Summertime has never seemed a season for dwelling on the ills of our particular worlds; that is better left for the cold days of winter when all of us must bundle up, hunker down and consider how to do between i a new year. That said, Liverpool is not technically a town. Founded in 1749 and incorporated in 1897 it was dissolved and became an urban area within the District Municipality of Queens County, April 19, 1996. It is almost three times the size of Mahone Bay having a population of 2,653 souls in 2011.
Orange dots locate Liverpool (left) and Malone Bay (right). Liverpool was originally laid out as a district within Lunenburg County. It was founded by New England Planters as a fishing port in 1759, originally named Lingley after Admiral Charles Lingley, and later renamed after Liverpool, England. Captain Silvanus Cobb was an original proprietor of the town. At the time of the American Revolution, this place was initially sympathetic, but turned against fellow New Englanders, when their privateering ships repeatedly attacked outposts and the town itself in 1778. As a result, the town built and manned a British mandated privateer, The Lucy, to attack American merchant shipping. The defense of the town and the outfitting of privateers was led by Colonel Simeon Perkins. After the Revolutionary War the population was boosted by an influx of Loyalist settlers out of New York and Boston.
By the time of the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, Liverpool, Liverpool had become "The Port of the Privateers. Chief among these government-sponsored private warriors was Joseph Barss (right) who captained the Liverpool Packet (inset). After taking 33 American ships he was himself captured and detained in New England and repatriated under a peace bond. Here his merchant-partner Enos Collins (left) is see in a reenactment trying to persuade him to remain a shore since he had a wife and nine children and was liable to be hung without trial if captured again. His ship captured 50 ships in all, the last few under a different captain. After the War of 1812, Liverpool was second only to Halifax as the major port in the province, but was eclipsed by the Scottish settlements of New Glasgow and Pictou.
The county once had three sub-divisions as shown on the Roe Brothers map published in 1868. this was just before it was spun off as a town. The end of wooden shipbuilding helped lead to the collapse of their Bank of Liverpool in 1871. After that the economy declined until it had a brief resurgence in the 1920s as a rum-running port. That was at an end when Prohibition ended in the United States before the decade concluded.
Many blue-collar jobs came to Liverpool after 1929 when he Mersey Pulp and Paper Mill was completed in the adjoining village of Brooklyn. The paper company also founded its own shipping line, the Markland Shipping Company based in Liverpool. World War II bolstered the economy further as the town's shipyard, Thompson Bros. Machinery Co. Ltd. became a major player in refitting Royal Canadian Navy corvettes and minesweepers. The population of Liverpool topped out at 3,712 in 1961 and has been in discouraging persistent decline in every census since then. This Bowater-Mersey plant closed down on May 15, 2012. The only good news is that Brooklyn and Liverpool were relieved of periodic air pollution.
Notwithstanding, R&R revisit Liverpool at least once a year. Mahone Bay is no more, or less, perfect than Liverpool; but it is closer the amenities and necessities of senior citizenship. When it comes to aesthetics our second story deck is no match for the well kept lawns of Liverpool. Without peeking around that massive built-in four-car garage, we have no view of much that is green and growing. Liverpool remains the largest population centre in a dominantly rural Municipality.
THIS TRIP SPONSORED BY CATHRYN MACKAY.
"Nova Scotia" is described by New Englanders as "North and Up-Along." They see themselves as "Down East" since the tidal flow is southwestward, paralleling the southernmost coast of "New Scotland."
This named satellite map map help with orientation. Cape Breton originally a separate domain is now a part of the Province of Nova Scotia. Taken together with land-locked New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, they comprise the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Thrown in Newfoundland Island, these lands are known as the Atlantic Provinces.
No community in Nova Scotia is far from the sea, and day-trips and mini-vacations are an easy drive since there are a lot of good paved highways and many possible unseen destinations in spite of the fact that both R&R have lived in this province for many years. Above images NASA several years past.
A more general map showing how this county relates to the others. From Liverpool, Kedjimkudjik National Park is about the same distance away as Mahone Bay. An oceanic adjunct to the park lies entirely within Queen County and is similarly coloured green. Obviously, it is even closer in travel time.
The small orange dot locates the Brooklyn Marina across Liverpool Bay from Liverpool. The one time presence of the pulp plant led to the creation of the wood-chip power plant immediately north across Highway 3 from the abandoned paper mill complex. Main Street is across the Mersey River Bridge and its former shops are not thriving, wit the exception of those which are service industries. Large box store franchises now have the market and are located on the north side of the river. Queen's Place Emera Centre and a Best Western Hotel were planned before the latest downturn, but are an asset. The recreational centre has a 1,000-seat NHL-sized hockey arena.
The Lighthouse Route into town is not particularly recommended as a scenic tour although the that will take you through Brooklyn and the location of one of the quirkiest plant nurseries in Nova Scotia. Tourism is seen as a possible source of revenue but not all aspects of Liverpool are aesthetically pleasing. This community once boasted more museums per capita than any other place in Nova Scotia, but from appearances most are struggling or defunct. The Hank Snow Museum is still operational as is the Queens County Museum. Adjacent Perkins House the 1766 residence of Simeon Perkins and part of the Nova Scotia Museum system, was closed to the public in 2015 after the province deemed the building a safety hazard and said that the provincial budget could not afford the cost of repairs. Fort Point Lighthouse, which contains a tourist bureau and museum was briefly closed until it came under the sway of a private operator.
In planning a day-trip R&R always look for a sign, ie a favourable weather forecast; in this case prognosticators were entirely correct. Early that morning, they passed the Best Western Motel Complex. The exit is just past that road sign on the right, and leads off to an underpass under the Fishermen's Memorial Highway.
American tourists who by-pass Brooklyn and Liverpool will find Ohio off the main highway a few miles further west.
There are interesting road cuts made to take the entryway down to a lower level.
Turn left through the underpass and you are in Liverpool. To get to Brooklyn one has to backtrack eastward on a secondary highway. Annapolis Royal is almost due north and less than two-hours away. Nova Scotia is not a massive province like New Brunswick.
Bristol Street leads southward out of the box store zone toward that bridge over the river. Provincial election signs.
The bridge in the distance and Lane's Privateers Inn & Restaurant, R&R's destination, in the foreground. This was the birthplace and home of Captain Barass. It was a rooming house when Helen and Edgar Lane purchased it seventy years ago. They turned the upstairs into apartments and the downstairs into a furniture store.
This early undated photo of the south facade suggests that that odd north side addition predated the Lane's addition of a motel-styled structure at the west side of the building.
In 1962the building started its transition into an inn with guest rooms and a restaurant. At the same time Edgar became ill, so the couple’s son Ron moved from Whitehorse to help. Ron's daughter, Susan Lane and her eight siblings, worked at Lane’s doing everything from washing dishes, to waitressing and mowing the extensive lawns. After returning home in 1994, Susan helped her parents expand by opening a gourmet shop and bookstore in that northern wing. Two siblings, her brother Terry and her sister, Linda are partners in the enterprise.
Looking southward toward the Mersey River from the front entrance. Not crawling with tourists like Mahone Bay.
Ruth finishes combing her hair in the car and makes an entrance. This snapshot shows the relationship of the old house to then new addition.
Rod lingered a bit. Then it was on to a hearty breakfast including a Bloody Mary for about $45 with gratuity. Rated the meal at a 7.5. Have had better, and worse food, here in times past. Depends on the chef.
Emerged at 10:30 am and parked on the opposite side of the river.
This telephoto shot is more revealing of the structure of the complex. Bar and restaurant is in the add on; breakfast room in the main building.
Here is where R&R parked. Although the Tourist Bureau was supposedly open...
Misread that sign. The tourist bureau appears to have been case adrift except for a desk probably manned part time by a resident wood worker. A sign of the times?
Why does Rod hate paintings on buildings. It is frequently the work of amateurs in the worst sense of that word. It is the equivalent of blasting loud music at innocent passers by in a public space. Murals in a private setting are marginally less obtrusive. The main gripe, they erode and weather away and no provision is ever made for touch-up work by the original artist. When attempts to reclaim decaying work are made by another amateur hand the result can be very distressing. Still local historic buffs may fins this pleasing in a battered antique way?
Another example. It is a very nice so R&R decide to wander.
This open air farmer's market pavilion is not badly done but only one craft vendor on this day. That's the Hell Bay micro-brewery and watering hole to the right.
Their building is unassuming but the brew a good dark ale. The main entrance, and they were open, was on a short cross street connecting with Main Street.
Clearly, Main Street was central to the development of this town and there is a lot of Georgian and Neo-Classical architecture, most with later additions. The bay windows and that gable are quite new.
Directly across Main Street. Interestingly more recent buildings are more often abandoned, and there are no stores of this ilk in Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Chester or Bridgewater, unless you count the Chinese imports handled by dollar stores.
Orientation photo from the pharmacy yard. The only place that was seen to be busy at that point.
On hangers rather than bins, a step up from Bridgewater's Frenchys, but not up to the quality found in the Daisy Hospital Auxiliary Store in Lunenburg County.
The art and craft store was similar in size.
Churches here are larger than the iconic Mahone Bay buildings and architecturally very interesting, but this is a walkabout not a lecture. The closest is Zion United.
Here is a Main Street restaurant R&R may try in the future. Menu looks good.
R&R take on Union Street, the cross street next to the closest church. As we have seen there are two big churches on Main Street, with "The Old Burying Ground" located somewhere over there and stretching back to Church Street, which is the first parallel street above Main.
And up there, a parochial cometary which seems almost as old.
Lots of older monuments and building on this street and a lot of silence unlike Mahone Bay.
"Atwood Snow." A lovely antiquated name.
South of Church Street, suburbs from the 1950s.
At the back of the block.
Looking back to the north, one sees that tall steeple on Main Street.
A Celtic Cross, the only one seen here.
This Catholic Church is in the next block east, the entrance facing a cross street.
Easy to date?
And to look at. seeing as there was someone in the interior R&R did not invade this graveyard.
Diagonally across Church Street from the Catholics in the next block north, the Anglican Church complex. Church Hall in foreground. Cemetery all around on three sides of property.
Very New England.
Grave stones admist trees.
This massive eclectic locally sponsored museum was not opened on schedule last June, and most signage has been striped away. It used to be housed in an old school building across the street from the church. No activity in May 2017. This corner of the property is at Jubilee Street and Church.
Walking down Jubilee, R&R spotted one of the concrete garden sculptures created by Ivan Higgens of Brooklyn.
This street intersects Main very near the current location of the bridge. The historic Town Hall still contains the antique Astor Theatre which shows motion pictures and presents musicals and theatricals. The antique photographic relics collected by Sherman Hines were housed here for many years, but moved in recent years to the Rossignol building which he owned.
There may be stranger branches bot this one is unique in our experience.
It started life in a Neo-Classical building. Turning by 180 degrees at this corner on Main Street/Jubilee, one can see the entry to Bristol Street and the current Art Deco bridge.
Then why not? Anybody with an IQ higher than WeeD can figure that out. Think egress and exit and winter.
There is quite a bit of vacant commercial space on Main Street, which gets used by tax accountants and politicians now and then. The provincial Liberals current form the Nova Scotian government and Vernon Oickle is a resident of Liverpool, a free-lance journalist having been cut loose as the editor of newspaper in Lunenburg and Bridgewater, which were the foundering and whose single Bridgewater based successor has since been sold to the Cadogen conglomerate which originated in New Brunswick.
Next door, an art and craft gallery which deserves full marks for survival in a recalcitrant market. This spring that right hand plate-glass window was vandalized and other merchants gave the owner the financial and moral support required to overcome stress.
Rod says he will let the free market judge those paintings in the window.
Some of the crafts are decidedly amusing i not entirely original, but as Picasso says?
Here was a surprise, cruising east on Main Street. Main Street in Mahone Bay needs a similar remedy, but has yet to acknowledge the problem, which is decades old. That's the once elegant Mersey Hotel at right.
This small community has class, but unfortunately some of that is a facade, which is a minor reason why R&R will not relocate. Still, it is great to see progress being made.
There has been tinkering with historic buildings, but more in Lunenburg than here. Some folk just could not afford massive change, and interiors are sometimes primitive in both communities. New sidewalks are good?
.Simeon Perkins lived in this house on what is now Main Street until he died in 1812. That museum is probably still closed but the county museum was open when we were there. We might have visited, except that we could not disassociate the two places.
Looking westward from in front of the Queens County Museum.
Since it was the weekend, no work was in progress.
While this is an old attractive neighbourhood, quite a few of the grand old homes have been converted to rental apartments, which are usually easy to spot.
The infamous Lunenburg Bump.
Back lit buildings are on the south side of the street.
Almost every building shows modifications.
But Georgian and Neo-Classical elements persist.
And coexist with some current oddities.
Northern view of the Mersey estuary. Winter flooding and storm surge is endemic hence these attempts to turn back the effects of sea-level rise.
Only one couple with baby carriage seen.
An early twentieth century product.
And another home from the Modern Art, Cottage Craftsman period.
This small home has an add-on.
At the terminus of Main Street.
Still on Main turning to left.
Dangerously close to the waterline, the building which was once a colonial tavern.
Main Street dives into Riverside Drive, from which this picture was taken, and Fort Point Road. This is the last home at the Salt.
This short drive seen looking back toward that Main Street intersection to the north. Point Fort Public Park is at right. Some of these homes came up for sale following a winter sea surge event last winter.
A trashed lobster trap on the seawall is a reminder.
This interpretive panel look a beating from salt and sand spray.
Looking back at Riverside Drive from the park.
Some damage included basement flooding, but here we see an indication of how forceful those Atlantic waves were. that was an interpretive panel.
Smaller stones swept over the seawall were only recently bulldozed back off the land. That's the former pulp and paper mill in the background at the other side of the estuary.
That memorial marks this as the place where DeMonts and Champlain landed in 1604 on their way to establishing a colony on St. Croix island in New Brunswick. Located at 21 Fort Lane, the lighthouse was erected in 1855 . Operated by Lane's Privateer Inn, the Lighthouse houses a gift shop featuring Taste of Nova Scotia items as well as coffee, freshly baked sweets and ice cream. It was closed back in May.
Those cannons date from a later century. Both side of the point were assaulted by wind and waves. Grass on this northern slope was destroyed.
Returning to Main Street by way of Forth Point Road.
The intersection, Riverview Drive branches off to the left.
War surplus cannons are fairly commonplace on the South Shore.
Seen in passing, as it is by most tourists, Main Street seems idyllic but the back yards facing on several defunct marine businesses is not as pictorial. Still, it does have interest?
Vacant lots between homes allow for glimpses of the shores of the river.
Hydrants in this area have all been painted to resemble colonial soldiers.
A somewhat altered early half-house.
An Edwardian styled home from the last century. Four-square design.
Some 20th century homes were built on the former sweeping front lawns of mansions, which now accommodate a mix of people rather than an extended family.
Still on Main moving west. Last century painted hydrostone. Electrical entries and that outside stairway mark it as a three apartment rental.
Another look at Col. Perkin's former home.
Looking northward down an unnamed lane at an industrial zone, which does help buttress the tax base.
Museums do not help in that regard, but they do bring dollars to town.
A very eclectic addition to an old half-house. That bay window at the side and the addition at the back are afterthoughts.
Next on the left, The once grand Mersey Hotel, now apartmentalized.
Other side of the street: Gothic Revival with gingerbread, roughly 1840-50.
There used to be a public house in the old hotel, but don't think it is active these days.
Oscar's Cafe also offers flowers and gifts and has a limited menu but good reviews. It stands at the entrance to the retail/commercial district on Main Street.
Had not noticed that this was a hydrostone building on the first walk by.
On the other side of Main, Packets Landing built to help revitalized retail business on the main drag has been reduced to housing a "discount emporium and two service businesses. It needs shingles and some renovation.
Next door: older building, same story but the gift shop and a woman's fashion store persist.
To get a taste of how things once looked using that last place as a vantage point: East along Main, starting at the Jubilee Street corner. The Mersey sign is seen in the background.
Ruth on the eastern side of Jubilee Street near the Town Hall.
When we fist came to the South Shore to live in 2005, most of these shops were retail.
Here we see a traditional retail store.
And here, a hair salon and a nutritional adviser (not a licensed nutritionist one might guess).
The good news? The sun is still shining, Main Street buildings are at least being utilized and some people have the cash reserves to keep storefronts in good condition.
Gift store in front. Computer sales and service at the side.
Locals probably find this their most useful retail outlet.
On the south face of the street there is that red building, one painted beige, one yellow and a third blue. Internally the last two are connected and belong to a PharmChoice franchise.
We wondered about these stones.
Sited all along the front of the building. Decided they might be placed to keep winter sidewalk plows from damaging woodwork. See that happen in Mahone Bay.
This building also houses offices.
Fast food franchises are popular.
Next door Dixie Lee and upper floor apartment parking in front of a defunct dollar store.
Opposite that large building, law offices and the home of The Queens County Advance a newspaper which has stood while others have fallen partly by remaining small and under old obsessive management.
At the end of that block another failed business.
R&R return to the waterfront parking area passing the dollar store on the left. Home Hardware is at right. Our vehicle is the red one in the centre background.
There is historic graffiti flaking away from the outer wall of the dollar store.
As well as from the back wall of the hardware store. Time to delete.
There is a run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant above the parking lot and another long-time food purveyor named "Memories" which we have not patronized recently. Ruth had a look at their menu and thought we might give them another try in the future.
This green sward close to the water was once considered as a possible site for condos until it began systematically flooding in the past decade. It is a great public space for outdoor festivals scheduled here every summer.
One more photo taken of Main Street from the auto upon departure.
Liverpool has a very well housed fire department and a brand new hospital wing. We drove out Main Street West extension and turned there.
On the return we noticed thus peculiar home.
Straight ahead to Main Street East. This place is peppered with neat old places most in very good exterior condition; a real buyer's market.
A passing snapshot of Zion United Church.
We did not photograph every place of business. Here is one we missed earlier.
This photos puts us back on the street leading to the bridge.
We are not sure what the story is with these rusted vessels.
R&R cross the bridge and Rod snaps up this eclectic place on Bristol Street on the way out of town.
Same side of the street, the former railway station, now the Hank Snow Country Music Museum. The curator/guide has had a boring day!
A stones throw away, the true retail centre of Liverpool.
A large Atlantic Superstore, although not the equal of that at Tantallon. The Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has an outlet in the complex.
Their competitor across the road has been seeing increasingly tough times since this giant arrived in Nova Scotia.
Locally, retail prices of lobster have been so high because of offshore demand, we have been prevented form eating the crustacean. In Mahone Bay the price has been stable at $12.99 a pound for months, but as much as $18.99 elsewhere. Bridgewater Superstore has been sky-high for fresh and cooked lobster for months. This little fellow cost $8.00 but R&R made a sponsored purchase.
Even so, shopping here was minimal, and they stopped at the same chain in Bridgewater where food and produce prices are on average, lower.
We'll be going back to Liverpool the next time it is sunny looking for more "nothing." Nothing is more fun than nothing!
Wish you had been with us. The walkabout lasted for three hours.