what would turn out be a disastrous fire broke out in this store in the early hours of the morning. By day break, a total of twenty-six buildings were destroyed east of the Court House on both sides of the street.
Further east of the department store, the steeple of the original St. Michael’s church can be discerned among the trees. Built in 1858, it was the second oldest church serving the villagers. It, sadly, was a victim of the fire. However, a new church was built on the same site two years later in 1928.
The building appearing in the right foreground of the picture, had been the store belonging to Albert I. Hart. In subsequent years, it became the Merchant’s Bank of Halifax and eventually, The Royal Bank of Canada. It was razed in the 1960’s to make way for a new Royal Bank which was constructed on the same parcel of land and is extant.
That completes a short stroll along a section of the commercial district of Baddeck’s main street as it appeared in the mid-1890’s to the turn of the century.