St John’s Nfld
We traveled the trailer from Traytown to St John’s and set up in Pippy Park in the heart of the city. We could see the Confederation Building from our window. Our first day trip was to Cape Spear.
The lighthouse at Cape Spear was constructed in 1834 or early 1835 and has operated since 1836. The lighthouse is a square building with a tower in the middle containing the light.The first light used at Cape Spear had already been used since 1815 at a lighthouse at Inchkeith on the east coast of Scotland. This light used seven Argand burners and curved reflectors. This was later replaced by a dioptric lens system; the light was.first lit by oil, then acetylene, and finally electricity in 1930.
The building also contains the light-keeper’s residence. It must have been considered luxury accommodations in the 1800s in Newfoundland. A gun battery was built here during the second world to protect ships entering St John’s harbour.When you stand on this rocky point of land everything in North America is to the west of you. It is the most easterly point on the continent. It is the place where the sun first rises on North America. Be here early in the morning and you may just be the first to see the sun rise in all of North America.
On our way back we took a side trip to Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove. It is home to a thousand people. It is a quaint little Newfoundland fishing village. It is becoming a very popular tourist destination. It was first settled in the 1600 hundreds and is the site of the first hydro generating station in Newfoundland.
A must see in St Johns is the new museum called ” The Rooms “. Here our history, heritage and artistic expression comes together. The building soars into the city skyline and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The design reminded me of the old ” salt box ” houses that were popular in Newfoundland at one time. If you want to get a feel for the history of this province this is the place to visit. You can also try some traditional Newfoundland dishes at the restaurant.
Monday Sept 14/15 we made a visit to Bell Island. This an island located in Conception Bay off the Avalon Peninsula. It is 9 km long and 3 km wide. It is serviced by two provincial ferries.The Europeans settled here in the 1800 hundreds and eked a living from farming and fishing. This all changed in 1890 when iron ore mining began near the largest community, Wabana, on the island. It became one of the largest producers in North America with the mines extending out beneath the seabed of Conception Bay, creating one of the most extensive submarine iron ore mines in the world. During the 1950s with; the discovery of cheaper ore in places like Labrador, the mines shut down and the population dropped from 14,000 to 2500.
During the Second World War the German submarines sunk four cargo ships here killing 70 merchant marines. One torpedo struck the loading dock making it the only place in North America to be subject to a direct attack for the duration of the war.
It goes without saying no visit to St Johns is complete without a trip up Signal Hill to Cabot Tower. The tower was built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1867 and the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland in 1497. It was here that Marconi received the first wireless Trans Atlantic message on December 12, 1901. The Americans maintained anti aircraft guns here during the second world war. A hill steeped in history, a must visit.
September 18th we left St John’s to celebrate Mary’s 65 birthday in Bellevue where she grew up and many of her brothers and sisters have summer homes.
As they say you can feel the fall setting in and it is getting cooler. We are starting to think to our return to the boat.