|When the year 1903 rolled around Campobello Island was in the midst of an adventure. The population was around 1300 islanders and those who had no business in fishing could at least enjoy some sort of seasonal employment in the 3 big hotels and with the “Rusticators”, those summer people who owned quite substantial |
“cottages”. in what was called the summer village.
While the Roosevelts and their friends were very rich people, most islanders lived much more down-to-earth lives.
Yet, there was enough income to build a house. A Nova Scotia ship-builder had just finished a house building project out on an open field north of the village of Welshpool. All the lumber had to be brought in by horse and wagon over a very bumpy and narrow trail leading over from the Welshpool cemetery. During the coming years the trail was extended and more houses were added alongside. The new house boasted 3 bedrooms, a living room, hallway, kitchen, but no bathroom. The water came from a well they had dug under the house.
A young couple moved in. Their livelihood came from farming and fishing. Once the house was finished they also got a small barn. A few farm animals lived there and provided milk, eggs and meat for their owners.
Above: wide open fields and a single house marks the beginnings of a new residential street.
It was a good site for a little farm as they did not have to clear the land of trees. But the open surroundings also made for very cold winters. House insulation had not yet been invented so the stove had to provide a lot of heat to warm the house during long winter days, when the northern storms were rattling the windows.
As the years were passing by changes occurred on Campobello. Many summer people did not come anymore. Their houses were left untended and many islanders lost their summer employment. However, farming and fishing was continuing like before and as our home owners got older, they felt the need for a place where they could relax after all their work. So they added a front porch to the house.
The front porch added in the 1940s
The owners in protection of a northerly wind in 1944.
Below: Our street in the early 50s
Fast forwarding to 2009: After the house being empty for several years we found this place and started remodeling. The below pics show the state of the house in 2009.
After over 60 years, the porch construction had rotted out and while we were at it, we extended the porch along the side of the house.
Demolishing the porch and re-building
Working at heights is always posing a challenge and I had to re-do the entire front of the gable. A make-shift scaffold was built which most likely would have freaked out any safety-official. And there was work to do at the dormers on the roof as well.
By the end of 2011 the house appearance had changed a lot.
But some things never seem to change much. Campobello’s population is still earning their livelihood through fishing. (no more farming through) And seasonal employment is back again, this time for modern day tourism.