Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Goose Cove Train Derailment - an update and new photo!

Last week, I posted a story from Baxter Tuck about a derailment along the Bonavista Branch Line. You can listen to that story here.

Heather Rose Russell  wrote to tell me, "The railroader who fell into Beaver Pond Brook was Amos Burge of Bonavista. This was circa 1920. Mr. Burge passed away circa 1959; he and his family lived on River Styx Road in Bonavista, right next door to my grandparents."

Lacking a picture of that particular derailment, I included one from a different derailment along the same line.  Heather had more information on that, as well, nothing "the picture shown is the derailment in Goose Cove in 1942 in which baggageman Harold White met his Waterloo."  

One of our Heritage Foundation board members, Lloyd Kane, went one further, providing an photo of the same Goose Cove wreck, from a different angle.

He wrote, "Attachedis a photo from our family album showing the same derailment, I think. The
location is Goose Cove, Trinity. My Grandparents house is in the background."  Lloyd's photo is included above!

Lloyd's Grandmother and Grandfather were Joanna and Jacob Kane. Lloyd writes, "Joanna Stone (1901-1979) married 1920 to Jacob Morris Kane (1886-1947). Grandmother was born in Old Bonaventure and Grandfather was born in Goose Cove. He worked for many years as Sectionman on Nfld. Railway, Bonavista Branch."

If you have more information on either of these derailments, or other photos of the railroad era in Newfoundland and Labrador, drop me a line at

Exploring Scotland’s Urban Past with Carol Stobie #podcast

Carol Stobie works with Scotland’s Urban Past - a five-year nationwide community engagement project about the history of Scotland’s towns and cities. It is a part of Historic Environment Scotland, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Scotland’s Urban Past’s project ideas stem from local communities, and the organization helps grow these ideas into full community-led projects by offering training, access to essential resources and project support. Carol is their Audience Development Officer, with an interest in storytelling, folklore, and cultural history. In this episode we discuss Carol’s trip to Newfoundland, her work with Scotland’s Urban Past, community engagement and development, community mapping, oral history, and archiving.

"Sharing the Memories – stories of Harmon AFB" a huge success! Listen in here!

We had an amazing night last night sharing stories and memories at the CanAm Lodge here in Stephenville. I want to thank these three generous, funny, and knowledgeable men for giving their time and their tales: Bill Pilgrim (left), Ron Olson, and John F. Young (seated). We made a rough recording of the night, and you can listen in and hear them spin their yarns.

Thanks to Debra Coughlin for organizing and pulling together speakers, to Larry Bentley and the gentlemen of CanAm Lodge for hosting us all in their historic building, and to the audience that packed the room and then stuck around to share their own stories. It was a memorable night!

Download the mp3

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Peeling Potatoes - Gary Danewood remembers KP Duty at Harmon AFB

Wednesday was a busy day for interviews at the Friendly Invasion 2016 celebrations in Stephenville! I started off the day interviewing Gary Danewood, pictured above with his wife Sharon. In this clip, Gary remembers peeling potatoes as part of his KP duties when first arriving in Stephenville.

Announcing The Friendly Invasion 2016's "Folklorist-in-Residence" in Stephenville

In the 1930s, Stephenville was primarily a French speaking farming village with a population of 500. But with the start of the the Second World War, that all changed. In April 1941, construction began on a deepwater port and adjacent air field, and by 1942 Stephenville had grown into a garrison town with an estimated population of 7,000.

It was an invasion, of sorts, but a friendly one, and Stephenville was home to the former Ernest Harmon Air Force Base from 1941to 1966.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the base closure, and the town is putting on a big celebration of its military and aviation history.  I was delighted to be asked to participate, as the folklorist-in-residence for The Friendly Invasion 2016.

I'm in Stephenville all this week, observing, photographing, and conducting interviews with locals and visitors about their memories of Harmon AFB.  My first scheduled interview is at 9am Wednesday morning, so stay tuned! I'll be blogging and tweeting about whatever I learn.

Wednesday night, I'll be acting as host and moderator for "Sharing the Memories – stories of Harmon AFB" at 8 pm at the CanAm Lodge. Tickets are available at the door (limited seating) and at the Dreamcatcher Lodge (709) 643-6655 (cash/debit/credit) and Debbie’s Video (cash/ATM). $3 pp

If you have a memory of Harmon AFB or Stephenville in the '40s, '50s or '60s (or know someone who does), and are willing to be interviewed, let me know! You can email me at and we can chat by phone or in St John's after the event. Or if you are in Stephenville this week, you can track me down at the Dreamcatcher Lodge! We'll be putting all our interviews online as part of the Collective Memories project, on Memorial University's Digital Archive Initiative.  

- Dale Jarvis

Monday, July 25, 2016

Trapped by the heels - a train derailment on the Bonavista Branch Line. #oralhistory

As part of our ongoing Collective Memories project to record the stories of Newfoundland and  Labrador seniors, we've been doing some work with the Clarenville Heritage Society about railway memories.

On 21 July 2016, I had a chat with a couple old railroaders, Lindo Palmer and Baxter Tuck. They were full of stories, as you might expect! We'll post the full interview eventually, but in the meantime, have a listen to Baxter telling one of his father's stories, about the time the mailman was caught by the heels of his boots when a train derailed into a brook on the Bonavista branch line.

Photo Credit:  A derailment on the Bonavista Branch Line.
The roadbed had grown soft, sending the cars into an uncontrolled
rocking motion which tipped them over. Railway Coastal Museum.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Collective Memories Roadtrip: Bonavista Peninsula

Pei and Michael measuring and drawing the inside of the Salvation Army Citadel.
Last week from July 12th to the 15th Built Heritage Officer Michael Philpott, Heritage Intern Pei Xing Li, and myself, Terra Barrett travelled to the Bonavista Peninsula for a #NLHeritage Roadtrip. The main goals for this work road trip were to measure, and draw the Salvation Army Citadel in Elliston and the spar in Champney’s West, gather as much information about the Citadel and spar, and to photograph the Foundation’s designated buildings.
Sign inside the Salvation Army Citadel.
We left the office early Tuesday morning and hit the highway. Our first stop after a quick lunch at Two Whales in Port Rexton was the Tourism Elliston Office. We talked with Don Johnson about the Citadel and asked about who we should talk with in the area. He also showed us the Salvation Army instruments which were found in the citadel and were being stored in the Tourism Elliston storage room. Don then let us in the building and found a ladder for us to use.
The Salvation Army Citadel which was recently designated.
The weather outside was pretty dreadful so we mainly focused on photographing, measuring, and drawing the inside of the citadel. The equipment we used was very straight forward – a couple of measuring tapes, graph paper, a clipboard, pencils and pens, line level and string, a drafting triangle, and a molding comb. If you would like to learn more about field documentation there is a fantastic PDF guide from the United States’ National Park Service here.
Mortuary Chapel, Trinity, NL.
After measuring and drawing the interior of the building we had a dinner of fish cakes and fish and brewis at Nanny’s Root Cellar and then headed out to take some photographs. One major part of the Heritage Foundation’s mandate is to designate buildings and offer information, support, and grants for the restoration of buildings. We have an online listing of our properties and have photographs of each building. Some of these photographs are quite old so we decided to use the trip to take photographs of as many of the buildings as possible in order to update our website. If you want to check out some of our registered structures click here!
Pei and I turnipped in Champney's West.
Wednesday we spent most of our time in Champney’s West. If you follow the blog you will remember Dale and I took a trip to Champney’s last summer did a few workshops and a couple of oral history interviews. This summer our team did a couple more interviews about the spar which rests outside the Heritage House in Champney’s West. This spar (which is basically the mast off of a ship) is a piece of the Hazel Pearl which was wrecked near the community. Two local fisherman accidentally caught it in their net and so they’ve displayed it outside their community museum. There are several people in the community with vivid memories of when the Hazel Pearl sank and so we did a couple of interviews on its sinking and hope to do another one next week with the man who accidentally retrieved the spar.
Sarah Hiscock who was interview about the sinking of the Hazel Pearl.
The Hookey house which was framed and finished in the 1930s.
In the early evening we were invited to an old house built in the 1930s which quite sadly is falling down. The woman who lived in the house until recently is 106 and both she and her husband were incredibly crafty. Amy Hookey is a beautiful quilter, and rug hooker who left in her home an incredible collection of mats and quilts both finished an unfinished.
Bj who purchased the home has contacted the local crafting groups in the area about reusing the scraps and materials remaining in the home for new projects. Amy’s husband Alonzo was also a craftsperson – most all of the furniture found in the house was handmade. There were handmade rocking chairs, dressers, and built in cabinets. It was an incredible house to explore. It will be sad to see the house go however it hasn’t been lived in for some time and it is starting to really deteriorate quickly. I’m glad Michael, Pei and myself had a brief opportunity to explore the home and photograph some of it’s stories. I would love to talk with Amy in the near future and hear some of her personal memories and stories about the home and about crafting.
Details of Alonzo's work.
Pile of Amy's quilts.
Later Wednesday evening we returned to Trinity to finish photographing the area and we even ventured to the abandoned Trinity Loop for a couple of photographs. One interesting thing about talking to folks in small communities is their willingness to invite you into their homes. P.J. allowed us to walk through Amy’s home, we were invited in to Karl Hobb’s home in Elliston for a chat about the Salvation Army, carpenter Aiden Duff showed us around the Trinity schoolhouse, and we enjoyed a cup of tea with house owner Robert Cuff.
View from St. Paul's Anglican School in Trinity, NL.
The designation of the Loop is confined to the railroad tracks but it is pretty amazing to explore the abandoned park.
Following a late supper in Trinity we returned to Port Rexton to see if the Kitchen Party was still happening. We stopped by after nine for an event that started at seven expecting it to be almost finished. Instead we arrived just in time for a lunch of tea, sandwiches, and cookies and another couple of hours of music. There were locals who sang original songs, played instrument from keyboard and guitar to accordion and bass, a couple of ladies got up and stepped along with the jigs and reels, and there was a special appearance by a fiddle player from Newfoundland and Labrador tourism who is touring the coast and playing at community events. It was a lovely ending to a full day!
Michael and Pei on our Fox Island hike.
On Thursday we woke up relatively early and took the opportunity to hike some of the Fox Island Trail in Champney’s West. You get great vistas of the ocean, Trinity, and Trinity East. Our team spent most of the rest of our day in Elliston. This time we were measuring, photographing, and drawing the exterior of the building, as well as conducting interviews with local people about the Salvation Army Citadel. Michael and Pei did a lot of the measurements and drawings while I conducted a couple of interviews. The first interview was with a gentleman, Lewellyn Tucker who grew up in Elliston and went to the Salvation Army Citadel with his grandmother. Lew said in jest that his favourite memory of going to the Citadel was trying to make off with the 25 cent collection he brought each week. He said 25 cents was a lot of money back then but he never made away with it. He was always caught by his grandmother and put the collection in the plate.
Port Union Heritage District.
Michael and Pei measuring the Salvation Army Citadel.
Theodore Tucker was the second interview and he discussed the open air services held during the summer, who played the drums and tambourines, as well as his memories about attending services and singing on the platform. We tried to do one last interview before heading out to Bonavista to take some registered heritage structure photos but unfortunately the gentleman wasn’t home. Instead we stopped into Bonavista and photographed houses, churches, and lodges. We were invited in to see the progress on the home of Robert Cuff who, along with his son, is renovating his home.
Alexander Mortuary Chapel of All Souls.
We left Bonavista and headed to Upper Amherst Cove where we had a lovely supper at the Bonavista Social Club. When we finished our meal we booked it back to Port Rexton to bingo but unfortunately we were late! In my experience you never want to be late to bingo and you certainly don’t want to be late and new to the game. It took us a few minutes to sort out what size cards we wanted and then we had to get dabbers. Once we got into the swing of things it was a great fun. We had to keep checking with the table next to us to check what card we were on. We also played Wild Bologna for the last card which means that you dab all the numbers that end in the number called. 17 was called so 7, 27, 37, 47 and 57 could be dabbed. Is this common to bingo? It was my first time playing with Wild Bingo. Although we didn’t win anything it was a fun evening and it was great to see some familiar faces from the Kitchen Party and from an interview we had done.
One of the many designated homes in Bonavista.
Friday we packed up the car and headed to Bonavista. We finished taking photographs of the registered structures in the area and we did an interview with a gentleman name Bill Faulkner who was a school teacher in Elliston and had memories of the Salvation Army Citadel. He described the renovations to the citadel which he had helped with, the special services for Easter, and Christmas, and the music which was played during the services. After we finished the interview and photographed the last buildings we stopped at Aunt Sarah’s Chocolate Shop to try her ice cream and then we hit the highway back to town.

Stay tuned for some short video clips of Sarah Hiscock and Albert Hiscock's interviews!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg with Nolan Reilly #podcast

Nolan Reilly has a long-standing interest in community history. He is a professor of history and former chair of the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg, as well as being the the co-founder and Co-Director of the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg. The Oral History Centre was established in 2012, and develops and offers training in advanced digital recording technologies, digital storage, strategies for oral history research, archiving, and dissemination. It offers a program of local and international conferences, lecture series, workshops, and other events. We talk about Nolan’s trip to Newfoundland, genealogical research, the Oral History Centre, several of their projects, as well as how he started working with oral history.

Pics from Youth Heritage Night in Spaniard's Bay

Courtney, Emily, Thomas, and Stewart pose after a successful Youth Heritage Night at the Wes Gosse Heritage Museum in Spaniard's Bay. Local youth talked about their heritage projects, with a focus on local oral history, museum work, and involvement in the First World War Commemorations. Congrats to all!