Thursday, March 6, 2014
Earlier tonight, I finished up a meeting with the heritage committee of the Town of Bay Roberts. We went over the commemorative text for the bronze plaque that will mark Cable Avenue as a Registered Heritage District. Last year, the Heritage Foundation of NL designated the avenue, and helped to celebrate its 100th anniversary; this year, we'll install a large bronze plaque to mark the avenue's historic and architectural significance.
We've tentatively set the first weekend of August for a formal plaque unveiling. Stay tuned for your invite!
Photo: Surveying site of superintendent's house, August, 1913. From The Cable Building Story.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
It is a well-known fact that there was once a tennis court behind the Bay Roberts cable station. This court was built and maintained by the Western Union in order to provide some leisure and entertainment to their staff. Below are two photographs of people waiting to play tennis, and each came to us from different sources. When we put them together, it was a surprise for us to see that they were almost identical, but not quite -- you can see that one was taken just after the other. It's likely that they had the same photographer, believed to be Mr. Robert Mercer, former cable employee and avenue resident. We wonder how the two photographs got separated but are happy to reunite them. Can you spot the differences? And which do you think was taken first?
If you know anything about these photographs, like the names of people in the tennis line, or if there are any more images in the series, I'd love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Photograph provided by V. Williams (London, Ontario), whose husband Brian was raised on Cable Avenue.|
|Photograph provided by the Bay Roberts Historical Society Inc., part of their larger cable-related collection.|
Monday, June 3, 2013
Eileen Starr, former resident of Cable Avenue and daughter of Western Union employee Fred Starr, tells the story of when their family home burned down on the avenue in 1960.
Bart Kennedy, former employee of Western Union, explains how the cable station operated.
To browse a larger collection of audio clips, please visit our youtube channel. There are some great stories up that we are eager to share.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Cable Avenue in Bay Roberts was always known for having certain services before other parts of town. The Western Union Telegraph company ensured that their company houses had electricity, sewage, running water, and an attractive streetscape, all of which were maintained by hired caretakers. Originally there were two main wells that serviced both the cable station and the avenue, but each of the staff duplexes were eventually given individual wells that were located in their basements. Some of these wells can still be seen in the buildings, and one of the main service wells is still present in the backyard of Randy Collins. Mr. Collins is a long-time resident of Cable Ave who lives in the former Superintendent’s house. He has covered this large well with a gazebo, but it is connected to a faucet that supplies Mr. Collins with water for his garden. He took the time to show me two different wells:
“This here, this is built over a well. It’s 18 feet deep, 15 foot wide. You could put a boat into it. That was the well that supplied all the avenue at one time. And everyone of them got wells--see, there’s a well in each one of those houses. I’ll show you. This one here, I built that over it but in the middle of July in the hottest weather, you can get icy cold water out of that.”“I’ve got a submersible pump down in mine that keeps the water down below three feet from the top. There it is, there’s the well there. I left the cover off. Each one supplied two households, see. And those wells would be perfectly good you know, if you wanted to pump them out through a line, get some water, you’d have no trouble.”
I wonder how many communities have old water wells that are still in use? If you know of any, please contact us, we’d love to hear about it. email@example.com.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
As you may know, Bay Roberts has put in an application for Cable Avenue to become a provincially recognized heritage district. As a part of the designation process, I am currently conducting fieldwork here to collect stories about what life has been like for residents of Cable Ave. Though I have only met with a few people so far, I already have several remarkable stories from people who have lived on the street. Please stay tuned to hear some of these stories, many of which will be profiled at the Road to Yesterday Museum this summer. The exhibit we are putting together will help celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the district, and the history of Western Union in the town.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any information about the history of Cable Ave that you might have. I'd be particularly interested in seeing old photographs of the district or/and the people who were connected to it. Also, any personal objects that have a connection to the buildings here would also be wonderful to borrow for our exhibit. I'm very excited about this project, and look forward to many more visits with people who have memories of the cable company in Bay Roberts. firstname.lastname@example.org, (709) 739-1892 ext.3.
|Lorn Kirby, long time resident of Cable Ave, reflects on raising children on this street.|
|90 year old Eileen Starr reflects on her time living on Cable Ave. beginning in the 1930s.|