Picton's East Main Street and the streets running back from it, and parallel to it, boast the town's finer homes. They get lots of attention. Many are evolving into inns and guest homes, and establish the much-celebrated character of the town.
As I ventured along East Mary Street (a street I have driven countless times in my life) I became aware for the first time, in that way that only walking a neighbourhood can reveal, that this street with its workmanlike homes, a few extant businesses and the echoes of many others, is a considerable distance downhill from the town's business and well-to-do residential centre, on a slope that leads even further down to the creek flowing through a marsh into the harbour.
|the Armoury c1913 (from the south)|
|looking uphill to Main Street|
The scale of the houses on the eastern stretch of Mary Street is modest in most cases, and I love the old-timey feel of the streetscape (but for the proliferation of beige and brown vinyl siding, attesting to a persuasive salesman of the product a few decades ago?) From here we look up to the backs of structures central to the town's identity - the back of the Armoury, the rear of the iconic Regent theatre. We are lower town, here.
This year, the back yards of the south side houses facing the marsh (now a lovely park, which dad took great delight in showing me one time, on a rare visit from the west) are looking at fenced in floods.
|north side, built into the bank|
|#33 - stone foundation accommodating to the slope|
|33 Mary seen from the marsh creek below|
"One of the earliest [streets] surveyed was Mary Street, running parallel to Main beside the marsh...In its undulating hills and sharp bends, Mary Street shows the influence of the natural topography of the land. The eastern leg, at Bridge Street, sometimes referred to as 'short Mary' is particularly picturesque; houses on the north side are built into the side of a steep bank, looming over the narrow roadway and their neighbours to the south."
This was written in 1984. There have been changes for better, and for worse.
One thing I know for sure. Mary Street is appreciated; several regular readers drop by the blog occasionally.
If you'd like to join our walk, here's a Streetview link.
|pedimented window trim|
|well-tended brick Victorian with bay window|
|38 Mary Street East, stone lintels painted red|
|nice old transom and sidelights|
The bottom of the ravine has stories to tell. I imagine lumberyards and such, and know there were forges and a carriage works. Further up the ravine, on 150 acres of picturesque dell which now shelters Glenwood cemetery, there was once a tannery. The c1835 Mullett's Tannery tanned goat and sheep skin using sumac. For a perspecitve on the operation of a c19 tannery, here is a link. In today's peaceful garden cemetery it's almost impossible to imagine this scene: "The work was hard manual labour. Living next to a tannery meant the constant stench of curing leather and stagnant pools of waste material. Streams became heavily polluted as tanning liquors, lime solutions, flesh and hair were discharged into them." (Northern Woodlands website, Summer 2011.)
|the marsh - redux|