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  #41  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 3:12 PM
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Thanks, fenwick, Keith and cormiermax for sharing the fascinating pics.

I am afraid I am old enough to have some recollection of the neighbourhoods buried under Scotia Square and I don't think that "slum" is an unfair description.

It is an interesting sociological question why Africville, which was an impoverished, underserviced community but home to a proud African NS population, is so celebrated today, while these largely white working-class streets, also bulldozed by the city in the name of urban renewal, are largely forgotten and unmourned.

It's worth noting that some of the pictures Keith shares date from the 1940s. (The tram car and rails were gone by the summer of 1949.) I don't believe conditions improved over the ensuing 15-20 years. I cannot recall many structures on these blocks that would have been conducive to restoration or repurposing.

The hobby shop whose sign is visible in fenwick's photo at the corner of Barrington Street and Duke, just in front of the NSLP trolleycoach, was a favourite Saturday stop for my dad and me in those pre-Scotia Square days. (It survives, incidentally, as Maritime Hobbies on Grafton Street.) As a kid I was fascinated by the Peppermint Lounge and its blinking neon candy cane, also clearly visible just a couple of doors further up the street. I have less recollection of the tavern on the opposite side of Barrington. Sadly, by the time I was old enough to get to know these legendary Halifax drinking dens more intimately, the Peppermint was gone.

Say what you will about the merits of Scotia Square, the streets it replaced were mourned by virtually no one at the time.

Last edited by ns_kid; Apr 27, 2015 at 3:45 PM.
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  #42  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 3:46 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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It's too bad that slum area fell into such disrepair--the Georgian proportions and massing of some of those residential blocks is great. I'm sure when they were initially built, those houses (the better ones, anyway) were of similar quality as what survives today. (I'm sure that they were in absolutely rotten shape when they were finally bulldozed though.)

I still definitely think that bulldozing the entirety of Barrington north of City Hall was nuts, though. Looks like there were some decent Victorian buildings, and more than that, it was clearly better from an urban perspective. Beats the the gloomy canyon we have now formed by Scotia Square and the Delta, and the interchange beyond that.
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  #43  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 4:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fenwick16 View Post
PS: I was able to get this zoomed in screen-shot from the NS Archives picture above: (there appears to be a tavern and "Central"(?) Hotel

Fascinating. I have a vague memory of the Peppermint Lounge (mostly because of the sign I remember from when I was a kid, though I think my parents went there occasionally). That sign on the corner of Duke and Barrington for "The Trading Post" carried on somewhere else after, perhaps until very recently, didn't it? It looks so familiar. I also see a sign for what I assume is a Chinese restaurant, the Dragon House (?) next to the unnamed tavern, and what seems to be a Camille's Fish and Chips across the street on Barrington. Howards was a name I vaguely remember from the past though I can't remember if it was a ship chandler, a food wholesaler, a fishmonger... something along those lines.

Here is a picture recently posted on Facebook of the other end of Barrington from 1949 or so which I have not seen previously. Interesting to see the Green Lantern Building in a more productive time.

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  #44  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 4:20 PM
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Here is the plan for that rail complex Keith P. posted.
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  #45  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 5:00 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Great stuff, everyone. Really enjoying all the contributions and discussions.

Here's one from the Halifax archives, Buckingham Tavern on the corner of Buckingham and Barrington:



Source:
http://gencat1.eloquent-systems.com/...ord=buckingham

And a couple more of the same area from Halifaxhistory.ca. That's the same building behind the heads of the fellows in the photos:





Source:
http://www.halifaxhistory.ca/other-photo.html
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  #46  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 5:37 PM
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I hope someone can help me here. I lived from 1957 to 1966 in what I believe used to be officer's barracks on the corner of Brunswick and Gerrish streets. It was a 2 storey, wooden building with 4 apartments, and a huge set of steps under the overhang from the second floor apartments. This was diagonally across from the Old Dutch church. Please help!

Last edited by teddifax; Apr 27, 2015 at 5:45 PM. Reason: corrected year
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  #47  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 6:26 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Ziobrop View Post
Here is the plan for that rail complex Keith P. posted.
Here is a copy-paste (no new information added) of a post I made about that area in another thread:
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...143037&page=16

Found this photo on the wikipedia site about the Halifax explosion.



Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Explosion

I was trying to figure out its exact location, which is difficult because so much has changed in the past 114 years. My first clue was the location of the Intercolonial Railway Station, visible in the upper left of the photo (at red arrow):



The Intercolonial station:



Source:
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discove...if&Ecopy=68172

To bring it home, I chanced across the 1894 map posted on the first page of the Old Halifax photos thread by skyscraper_1.



The map clearly shows where the tracks fan out south of the dockyard, and the relative location of the Intercolonial Station.

So, from that, it appears to me that the photo is taken from the vantage point of somewhere around the red circle below:



So, based on this information, using Bing Maps birdseye view, the general area today looks like this (red circle is a guess at the approximate photo location):



Source:
http://binged.it/1ycGMtH
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  #48  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 6:53 PM
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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.

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  #49  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 7:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Great stuff, everyone. Really enjoying all the contributions and discussions.

Here's one from the Halifax archives, Buckingham Tavern on the corner of Buckingham and Barrington:



Source:
http://gencat1.eloquent-systems.com/...ord=buckingham
For spatial reference, this is the spot where you would find the north end of the Delta Barrington hotel, roughly where the pedway to Scotia Square crosses Barrington. Great picture. Interesting to note that the trolley ran on Buckingham.
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  #50  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 8:33 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
For spatial reference, this is the spot where you would find the north end of the Delta Barrington hotel, roughly where the pedway to Scotia Square crosses Barrington. Great picture. Interesting to note that the trolley ran on Buckingham.
Comparing the pics, could the Buckingham Tavern and the Peppermint Lounge be the same building? Hard to tell from the angle whether the Peppermint was on the corner or just in from the corner.





As a side note, I'm wondering if the Buckingham Tavern sign was an animated lighted sign, where lights made it look like 'liquid' was flowing from the bottle at the top of the sign to the glass on the bottom... would be cheesy but cool...
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  #51  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 8:57 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by ns_kid View Post
Thanks, fenwick, Keith and cormiermax for sharing the fascinating pics.

I am afraid I am old enough to have some recollection of the neighbourhoods buried under Scotia Square and I don't think that "slum" is an unfair description.

It is an interesting sociological question why Africville, which was an impoverished, underserviced community but home to a proud African NS population, is so celebrated today, while these largely white working-class streets, also bulldozed by the city in the name of urban renewal, are largely forgotten and unmourned.

It's worth noting that some of the pictures Keith shares date from the 1940s. (The tram car and rails were gone by the summer of 1949.) I don't believe conditions improved over the ensuing 15-20 years. I cannot recall many structures on these blocks that would have been conducive to restoration or repurposing.

The hobby shop whose sign is visible in fenwick's photo at the corner of Barrington Street and Duke, just in front of the NSLP trolleycoach, was a favourite Saturday stop for my dad and me in those pre-Scotia Square days. (It survives, incidentally, as Maritime Hobbies on Grafton Street.) As a kid I was fascinated by the Peppermint Lounge and its blinking neon candy cane, also clearly visible just a couple of doors further up the street. I have less recollection of the tavern on the opposite side of Barrington. Sadly, by the time I was old enough to get to know these legendary Halifax drinking dens more intimately, the Peppermint was gone.

Say what you will about the merits of Scotia Square, the streets it replaced were mourned by virtually no one at the time.
Interesting post and good observations. My random thoughts as follows.

- My Dad grew up on the part of Grafton Street that is now covered by Scotia Square in the '30s and '40s. He described his neighborhood as being very rough, where you had to fight your way out of trouble as much as not. He also described as a teenager delivering coal all the way up to third storeys in come cases. He didn't talk about it too much, and unfortunately he is no longer around to ask about it, but I think it would be safe to say that by the fifties it wasn't any nicer. I don't recall him ever mourning the loss of that neighbourhood, though he had moved out of there by the mid-fifties.

So, yeah, I don't think there's any doubt that there were a lot of buildings, especially the century-old wooden buildings that were probably one joist away from falling down. Pics like those posted by Keith illustrate this very clearly. I think it's hard for many today to realize how bad it could get as our building standards have improved so much over the years, with good reason. Some of them were pretty dirty and dangerous, and yes, potential fire traps.

- The comment comparing these neighborhoods and Africville from a modern standpoint is interesting and thought-provoking.

- I remember Maritime Hobbies in two different locations in Scotia Square and even drop by their Grafton St. location from time to time to pick up hobby supplies, though I haven't been there in a while. I never realized they were originally on Barrington.

I'm too young to remember the Peppermint Lounge but was always attracted to similar bright lighted signs...
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  #52  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 9:23 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
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.

Thanks Keith!

I found it interesting looking at the map below, at how close they were at traversing the entire waterfront with railroad tracks, once the south end rail cut was in. That possibility could have provided a lot of potential for a commuter rail system.



I'm thinking that an actual visit to the City archives would be quite interesting. I'm not sure how much access one is allowed to their photographic collection or how much one would be able to obtain copies of the material, but it might be a worthwhile thing to check out.

Interesting shot you posted. From all this photographic evidence it might be possible for a reasonable replica of the Pentagon building to be constructed, once Cogswell is reclaimed.

The treed area looks like it might have been a small park, with the size of the trees indicating that it would have been that way for a long time.

I'm sure there are photos out there that show this area, the biggest problem I have sometimes is pinpointing the exact location of some of the pics when there aren't any recognizable items in view.
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  #53  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 9:33 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by teddifax View Post
I hope someone can help me here. I lived from 1957 to 1966 in what I believe used to be officer's barracks on the corner of Brunswick and Gerrish streets. It was a 2 storey, wooden building with 4 apartments, and a huge set of steps under the overhang from the second floor apartments. This was diagonally across from the Old Dutch church. Please help!
This is close, but no cigar...

http://novascotia.ca/archives/virtua...es.asp?ID=4522
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  #54  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 9:35 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post

- The comment comparing these neighborhoods and Africville from a modern standpoint is interesting and thought-provoking.
I think Africville was A: More distinct from the mainstream of the city, and B: There's a racial element, obviously. I doubt Halifax was a tremendously inviting place for black people in the early and mid-20th century, and this was a mostly self-sustaining community independent of the rest of town

Also, Africville was an African-Nova Scotian community going back close to two centuries. People could trace their lineage back through generations of Africvillers. So that's different from some transient slum neighbourhood.
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  #55  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 9:52 PM
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So that's different from some transient slum neighbourhood.

So at least we have now convinced you that the area that was taken down for Scotia Square was indeed a slum.
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  #56  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Comparing the pics, could the Buckingham Tavern and the Peppermint Lounge be the same building? Hard to tell from the angle whether the Peppermint was on the corner or just in from the corner.

As a side note, I'm wondering if the Buckingham Tavern sign was an animated lighted sign, where lights made it look like 'liquid' was flowing from the bottle at the top of the sign to the glass on the bottom... would be cheesy but cool...
I think the Buckingham was on the corner and the Peppermint was mid-block. No evidence of that other than a vague memory and counting rooflines in that pic along with the location of the crosswalk markings.

I am willing to bet that the Buckingham's neon sign was indeed animated. Had to be, it looks too cool.

Here is a pic from the City archive that shows just how big the Scotia Square/Cogswell interchange development was. Taken from an angle I had not seen previously. Makes Nova Center look like a small project!

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  #57  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2015, 10:21 PM
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So at least we have now convinced you that the area that was taken down for Scotia Square was indeed a slum.
Sure, it was a slum. No argument here! I just think the best way to deal with slums is revitalization and selective demolition, rather than indiscriminately clearing out a whole area and bulldozing the good with the bad.

A mid-century public housing project, on the other hand, is a whole other beast, and I'd be happy to see Uniacke Square (as one example) redeveloped Regent Park-style.
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  #58  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2015, 5:04 AM
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Why bother Keith?
You are never going to convince DB and every concession on his part is a 'Yes but'.
And then he wants to redo Uniacke Square which is light years better than what was dozed for Scotia Sq.
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2015, 5:27 AM
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Sure, it was a slum. No argument here! I just think the best way to deal with slums is revitalization and selective demolition, rather than indiscriminately clearing out a whole area and bulldozing the good with the bad.
The Falkland area used to be considered a terrible slum. The southern end of Hollis and Barrington was also considered a slum area until pretty recently. Hollis had a bad reputation in the 80's and 90's. These things change over time naturally without government intervention and large-scale demolition.

We also of course have areas like Uniacke Square that were purposefully developed to replace slum housing but largely failed to solve the deeper social problems that were sometimes sold as solvable by trendy new architectural styles or building arrangements.

I don't think there is disagreement about the lack of economic prosperity or low living standards in some of these areas, but I also don't believe mid-century urban planning solved these problems very effectively, and there was a tremendous amount of public cost and collateral damage.
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  #60  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
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The Falkland area used to be considered a terrible slum.
That's the area I was thinking of specifically when I was mentioned other formerly slummy areas that have been revitalized without master planning.

The decorative elements and architectural details on those slum rowhouses make it pretty apparent they weren't simply built as rudimentary tenements--these were good houses that fell into disrepair. And given time and money, I bet they could have been restored to good repair, as many others have:




We can criticize the planning profession today as being know-it-alls, but it was far worse 40 or 50 years ago, when a handful of paternalistic city planners and politicians had the power to relocate entire neighbourhoods' worth of people, take their homes away via eminent domain, and indiscriminately bulldoze entire parts of the city, to fit some mid-century ideal of progress which was, at best, a mixed bag, and at worst deprived us of more neighbourhoods that could have looked like the above.
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