106 St. Phillips Street

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David Walker purchased this property from Emanuel Fronk in 1866. Walker Fronk and McDonald were the only property owners on St. Philips Street in the A. F. Church Map of 1883. The Fronk family daughters were employees of Wile Carding Mill.

Born in 1842, David Walker moved to Bridgewater about the time of his marriage to Abigail Connors (O'Connor) of Lunenburg area. He was a farmer and mould maker at the Bridgewater Foundry. According to his obituary, Walker was "a very efficient workman". Walker stood close to 7 feet tall and can be seen in a Bridgewater Foundry photograph. He had one son and one daughter.

Son Charles married Florence Publicover in 1893. He raced his trotting horses on the LaHave River in the winter with Eber Sweeney, and served as Bridgewater Town Councillor from 1902 until 1914. Florence was a midwife in the community. They were Liberal party supporters and belonged to the Church of England. Charles was listed as a farmer and as a veterinary surgeon, a business that he ran out of his home for large animals and was probably one of, if not the first, veterinarians in Bridgewater. Charles died in 1916 at the age of 48 of tuberculosis. Florence died in 1944, also of tuberculosis. She had inherited the house upon the death of Charles, and upon her death, their son Joseph W. inherited the home.

Charles and Florence had several children including Charles, Fletcher, Thomas, Donald, Sarah Elizabeth, Joseph, Ralph and Eric. Two sons were actually named Charles; a son Charles David Junior who married Drucilla Mamie Reeves and lived until 1973, and a son Charles Eric who died at the age of 25, also of tuberculosis. Eric worked in 1914 as a clerk at Ducoffe Brothers, and served in the 85th Battalion during the Great War. After his return from war, he spent much of his time at the Kentville Sanatorium. Son Fletcher was a station baggage master in Bridgewater; Thomas was a butter maker, educated at Guelph Ccollege in Middleton, who also died of tuberculosis. Donald was a "creamery man" living in Windsor, and Sarah married John Douglas (JD) McKenzie, the manager of LaHave Creamery of Bridgewater. JD also ran the Middleton and Windsor dairies. Joseph had a working farm with registered dairy cows, trotting horses and fruit trees selling apples, pears and plums, and he also worked for the Town of Bridgewater for a short time. Ralph worked at Olands Brewery in Halifax and married Margaret Somers, a nurse from Springhill.

This late 19th century, Lunenburg County Vernacular style home has a gable roof with a large piece built on the back that is newer then the rest of the home but does not alter the integrity of the original house. There is a large hip roofed dormer on the back section of the home. Also of interest is the front portico and moulded window hoods on the original front section of the house.

Some renovations were made to the front portico, and window. Original corbelled chimney removed. Large addition added to the rear, but does not alter the integrity of the front section. The property once contained two large barns.

Brookside Cemetery

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106 Victoria Road

Brookside Cemetery is valued for its spiritual and cultural significance to the town of Bridgewater. It serves as a record of the diverse people who have lived in and built the town from its inception, and is still significant as a resting place for today's residents. It serves as a multi-denominational cemetery having replaced many of the small graveyards which had been attached to local churches. Its first burial dates back to 1860, and through continuous burials since that time, it is the resting place of many significant citizens of the Town.

The Cemetery occupies a 25.8 acre site. It was first cared for by Dean Wile, a local businessman, and was turned over to the town in 1879. From the earliest days of the town, prominent business and professional persons were laid to rest in Brookside Cemetery.

The Cemetery shows evidence of the development of monument markers; examples of many carvers, and features stones produced by local carvers. 

Brookside_Cemetery_registration_backgroundThe natural heritage of the mature tree canopy and pond, its terraced and grass-covered internment area, and its meandering paths and roadways are all of great historical and cultural significance.

 Its architectural features or character defining elements include:

  • Prominently located on the corner of York Street and Victoria Road/Hwy 325.• Terraced, grass-covered internment areas.
  • Landscape, streetscape and natural heritage of mature trees and pond.
  • Low stone walls and wrought-iron railings around group burials.
  • Variety (size, style, material & sophistication) of markers.
  • Original stones indicative of their time in history.
  • Inscriptions demonstrating evolution of memorial messages.
  • Burial place for influential community members.
  • Only multi-denominational cemetery in town.
  • Established by a local businessman and granted to the town.

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Holy Trinity Anglican Church

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68 Alexandra Avenue

Holy Trinity Anglican Church has survived intact and it is one of two original churches in town (St. Joseph’s Catholic Church dates from 1889).  The Anglicans first started building their church in 1854, however, a windstorm destroyed the partially built building, so construction recommenced in 1856; by 1858 it was finished and consecrated.

The original structure is much the same as that which exists now. The one big alteration was in 1889, when the gallery at the top of the church’s tower was closed in with the present steeple. This was done in order to house the bell donated to the church by Judge Mather Byles DesBrisay, one of Bridgewater’s most prominent citizens. At the same time, his wife, Ada DesBrisay (née Harley), donated the series of four stain glass windows, the highlight of the church’s interior design. A Casavant pipe organ from the famous Quebec company was installed in 1902.

86.11.5 dbp16 pc holy trinity church 1910On the outside of the building, the most noticeable feature is the original board-and-batten siding. The church was built in a plain Gothic Revival style, just as it was catching on in North America.  Inspired by medieval architecture, specifically the architecture of North America where wood was plentiful and stone was expensive, it was adapted to wood siding. Though later making use of clapboard and shingles, early versions used board and batten siding to try to mimic the overall aesthetic that stone would provide.

Also breathtaking are the lancet (spear-shaped) windows on the tower, with tracery inside of them to further form pairs of lancets. The design within a design, still with seemingly original glass, shows the craft of the early Anglican congregation. The large trinity window set within the frame of a larger cathedral-style Gothic window also adds a nice touch. Another thing to notice are the "returning eaves" on the front entrances. Though they were used in the Greek Revival architectural style, the polar opposite of Gothic Revival, they appear here, and their positions lend great support to the fact that they were adapted locally for structural support as opposed to pure decoration.

Located in a residential area of town, along Alexandria Avenue, the ambiance – complete with the remains of the original cemetery and headstones – is as preserved as the church is. In a growing community where streets were often named for local landmarks, Judge DesBrisay’s History of the County of Lunenburg, tells us the locals referred to the street which the church was on as Church Street; what better name?

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Wile Carding Mill Museum

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 242 Victoria Road

Wile Carding Mill is the only remaining industry of Sebastopol, Bridgewater's 19th century water powered industrial park and one of few original carding mills in the province reflecting the history of the carding industry in Nova Scotia. Sebastopol once contained grist mills, a saw mill, foundry, wheel & carriage factory and tannery. Wile Mill also reflects the importance of Lunenburg sheep farming and its processing methods. Water rights were a major business concern of this time period and an important factor in Bridgewater history. Today, the mill is in operation seasonally, as a Nova Scotia Museum.

This building is an excellent example of a small nineteenth century industrial structure. It has its original gable roof, a back ell added in 1890 and a recent board and batten shed added over the flume. The wheel, before the addition of the ell would have originally been exposed. Original clapboards remain on the front and ends of the main building. All original wooden gears and flat belt mechanics have been retained as well as original machinery. Original front door and hardware remain with inscription (Nov 11/74 1874) carved on the back of the front door. Six over six windows are situated close to the cornice as per the period. The building is in original placement on site which provides maximum access to water power and east facing windows to access daylight. The lake (named Wile's Lake, Oak Hill Lake), brook (called Sandy Brook, Shady Brook, and Wile Brook) and pond (called Whitman pond) were an important source of power for this industrial park.

During restoration work in 1974 a complete structural stabilization of the building included rebuilding of underpinnings, sills, joists, and supporting posts. The exterior was painted with red ochre established from paint analysis of the shingles. Because several dams which once stored water in the stream above the mill have disappeared, the operation of wheel is limited to periods when the stream provides sufficient flow. The original waterwheel was faithfully reproduced from local hemlock with gears cast at Lunenburg Foundry. A later dormer was removed from the building giving it its original roofline. Windows were replaced with those built to specification at Ross Farm. Damaged wooden rain gutters were replaced to specifications.

Wile Carding Mill was established by Dean Wile, a local businessman, in 1860. Dean Wile purchased 2 acres of land from Christian Ernst in 1858. Family lore says that Dean Wile earned money to build the mill by travelling from village to village, giving singing lessons for 5 cents per lesson.Dean Wile's ancestor John Frederick Weil (1737-1807) came to Halifax from Litzelinden, Weilbourg, Germany in 1750 and moved to LaHave in 1753 after acquiring a land grant of 360 acres in the Lunenburg Township in 1761. Frederick's son Andrew Wile (1758-1832), Dean Wile's grandfather received a grant of 200 acres in Wileville area in 1796.

Dean Wile built a saw mill and a gristmill in the same area as the carding mill. He donated land for and initiated the development of Brookside Cemetery. Deal Wile's son Arkanas ran a retail shoe store; his son Otto at one time was a merchant for the Molega Gold Mines. Pearl Street was named for Dean Wile's daughter.

Excerpt from Dean Wile Obituary Bridgewater Bulletin June 3, 1913. "Mr. Wile was one of our most respected residents. His home has been, as far as the writer can collect, one of the most hospitable in the whole countryside. It was a rare thing for the family to dine alone on Sundays, and on other days for that matter."