Showing posts with label Post office. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Post office. Show all posts

Monday, November 22, 2021

Some photos from the Hant's Harbour Post Office (and revisiting an interview with the postmaster)

Heritage NL was in Hant's Harbour last week, and we had a quick look at the old post office/telegraph office. This small building has an intriguing history, but the elements have not been kind to it lately. Dale Jarvis took the opportunity to take a few photos, which you can see below.

For more on the building, you can see an adaptive reuse study we did in 2020: 

or you can listen to our interview with telegrapher and former postmaster, Clarence Snook:

Friday, June 21, 2019

Remembering the Hant's Harbour Post and Telegraph Office, an interview with Clarence Snook.

On 10 June 2019, Dale Jarvsi sat down for a chat with Mr Clarence Snook, of Hant’s Harbour, NL, at his apartment at the Admiral's Coast Retirement Centre, Conception Bay South. Now in his 90s, Mr Snook had been the telegraph operator and postmaster in Hant's Harbour for 11 years,  starting before the end of the second World War. This is his story of how he got started and of the women who trained him in. 

Well the lady retired through illness and I had been interested in telegraph, in Morse telegraphy at the time. I was training through another lady, an ex-school teacher over there who also was a postmistress at one time. She was proficient in Morse code, so I went through all one winter and trained under her to learn the Morse telegraphy.

So the following spring, the lady there, Miss Melina Critch, she had been there for many years and her health broke down, and the secretary of... telegraphs – who was the Newfoundland government at that time – called, and wondered if I could struggle through with it even though I hadn’t been officially in the office but I had been trained.

So I said, “Well I’ll try to get along with it,” and I did, and I was there for 11 years, just about 11 years.

I’d just finished high school. I suppose I was probably 18? I had trained in telegraphy independent of the post office that winter. I was attending classes for this lady who’d – I don’t know where she came from, somewhere from out in the community – and I knew that she was proficient in telegraphy. And by arrangement with her schedule I used to go there nights, and eventually I became I suppose proficient in the Morse code.

I was there all long winter, you know, spasmodic right? I didn’t go there every night now but pretty well I’d be there three or four times a week, you know? And it went over very well. She was good as a teacher. And then of course I went over – when Miss Critch [left] – she must’ve been there for I’d say 25 or 30 years.

She was what I would term almost a Florence Nightingale of the community. In those days everybody were letter-writers, and if there was somebody who couldn’t express themselves very well in a letter, they’d go to Melina, Miss Melina, and ask her to write the letter.

She spent hours and weeks I suppose that she never got paid for, nor did she charge for. She was just an angel; that’s the way to put it. She was the nerve centre of the community. In those days were only two radios, not short-wave but long-wave radios, in the community, and she would have to take the news, so-called, and like this time of the year when the sealing ships were out there, the Imogene and the Kyle, etc., etc., they would report back and she would record this in long foolscap books and hand-write it, believe it or not.

This was for the information of the public, to go to the public of the post office and read this. That was the news centre.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Remembering the Hant's Harbour Post and Telegraph Office

One of the projects Heritage NL has been working on involves the old one-room post office building in Hant's Harbour, Trinity Bay (shown above).

Earlier this week, I sat down for a chat with 93-year-old Clarence Snook, the former postmaster and telegraph operator who worked out of this building in the 1940s and '50s.

When I arrived, Mr. Snook had written out some of his memories for me, which you can read here in pdf format.

If you have a memory of the old Hant's Harbour post office, send me an email at Or, even better, send me a postcard at PO Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5!

- Dale Jarvis

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What Do You Remember About the Community Post Office? #Folklorephoto

028.03.126 "Mrs. Dine Haynes." August 17th 1962. From the Allen and Pearl Squires fonds. Courtesy of the Portugal Cove St. Philip's Archives.  
Do you recognize the above post office? or Mrs, Dine Haynes?

The image is part of a collection of slides taken by Allen and Pearl Squires in 1962. Allen Squires grew up in St. Philip's and while home for a visit for the summer of 1962, Allen and Pearl traveled around the Avalon Peninsula taking photographs in various communities including Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, Pouch Cove, Torbay, St. John's, Holyrood, Brigus and others. This slide was labeled "Mrs. Dine Haynes" August 17th 1962, though there are no other photographs from that day to give other clues to where this might be.

The left side of the photograph shows a cemetery, which appears to only be next to the Post Office because of a partial double exposure, and not part of the actual location. In the window is a Players cigarette advertisement and a Brookfield dairy ad "For a treat try a Polar [Bar]", indicating that the Post Office also served as a store. Do you know which community this Post Office was in?

What do you remember about your local post office? Was it part of a store? Was it in someone's house? Who worked there?