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Urban Renewal - Saint John - A City Transformed by Brenda Peters McDermott
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 of Oxydol.
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 agitator.
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
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
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
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 research institutions.
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 Murray St.
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
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
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.
Brooks - Westall: I am looking for information on Mary Ann Brooks who married William Westall (1821-1888) on 05 Dec 1843.
Shepherd - 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 the
Contact Donna Sweet, BC by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washburn - 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 email@example.com