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Urban Renewal -
Saint John - A City Transformed by Brenda Peters McDermott
The flu season had hit and Mum had
been lying on the kitchen couch for several days. She was
very concerned that the household was running out of clean
clothes and towels.
Since this Saturday morning
was brisk and cold but the sun was shining, she asked Cliff
and me if we thought we could handle doing the wash.
I put several pots of water
on the stove to heat. Then busied myself gathering up the
laundry. Cliff pulled the washer out from behind the door
and carefully put the rollers in place and tightened the wringer down. Next
he brought in the stand for the rinse tub along with a box
We filled the washer with hot
water from the pots and the tank on the wood stove, and put
in the white articles of clothing. Mum was overseeing all of
this from the couch. She was keeping a close eye on us not
mixing colours. Next we pulled the lever and started the
While the agitator sang a
song of “Back and Forth”, we heated more water to fill the
Beatty rinse tub.
Once we shut off the
agitator, I put the load of clothes through the wringer,
being very careful not to jam my fingers. Next we swished
the clothes around the rinse tub with a wooden stick, turned
the wringer 90 degrees and ran the clothes back through the
wringer to fall into the wicker clothes hamper.
In the meantime Cliff was
putting in the towels and the process was repeated. I think
we did about five loads with the last one being mainly denim
overalls and work socks.
By the time all the clothes
were fastened to the three clotheslines, my hands felt like
they were frozen.
About 4:30, I thought it time
to bring the clothes off the line. But what a mess we found
ourselves in. The clothes were not only frozen to the line
but were as stiff as a board. It was necessary to carry most
of them in one by one and put them on the rack that was made
of broom handles that we had placed over the floor furnace.
The cover of Brenda
Peters McDermott’s book Urban Renewal - Saint John - A City Transformed
shows, a block quilt, blankets, bed sheets, clothes, etc.
blowing in the wind on four clothes lines at 142 St Patrick
St. in what was referred to as the East End.
As you step back to the 1960s and the 1970s and view the
pictures in Brenda’s 500 page book, you will see many a wash
hanging on the clothes lines.
You will also see homes, stores, schools, restaurants,
churches and other buildings that are gone and streets that
are no more in the East End, North End, Saint John
Throughway, and City Centre of Saint John.
Since a young boy, my husband
has taken a great interest in automobiles, therefore he
spent hours enjoying looking at each picture, identifying
the year and model of almost every car.
Others have told me of their
memories of the corner stores, where groceries lined the
shelves and candy could be purchased for a penny.
As Urban renewal progressed
and buildings were torn down, many families were moved into
new homes in the Crescent Valley area,
It was thought that Urban
Renewal was a necessity but leaving your home, a close-knit
community and friends was very difficult.
The aerial maps with the
names of streets are real eye openers of times past.
This book provides the family
researchers with a picture of a house in which their
ancestors may have lived and at times has provided the clue
to the background for the researcher for a photo in a family
album. If unsure of the ancestor’s street address, consult
the old City Directories that can be found in several
For many, memories come
rushing back with a look at the Gladstone Tavern with a life
size horse and carriage on the roof, or the beautiful
mansard roof house at 290 Rockland Road or the turret house
at 167 Paradise Row.
Someone may even remember who
drove the 1960 Pontiac that is in front of 74 Simonds St.,
the 1958 Pontiac Station wagon sitting at the foot of the
stairs at 55 - 57 Portland St., or the 1957 Chrysler by 51
The folk who lived in the
North End were saddened when O’Keefe’s Food Market on Main
St. had to close due to the acquiring of properties for the
building of the Harbour Bridge.
The Barrel House Grill on
Haymarket Square was frequented by many a teenager.
My memories of teaching in
Prince Charles School include the aroma of spices from
Barbour`s and of the Hops from the Red Ball Brewery drifting
into the classroom through the open window.
The publication of Urban
Renewal - Saint John - A City Transformed by Brenda Peters
McDermott has been a dream come true - not only for the
people who remember the buildings and the streets but for
all the family researchers seeking pictorial information on
the areas of Saint John that have vanished.
- Westall: I am looking for information on Mary Ann
Brooks who married William Westall (1821-1888) on 05 Dec 1843.
- Longstaff: According to the July 31 1831 issue of
the New Brunswick Courier, John Shepherd of Woodstock Parish,
married Mary Longstaff, the youngest daughter of John
Longstaff. John Henry Shepherd was born in Maine U.S.A. in
1838. There were possibly nine sons with Edmund and John Henry
deaths being in British Columbia. I am seeking information on
Contact Donna Sweet, BC by email email@example.com.
- Brown - Mercer: Who were the parents of James
William Washburn (1819-1903) of St. Martins. What was his
relationship to Abel Washburn. Was Lavina Brown the wife
of James William Washburn. I am also looking for
information about Ebeneezer Washburn and his wife, Marie
Mercer. According to family history Ebeneezer immigrated to
the Canadian Maritimes about 1640, from Rhode Island.
Ebeneezer and Marie are reported to be parents of Able
Washburn, Sr. Did Ebeneezer have other children?
Did he have siblings living in the Maritimes?
Contact Daniel Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org