1895 Main Street in Bad­deck

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary / History - JOAN MACINNES

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.

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