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School Community of Murray Harbour

by Barbie
Introduction
Community Services
Businesses
Past and Present Land Ownerships
Developments
Acknowledgements

Introduction

The community of Murray Harbour is located in Southern Kings County in eastern Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada. This area is approximately 20 km southeast of the town of Montague, and 55 km east of Charlottetown, the Island's capital city and birthplace of Confederation.

Murray Harbour

Like other parts of Prince Edward Island, Murray Harbour has mild weather. The daytime temperatures are comfortable and moderate; from the onset of spring to the end of summer, they usually range from 8 to 30 degrees Celsius; from autumn to winter's end, temperatures normally range from 8 to -10 degrees Celsius.

Community Services

Libraries in Murray Harbour have changed a great deal over the years. The library now located in the Community Centre since 1973, has moved several times. Like the post office, it originally was operated from private homes with an extra room to rent out. The first library was located in the home of Alberta White in 1934; it was the first house on the right as you leave the village heading for White Sands, on the lot beside the house now owned by Alice Glover. The house is no longer in existence. In 1941, the library moved to Fayne MacLeod's home, the building now owned by Jean Fraser where she operates a beauty shop. Like the post office, the library moved to separate buildings in 1952, at the time when Jesse Penny became the new librarian. The library was located in a small building on Library Street, owned by Danny Beck and Alvin Stewart. The building has since been moved by Julie and Ken Daley to be used as a house. Valda Harris was librarian from 1968 to 1990; during this time, the library moved to its present location in 1973. In 1990, Kaye MacLean became the present librarian. From a few books in a room in a private home, the library today is fully automated, and has computer access to millions of books.

The school has also changed over the years. The second school was on the opposite side of the road where the Community Centre is now, approximately 100 years ago. It was renovated to 4 rooms in 1958, and was closed in June 1972. Now used as a community centre and a library, various functions are held here, and the former school is once again the heart of the community. It is used for community school, village meetings, seniors, various celebrations and events, wedding receptions, rifle shooting, and cadets.

To the left of the school and near the road, there was once a hall; it is now a vacant spot. This well known community building was constructed in 1893, and destroyed by fire in 1970.

Now covered with trees was the site of the outdoor Murray Harbour Bruins Rink. Built in 1949, it was well used until its destruction by fire in July, 1970.

The E.A. Keeping Memorial Field was opened in 1973 with funds left to the community by Mr. Keeping; it is located in pasture land previously owned by Lorne Buell.

Businesses

In what is now just a tree filled swamp beside the old school, there was a very prosperous cranberry bog operated by Elliot Lumsden; a barrel of cranberries in 1917 sold for $6.00. Later on, Lucy Lumsden and Sheldon Hume operated this business. The Irish moss business in the 60's was thriving; Ray Stewart built the Moss House to store moss for his business located on the North Shore; it is no longer in use.

The original forge owned by Alec Bell stood in front of the house now owned by Kelly Matheson. The stones from the foundation are still in the yard. The forge later moved across the street and was managed by Hanford Bell. Today Aubrey and Hollis Bell own the forge, but haven't operated it in many years.

Today's post office was constructed by the government in the late 1960's. The post office up to this time had been operated from private homes with a room to spare and rent out. The first post office was owned by Sheldon Hume; it then moved to the residence of Rollie White. Its final stay in a private dwelling was back up the hill to the home of Everett and Muriel Robertson, which is now owned by Terry and Sandi White.

The Clover Farm is presently owned by Otis Butler; originally on this property was a carpentry shop owned by James Brook. In 1939, Silas D. Hugh built his first store on the same site; from this establishment, he sold hardware and building supplies, furniture, appliances, gas and groceries. In the 1970's, Jamie Richards bought the store, and in 1998 sold it to Otis Butler.

The factory was originally owned and operated by the Prowse family. It has seen many changes over the years. After he bought the building from the Prowse family, Tom Fraser operated a fish and chicken cannery there. In the 1970's, it was bought by Mark Bonnell and enlarged to process fish and lobster. The factory is not in active use today.

The wharves have been extended several times from a small wharf owned by the Bowridges, to a section directly below the store, to what is present today.

Past and Present Land Ownerships

On Machon's Corner, today a vacant lot, stood one of the several hotels operated in Murray Harbour. Originally, it was owned by Baileys; later, it also was operated as a hotel by the Stewarts. In the 1950's, it was bought by Alvin MacKenzie, and turned into a two family dwelling. It was destroyed by fire in the 1960's. Right on the corner was one of the stores built in Murray Harbour, owned by Mac Buell. The first store in Murray Harbour owned by the Creigntons was also located in this area. Behind this lot in the creek, boats were built and launched, before the harbour filled with sand, and made this area inaccessible.

Where today stands a family dwelling, Suzanne Richard's house, used to be a hub of activity. This was the location of the train depot, the round house, and the end of the railway line to this area. When the train came to Murray Harbour, it entered a large building called the round house, where it was turned around for its return trip to Charlottetown. Besides shipping, this was the main means of transportation of people and goods, as few people used cars or trucks, and the roads were not always passable. Monday through Saturday, the train left Murray Harbour at 6:30 am with arrival in Charlottetown at 10:10 am. The return trip left Charlottetown at 3:00 pm with arrival back in Murray Harbour at 6:45 pm. Occasionally, special runs were made to take hockey teams to Charlottetown. In the late 1960's, passenger service came to an end. The round house was demolished, and the train station was dismantled by Harold Pollard. The bunk house was purchased by Larry White; he and Brenda still live there. Located behind the station was a large structure owned by Ray Brooks and Nathan Irving, which housed the local feed mill, where farmers took their grain to be ground for feed for their livestock. This building was destroyed in the 1970's. To the left of the station and closer to the road was the fuel depot, operated first by Horace Machon, then Bruce Stewart, Lorne Stewart and lastly by Sheldon Hume. The operation was closed and the tanks removed in the 1980's.

To the right of the Prowse Store was another store owned and operated by Herbert Cahoon, who sold mainly hardware. In the early 1980's, this building was bought by Elmer MacNeill and moved across the river to his property on Machon's Point. Later in the 1980's, the Brehauts purchased the house on this site and now operate Brehaut's Take-Out. In the early 1990's, they added a closed-in veranda on the west side of the building to expand their business. Next door is situated the United Church of Canada, formerly the Presbyterian Church. The church hall, after not being used for several years, was bought and is used by the Sea Friend Day Care and Kindergarten.

On the south side of the bridge, where the fire hall and a single building exist today, there at one time were several small businesses. A forge was built in this area by Josiah Roberts. Later, a tea room was operated by Mrs. Dort on this property; Mrs. Dort also managed a small store in the front part of her home. This was later owned by Fred and Edna White; it is now a dwelling owned by Jamie Richards.

Developments

The bridge in use today is the fourth placed there. Until the 1940's, a ferry operated by Freeman Reynolds ran daily to Clow's Wharf in Murray Harbour North, transporting goods and people. Other developments such as electricity came to Murray Harbour in the late 1930's and early 40's, providing a great convenience for people; previous to this, streets were lit by lamplight.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Kaye MacLean, Carmen MacDonald, and Judy and Nick Fay for providing information for my research on Murray Harbour.

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