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  #81  
Old Posted May 1, 2015, 9:19 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by ns_kid View Post
Here's the photo, from Don Cunningham and Don Artz' wonderful book, The Halifax Street Railway: 1866-1949 (Nimbus, 2009). NSLP tram 136 (route 5, Armdale-Railway Station) lost power on Cogswell at North Park and rolled the six blocks to Brunswick, where it jumped the track and crashed into the Boston Cafe. The date was July 22, 1945. The location is the east side of the Cogswell/Brunswick intersection, where Cogswell now continues down to the interchange.

Wow, that's quite a photo! One sometimes forgets the hazards of operating rail on hills like Halifax's. Would love to have some more photos of that area from a further back perspective.

That said, there are probably some aerials that might give a good overview.

Very interesting!
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  #82  
Old Posted May 1, 2015, 10:57 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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See, even back then, urban renewal was underway, knocking down ramshackle wooden buildings with a large blunt instrument!
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  #83  
Old Posted May 4, 2015, 1:32 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
See, even back then, urban renewal was underway, knocking down ramshackle wooden buildings with a large blunt instrument!
That would have been a very expensive method as it probably would have take about 2 or 3 streetcars for each building, not to mention the difficulties in aiming once you got the easy ones done...

I was sitting at a red light at that very intersection this weekend and tried to picture this scene. There is nothing remaining that would even give a clue that this part of Brunswick Street ever looked like this. It drove home the point of how completely this neighborhood was cleared out in the sixties.
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  #84  
Old Posted May 4, 2015, 4:53 PM
JET JET is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
That would have been a very expensive method as it probably would have take about 2 or 3 streetcars for each building, not to mention the difficulties in aiming once you got the easy ones done...

I was sitting at a red light at that very intersection this weekend and tried to picture this scene. There is nothing remaining that would even give a clue that this part of Brunswick Street ever looked like this. It drove home the point of how completely this neighborhood was cleared out in the sixties.
Another view of that side of the street:

http://shop.thechronicleherald.ca/Vi...et_p_4147.html

and behind that street: http://www.halifaxhistory.ca/Jacob-Starr.htm
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  #85  
Old Posted May 4, 2015, 5:56 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Another view of that side of the street:

http://shop.thechronicleherald.ca/Vi...et_p_4147.html

and behind that street: http://www.halifaxhistory.ca/Jacob-Starr.htm
Great info! I've seen these pics before but hadn't viewed them in proper context.

The Miner Rubber Company building to the far right of the Herald shot must have been on the corner of Jacob street, as the back side of it can be seen in the Halifax History page.

I hadn't heard of the Miner Rubber Company before now, but did a quick google search and found the following info:

Quote:
Despite his wealth, Stephen Miner still had a lively entreprenurial spirit When « Canadian Consolidated », a company with which he was associated, came under the control of the American firm, « United Rubber », Stephen Miner decided to battle the rubber giant. He was now into his 70’s, and he invested a million dollars in founding « Miner Rubber », a new rubber-products factory that he equipped with machinery from the world’s finest manufacturers. The plant started production in 1911, just before Stephen Miner’s death.

Stephen Miner’s passing marked the end of an industrial era in Granby. His funeral services were worthy of a man who was admired and esteemed by his fellow citizens, aptly regarded as the father of local industry. The entire population of Granby attended the funeral and the municipal council proclaimed 30 days of mourning.

But Miner Rubber’s operations continued. William Harlow Miner, the son of William Woodward Miner, Stephen Miner’s brother, oversaw the company’s continuity and expansion.

William H. Miner had worked at his uncle’s company for many years. Under his able management, Miner Rubber employed more than a thousand workers during the First World War. It remained Granby’s biggest company in the 1930’s and exported its boots, overshoes and rubber clothing to more than 50 countries worldwide. During the Second World War, it converted its production line to turn out military products, including gas masks, canvas, and rubber boots.

Post-war, Miner Rubber continued to be relatively prosperous, despite being affected by a steadily growing foreign market. The company had sales offices in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax.
Source:
http://www.fermeheritageminer.ca/en/.../miner-family/
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  #86  
Old Posted May 4, 2015, 6:27 PM
JET JET is offline
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Also interesting to read about Buckley's Pharmacy, same Buckley's family as the cough syrup.
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  #87  
Old Posted May 4, 2015, 7:18 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Also interesting to read about Buckley's Pharmacy, same Buckley's family as the cough syrup.
That is interesting! I was wondering that very thing when I was looking at the pic.

For further interest's sake, I took the map from Halifax History's page and overlayed it to Google Map's satellite image:

https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6494.../data=!3m1!1e3



This brought me to the realization on how much was actually lost due to urban renewal/Cogswell/Scotia Square. Quite astounding if you think about it. It's hard to picture in today's context, in terms of the scope of the project and the people it would displace, to just wipe out a neighborhood or two and replace it with something else. Even Stephenson's report of '57 indicated that there were some nice, well-kept buildings interspersed with the "slums" - an indication of just one of the many flaws in their thinking of the time.


Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; May 5, 2015 at 3:57 PM.
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  #88  
Old Posted May 12, 2015, 7:43 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Great work, OldDartmouthMark!

Seems a shame to have most of that old ROW used simply for parking. Imagine a transit rail terminal just a bit south of your red circle on the last image to allow people from the suburbs to commute downtown and back again. Given the paranoia about security one doubts even an elevated line would be permitted to run over those lots now. What a shame.

The City archives has what seems to be tons of photographs that are not yet scanned. There was a reference to a treasure trove of pictures in the Planning and Development office files related to the development of Scotia Square. Many of them seemed to be of the area before demolition. The index is available digitally but not the pictures themselves.

I did find this one of the waterfront pre-Historic Properties with our old friend the Pentagon Building making another appearance. Interesting to see the area immediately adjacent with a number of large trees, could it have been a park of some sort? Seems odd.

Here's a pic I found around the time of the Cogswell development of the area from a different angle. Notably gone is the pentagon bldg., and the area that appears to be a park in the above pic is in the foreground.



I also noted the unfamiliar view of the old RBC tower without 1801 and the BMO tower blocking it off.

http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-...spx?id=1614#i2
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  #89  
Old Posted May 13, 2015, 5:06 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Here's an amazing aerial of the area on the NS archives site from 1935. If you zoom in you can get a really good idea of what kind of structures Stephenson was talking about in his report. Keep in mind that by 1955 (when the research was being done for the report) they would have been that much more run down due to the additional 20 years of deterioration in Halifax's harsh climate. Of course you can't make out all the details in this photo but combining it with the commentary of the report paints a pretty good picture, IMHO.

It's interesting when reading the report, for those of us not, um, experienced enough to remember them firsthand, to consider that the report itself is a snapshot in time, presumably done with as much honesty and accuracy possible. Input was taken from members of many disciplines (health, fire, police, etc.) in an attempt to consider all aspects of the situation. I was a little taken aback to read about the conditions in which people were living in some of those old, rundown structures, including multiple families living in space originally intended for single families, some without adequate bathroom facilities, some with contaminated water, broken windows, inadequate heat, etc. Not to mention the potential for fire.

So taking this into account, it's interesting to imagine how many of these buildings were really so bad to be unusable by the mid 1950s, but also to look at some of the more prominent stone and brick structures which likely would have been good candidates for repurposing had they survived to the present day.

Location of photo at archives:
http://novascotia.ca/archives/virtua...ves.asp?ID=131



And a zoom to compare with the pics in the post above:
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  #90  
Old Posted May 13, 2015, 5:57 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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I'd wager that most of the buildings north of Buckingham, along both Barrington and Hollis in that last picture, were repurposable. It's all brick, and to the west it looks like there were a good chunk of Historic Properties-esque warehouses on the far right side of the image. (The more central ones look like no great loss.)

Multiple families living overcrowded in housing in rundown buildings sounds terrible, but bear in mind that huge swathes of, for example, New York's Lower East Side were like that--and most of those old ramshackle tenement buildings still exist, structurally improved and now filled with boutiques and million-dollar lofts.

I'd be less inclined to lamentation about this if we'd replaced these structures with something better than a single large road.
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  #91  
Old Posted May 13, 2015, 7:01 PM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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The sixties were the 'tear it down' years.
Brave new world, turning a corner, out with the old and in with the new, look how modern we are, celebrate 150 years, .... blah, blah, blah.
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  #92  
Old Posted May 13, 2015, 8:59 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
I'd wager that most of the buildings north of Buckingham, along both Barrington and Hollis in that last picture, were repurposable. It's all brick, and to the west it looks like there were a good chunk of Historic Properties-esque warehouses on the far right side of the image. (The more central ones look like no great loss.)

Multiple families living overcrowded in housing in rundown buildings sounds terrible, but bear in mind that huge swathes of, for example, New York's Lower East Side were like that--and most of those old ramshackle tenement buildings still exist, structurally improved and now filled with boutiques and million-dollar lofts.

I'd be less inclined to lamentation about this if we'd replaced these structures with something better than a single large road.
Yeah, I think there were a lot of really cool brick and stone (and probably some wood) buildings that could probably be repurposed quite nicely if they had survived the redevelopment.

When I'm thinking of those poor housing conditions described, scenes more like these come to mind:





Source

I think it's hard for many of us to imagine living in some of these places, as it is more like something we would expect to find in a third world country these days. The housing standards in this country have improved considerably since those times.

It is a shame that a lot of good stuff was torn down. One thing to keep in mind is that the Feds were offering considerable funding to municipalities for this type of redevelopment at the time, so I imagine that there was a fair amount of pressure to flatten entire areas with some good buildings being incidental losses in order to receive the funding.
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  #93  
Old Posted May 13, 2015, 11:54 PM
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^ much of the area north of Cogswell and west of Gottingen is probably similar in terms of construction quality. These houses were upgraded with the installation of insulation, plumbing, heating, electrical, etc. The downtown homes were larger and may have been used as rooming houses/apartments but their bones were not that different. From what I have read parts of the south end of downtown were also quite poor and poorly maintained but gentrified comparatively early. I'm sure some of the wooden buildings in the Stephenson Report study area were beyond repair but for many it may have been a case (a classic mid-20th century mistake) of attributing social problems to a poorly maintained built environment.
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  #94  
Old Posted May 14, 2015, 3:03 AM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Some seem to think nothing should ever be demolished. Buildings DO have a useful economic life after which it makes more sense to replace them. These had little value from an architectural or historic view They were just old. We seem to embrace decay and filth, instead of wanting new and clean.

Remarkable, really. It explains much about us.
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  #95  
Old Posted May 14, 2015, 2:38 PM
JET JET is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Yeah, I think there were a lot of really cool brick and stone (and probably some wood) buildings that could probably be repurposed quite nicely if they had survived the redevelopment.

When I'm thinking of those poor housing conditions described, scenes more like these come to mind:





Source

I think it's hard for many of us to imagine living in some of these places, as it is more like something we would expect to find in a third world country these days. The housing standards in this country have improved considerably since those times.

It is a shame that a lot of good stuff was torn down. One thing to keep in mind is that the Feds were offering considerable funding to municipalities for this type of redevelopment at the time, so I imagine that there was a fair amount of pressure to flatten entire areas with some good buildings being incidental losses in order to receive the funding.
Mark, I looked at those photos before I read your comments, and it seems that we saw different things: you saw slums and poor living conditions; I saw buildings that look similar to 1930 pictures of my house, people lived more utilitarian lives then, they hung laundry, my area of downtown dartmouth was know as slabtown, due to the slabs of wood that were used for fences, people had barns and sheds and horses and chickens, and vegetables growing instead of flowers gardens. The back of the building looks like the fire escape from my attic apartment I rented on Brenton St my first year at Dal 1976; it's still there and worth a lot more than my house. Black and white photos don't show the degree of colour that life had then. As Coolmillion said a lot of those old buildings had strong bones, and if they survived were upgraded and are much sought after; those that survived the neglect and disinterest.
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  #96  
Old Posted May 14, 2015, 4:55 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Mark, I looked at those photos before I read your comments, and it seems that we saw different things: you saw slums and poor living conditions; I saw buildings that look similar to 1930 pictures of my house, people lived more utilitarian lives then, they hung laundry, my area of downtown dartmouth was know as slabtown, due to the slabs of wood that were used for fences, people had barns and sheds and horses and chickens, and vegetables growing instead of flowers gardens. The back of the building looks like the fire escape from my attic apartment I rented on Brenton St my first year at Dal 1976; it's still there and worth a lot more than my house. Black and white photos don't show the degree of colour that life had then. As Coolmillion said a lot of those old buildings had strong bones, and if they survived were upgraded and are much sought after; those that survived the neglect and disinterest.
In retrospect, I'm not sure if these were the best photographic examples to use in my post. The picture quality is poor and perhaps these aren't worst case examples, but if one wants to spend time they can pick out signs of deterioration from the exterior, which typically could be the proverbial tip of the iceburg, a clue to much worse problems potentially lurking within.

To be clear, I'm trying to get a feel for the situation that led to redevelopment and Cogswell - trying to understand what happened, why it happened, and its ramifications to today's Halifax, through reading whatever literature I can find, and of course through whatever photographic evidence is available. I'm not trying to sell an idea one way or the other, just trying to gain perspective.

Therefore, in this case I think we need to consider context. In the mid twentieth century, most of these buildings would probably have been about 60 -80 years old. They would likely have had rodent infestations, mould problems, generally a high level of wear and tear on the trim, flooring, fixtures, plumbing, etc., poor to inadequate heating and electrical systems, crumbling and leaking foundations, etc. etc.

Many of them were owned by landlords who would spend as little as possible to keep them up in order to maximize their profits. There were not a lot of regulations governing landlords as there are today. Reading the Stephenson report, it appears that in actuality the people in the worst buildings were paying more per square footage than people renting larger, nicer places for example. He paints a sad picture where people were limited by their income, health and social status at the time and did not have options to move out of these buildings except perhaps to take a chance on buying cheap suburban land and building a small shack to break the cycle. According to his writings, some succeeded, some couldn't keep it going and ended up where they started. (Cynically, I could say that he was writing prose to promote a point of view, but I'm trying to look at it in a more balanced fashion, and thus am taking his word as fact - perhaps a mistake?).

As you mentioned, back then people lived more utilitarian lives, and thus had less luxury for sentimentality. I don't believe that the average homeowner would be able to go to the effort of a complete rebuild just because they thought it was "neat". They often had large families and jobs that did not pay so well. Thus they would have less free time and extra money available to take on such a project, even if they wanted to. While people were typically more "hands on" than they are today, they were also more practical and would spend the efforts on making things functional rather than restoring it to original because it was 'quaint'. As my 91 year old mom-in-law says, people would not be so excited about antiques if they had to use that stuff back in the day. The creature comforts and technology that we take for granted today were either very new or hadn't been invented back then - people did not relish washing their clothes using a washboard or want to heat their homes from a central stove because it was nostalgic - the old stuff just simply didn't work as well as the new stuff at the time. This nostalgia is really a product of modern times, when we have it pretty good and now have the luxury of looking back at 'simpler times' with a sense of fondness (i.e. rose coloured glasses).

Today we can appreciate the building styles of the past, and if an old home has strong bones as you said, it's worth consideration to restore it, which could involve such things as: replacing the foundation, updating the electrical, plumbing, heating, adding insulation, cosmetic restoration, etc. It involves a lot of work and time (I've known people who have spent years renovating their old houses on their own) if you do it yourself, and a lot of expense if you pay somebody else to do it. Not everybody, even today, is willing/able to do this. In fact I'm sure if no old buildings had ever been torn down there would be a good percentage of the public craving for the newest and greatest, that would be disappointed and angry about it (actually exemplified often in this forum).

And to be honest, I think that one of the reasons that the prices for these restored, older homes are so high really just comes down to simple supply and demand - since a comparatively low number of these homes remain today in pristine condition, they are sought after by many who want that type of living style - of course location figures into it also, as the older homes are often located near the central part of the city.

Don't get me wrong, I tend to be a strong proponent of saving and repurposing old structures, but I am trying to separate how I feel about it today from the perspective of people who were living in them 60-70 years ago. Sometimes it can be tough to try to imagine the viewpoint of the past from a current point of view.

All IMHO, of course. Not sure if I addressed your comments all that well, as I tend to ramble sometimes...
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  #97  
Old Posted May 14, 2015, 5:13 PM
JET JET is offline
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Your posts are always thoughtful and respectful. I agree that slum landlords take advantage of people, and of usually the most disadvantaged people in society. Having and maintaining old houses is a labour of love. As long as the bones are still strong, most other deficiencies can be dealt with over time. And there are folks with not significant means who enjoy taking on the task. Some of us on this forum fall into that category, and sometimes we even like the tall stuff.
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  #98  
Old Posted May 14, 2015, 7:45 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Your posts are always thoughtful and respectful. I agree that slum landlords take advantage of people, and of usually the most disadvantaged people in society. Having and maintaining old houses is a labour of love. As long as the bones are still strong, most other deficiencies can be dealt with over time. And there are folks with not significant means who enjoy taking on the task. Some of us on this forum fall into that category, and sometimes we even like the tall stuff.
And again to be clear, I always appreciate the efforts that owners of these homes go through to keep them up. It takes a lot of character and fortitude to see it through.

It's really nice to see!
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  #99  
Old Posted May 16, 2015, 12:58 PM
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Would love to have some more photos of that area from a further back perspective.
Belatedly returning to the subject of vanished Brunswick Street, here is a colour (or colourized) view of the Brunswick Street/Cogswell Street intersection.




The photo is undated, but I would judge it to be late 40s, based on the tired condition of tram 154. Someone more expert than I may be able to identify the auto in the foreground, but I believe it to be a post-war model Chevy Fleetline.

This is looking north on Brunswick, the photographer standing roughly in front of where the new Homewood Suites hotel would stand. You can clearly see the track curve from Cogswell Street where tram 136 jumped the rails in 1945, crashing into the cafe just to the left of the Canadian Tire store.

Compare this with the 1959 Herald view that JET shared. The tram tracks are gone of course, and the single overhead wire is replaced by the two-line trolleycoach overhead. The space occupied by the Canadian Tire store has been replaced by a clothing store by 1959.

The photo appears on the cover of Cunningham and Artz' book (Nimbus, 2009) on Halifax's street railways.

Last edited by ns_kid; May 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM.
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  #100  
Old Posted May 16, 2015, 6:42 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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That's a great photo! Thanks for posting it.

And, yeah, that looks like a 1946-48 Chevy Fleetline, so it is definitely a post-war photo. Perhaps if one knew when the Canadian Tire store moved from that location we would be able to pinpoint the year a little more closely.

Looking at that pic (and the one that JET posted the link to at the Herald), the buildings don't look so bad to me - kind of a shame that it was sterilized to build Cogswell, as it looks like a neat neighborhood. Makes me wonder what it would be like today had it been allowed to evolve naturally, rather than be razed by the government...
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