South Shore Breaker

Looking at the end of an era

- Lloyd Tancock Dayspring, N.S.

Feb. 28, 2022. The last day of local postal services for another Nova Scotia rural community.

In this case it is the community of Blandford and several feeder communitie­s surroundin­g it that saw the end of more than 160 years of continuous postal service.

Blandford’s post office was establishe­d in 1859 and saw as many as 12 postmaster­s provide a crucial link in the communicat­ion system for the scenic Aspotogan Peninusula.

As the population of the area increased, further post offices were created upon the request of area residents, citing the reason as the rising population and the opening of various business ventures needing the frequent and dependable modes of contact with customers and suppliers.

Sandy Beaches post office opened in 1867, only to be renamed Bayswater in 1894. In 1895, post offices were opened in both Aspotogan (February) and The Lodge (October).

Upper Blandford post office commenced services in 1911 and then Birchy Head followed in 1937.

Thus, as of 1937 there existed six post offices in a 17-kilometre stretch of shoreline highway.

In the following decade, the motorized modes of transporta­tion soon made it obvious to the bean counters in government finance offices that it just was no longer feasible to continue to operate many offices, which were so closely situated, and the large scale closings of many rural post offices began in earnest.

On June 30, 1950, the post office at The Lodge closed permanentl­y and on the following day, July 1, 1950, The Bayswater, Birchy Head and Aspotogan post offices also closed permanentl­y.

The Upper Blandford post office, oddly enough being the closest to Blandford, lasted a further year until it permanentl­y closed on Nov. 30,

1951.

When we consider that in 1913 the post office at East River closed and in 1947 the East Chester post office closed, and finally, on June 30 and July 1 of 1950, the Mill Cove, Fox Point and East River Point post offices finally closed.

We then realize that as of 1951 there was one single post office remaining between Hubbards and Chester on the shoreline route, a distance of some 50.7 kilometres.

On April 4, 1998, Mrs. Annie White of Blandford bought a combinatio­n general store and restaurant, known as The Deck, situated in the centre of Blandford, and accepted the appointmen­t of postmaster.

She initially provided full services but eventually stopped providing money order service because of the $300 yearly rental expense for the money order machine and

the very small demand for money orders due to people predominan­tly utilizing personal cheques and electronic payment methods.

As White describes it, her duties basically were reduced to providing a place for residents to pick up their mail and to mail items.

The advent of parcel delivery services such as UPS, Purolator, etc. severely cut into her services and thus her revenue.

With the closure of the Blandford post office, the community became a rural route destinatio­n to be served from the Hubbards post office.

While the loss of the postal operation could be viewed as losing a lot of small administra­tive headaches for a very small revenue base being a good thing,

White laments the regular interactio­n with the community residents, which always brought much joy to both her and the people she so faithfully served for 27 years.

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