Carriage ride on Route 127, Chamcook, New Brunswick. Circa 1902 or 1903. View of Chamcook Schoolhouse in Original location.
This is the view you would see riding along Route 127 in Chamcook heading North in about 1902 or 1903. The farmhouse in the photo on the left was just rebuilt after a fire when this photo was taken.
The Chamcook School is on the right in its original location, very close to the road. While you’re here, you can see the original foundation. It’s right there where a variety of trees are now growing. When we first moved here we thought it was a rock garden. But no, that is just how the foundations were built! Very large rocks.
Chamcook Schoolhouse is a prime example of pre-1850 school architecture.
The building is reported to have been built in 1845. Not unexpectedly, its architecture is extremely plain and functional. A gable-roofed, wooden building with a central chimney, three windows symmetrically placed in the façade, and three tall windows and an entrance on one side, it is typical of many such schoolhouses built even later in the century.
Below is the school as it appeared in 1974.
It served as a one-room school until 1967 and was then used by local fishermen to repair and store their nets. In 1975 the building was moved from its original site and converted into a summer residence.
When Chamcook Schoolhouse was a school, students took turns carrying water from the well at the farmhouse across the road. The pump well is still working today! The water is a bit rusty looking but we’re sure with more pumping, more often, we can clear it up. We shall see!
The landscape of Chamcook has undergone significant changes since 1903. But it appears after all this time we’ve come back to have something in common with the people 120 years ago — developing land for farms and homesteading. Many families have been choosing New Brunswick over the past few years and setting up homesteads to support their families and the community. It’s neat how the land is always ready for more farmers and abundant harvests over and over again.
You can see that the trees have certainly re-established themselves complete with many varieties of historical apple trees that we have yet to identify. However, the deer know them well!
In the 19th century, the government of New Brunswick implemented a land grant system to encourage settlement and development. Under this system, individuals could acquire land by fulfilling certain requirements, which often included clearing a specified acreage of land. This practice was intended to ensure that settlers were actively using and improving the land. They would clear the land by cutting down trees, removing stumps and roots, and using controlled fires to clear underbrush. I wonder if they ever considered goats… our Nigerian Dwarf goats and Berkshire pigs are really good at keeping things trimmed and landscaped.
Clearing the land grew the logging industry. The Chamcook Gristmill was owned and operated by John Wilson in 1834. In 1870 is was taken over by the Grimmer family.
Grimmers Mountain. That is the name of the mountain that you’ll see the sun set over out the windows of the Chamcook Schoolhouse.
View of Grinners Mountain from the back deck of the Chamcook Schoolhouse.
At some point in here Henry Rankine owned the land that the water-powered sawmill was on and either worked at the mill or owned it. If you know the dates and can clear up the history I’m missing here, it would be much appreciated. I’ve been told the history before but I’m still getting it all straight 😉
In 1973 the Rankine property was purchased by The International Atlantic Salmon Federation. If you take a walk on the trails there you can see a millstone from the old mill by the stream.
The Chamcook School was moved to its new foundation in 1977 when Magnusson’s first rehabilitated the schoolhouse into a lovely summer home. The shed still remains in its original location. It looks like that was always the perfect spot for a shed.
On June 28, 1978 Mr. and Mrs. Everett Magnusson received an Award of Merit for the Rehabilitation of the Chamcook Schoolhouse. This is a legacy we are so honoured to continue!
The question remains, who is the couple on the buggy? I think I’ll try and sort that story out before I start spreading rumours. Do you know who this couple is? I have a good yarn if needed!
And from lots of chatting – of which I need to do more of to find out the rest of the story 🙂