Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And now for something completely different...

Whew, too much research lately, need to lighten up. I've just recalled a thoroughly delightful day we spent last summer at the Albert County Museum in Hopewell Cape on the Fundy shore of New Brunswick. The museum is operated by the fine folks of the Albert County Historical Society. Albert County was founded in 1845. Hopewell Cape was the Shiretown and the structures on the site were the original Shiretown buildings in their original locations, spreading up a gentle slope from the shore.

Competing with more famous Hopewell Rocks, (which we kayaked in the afternoon), the Albert County Museum can hold its own historically. Hopewell Cape was the birthplace of Premier R.B.Bennett, who among other achievements, founded the CBC - and himself a Conservative!! - and the museum is proud to showcase his career, as well as the lives and work of the people of Albert County.

The museum complex features a fine exhibition hall of farming, fishing and social history displays, the original County Gaol with graffiti from prisoners preserved on the plaster walls, and the actual County Tax Office with files and space for researchers and genealogists. The Community Hall has a powerful display about R.B.Bennett and the Great Depression, which got us both interested in reading Boyco's new book about this complex man and his political times.

The building that most impressed us was the County Court House (rebuilt 1904 after a fire ). It is a solemn classically styled building at the top of the rise. The structure was designed by Watson Reid, a local architect, son of a carpenter. The interior of the building has exquisite woodwork.

And now for something completely different, something many locals don't know! Watson Reid was one of three architect brothers whose impact ranged far beyond their little village. In 1888, in the seaside resort town of Coronado near San Diego, the hotel designed by the lads, the lavish Queen Ann style Hotel del Coronado, was opened. It stands today, with several additions, offering hospitality now, as it did then, to the world's rich and famous. It is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Small-town lad makes good.

Photo top right: Hotel del Coronado. Thanks to Wikipedia - and yes, I did send in my donation to Jimmy Wales.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a stop that requires many hours to take in all the grandeur and history. I especially liked the mention of Bennett and the CBC - and the shot at the present-day Conservatives! Good for you!