Grand Bay-Westfield Heritage
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Kirtley/Hayter Home - 171 Woolastook Drive
This private home has a high tri-gabled saltbox shaped roof which is broken by a pedimented dormer on the extension. The large front gable and side gables feature projected eaves and returns, typical of early farmhouses in the residential Greek revival style.
The Kirtley and Hayter families number among the early setters of Grand Bay-Westfield. Captain John Hayter, Loyalist, (1749-1811) born in Devonshire, England and previous resident of Philadelphia, settled on a land grant of 400 acres in the area known as Epworth Park. He gradually acquired more land, including the property that now comprises 171 Woolastook, which was originally granted to Robert Walter. Captain Hayter married Mary Monk (1763-1826) of Woolrich, England, a descendant of Sir George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, who had made the journey on the same boat. They had 9 children, including Thomas (1796- 1865) who married Mary Ann Gallagher (1803-1878) Together they had 10 children.
Stevens Family Homestead - 268 Woolastook Drive
Shubel Stevens (1752-1825), a Loyalist and native of New Haven, Connecticut, came to “Parrtown,” now Saint John, in 1783. He was granted a small town lot but did not settle there; a 200 acre grant in the area of Grand Bay-Westfield historically known as “Ingleside” followed and there he built his homestead. The massing of the house has retained its integrity, with renovations and modernizations completed in a manner sensitive to its age and original design.
Stevens, a carpenter-turned-farmer, prospered and acquired at least 600 more acres of land in short order. Upon his death his large property was divided amongst his children, with the house and farm bequeathed to his son Benjamin (1799¬-1867). Benjamin further subdivided the property in his will, giving the house and farm to his youngest son William Bartlett. The property passed to other members of the Stevens family and has continued to be owned and inhabited by descendants of Shubel Stevens up to the present day.
Lingley Family Homestead - 2 Mallard Drive
Peter Lingley (1769-1831) and his wife, Mary (1774-1831), United Empire Loyalists from New York State, settled here in 1783. Land grant map 156 records a grant to Lingley of 200 acres. The Lingleys built their home on a parcel of land near the mouth of the Nerepis River in an area that came to be known as Lingley Station. Over time, the land was divided up among 4 sons and continued to be owned by members of the family for nearly two centuries. Steen and Sadie Lingley were the last Lingleys to live on the property. The original Lingley home on the land burned in 1921 in the Westfield Fire. It was replaced with the existing structure, which was purchased after Sadie Lingley’s death by the Sutton family in 1970. It is a well-preserved example of a 1920s farmhouse. The house remains primarily as it was constructed; a large kitchen and bedroom were added in 1974 and extensive landscaping has been done.
The Porter Home - 156 Nerepis Road
Originally inhabited by members of the Porter family in Gagetown, a community about 70 kilometers “up river”, the home was floated down the St. John River by the family to its current site some time prior to 1911. Members of the Porter family continued to reside there for several decades. Since that time, the home has been modified; the wrap-around veranda has been removed, the small front porch has been enclosed, an extension built to the rear, and a side entrance was blocked off due to renovations of the interior.
The main level of the home housed the New Brunswick Telephone Exchange for the area beginning in 1919, under the management of Myrtle (Porter) Rathburn. The home is regarded fondly by many local residents for its association with Mrs. Rathburn, who was well known in the community. With the introduction of rotary dial telephones in the 1950s, the telephone exchange was no longer needed and the main level of the house was converted back to living space..
George W. Crawford House – 2 Brundage Point Rd.
Situated atop a small hill, the distinct gambrel-roofed home overlooks the Grand Bay-Westfield ferry landing. Gambrel-roofed homes are uncommon in Grand Bay-Westfield. The roof of the George W. Crawford home is particularly distinctive due to the pronounced curve of the lower rafters, which are broken by flat-roofed dormers (2 on each side). The home is associated with a thriving sawmill that once dominated the shoreline. The mill was integral to the town as an employer and as an influence on the rhythm of life for residents: a local historian recalls that many kept time by the mill’s whistles.
George W. Crawford was a grandson of William Crawford, a cabinetmaker from Londonderry, Ireland, who acquired a farm of 200 acres in 1810. George owned the “Crawford Mill” for a period prior to 1920. It is not clear if he built the original mill, or if he inherited or acquired an already operational business. Crawford and his family settled at 2 Brundage Point toward the end of the 1800s. It is likely his association with the mill began at about that time. A Mr. Primes, a lumber camp equipment salesman, kept a store in one end of Crawford’s long rectangular home. This speaks to the importance of the Brundage Point area to local industry during those years. The mill was sold to the Wilson Box Factory of Saint John ca. 1920, but went out of business a decade later. The land was then sold to Rulof Baxter. The mill and associated structures, other than the home, were left to deteriorate over time, marking the end of the sawmill industry at Brundage Point.
When the house Crawford lived in burned ca. 1913, the lot was sold to James Baxter, father of Rulof Baxter, who constructed the current structure on the original granite foundation. A section of the foundation, partially covered by red brick and other material, is a visible remnant of the building’s history. Although members of the Baxter family have resided at 2 Brundage since ca. 1913, many still refer to the historic place as “the Crawford Home” atop “Crawford Hill.”
Second Empire Home - 241 River Valley Drive
Common in the nearby City of Saint John after the Saint John Fire of 1877, the Second Empire style was not favoured in Grand Bay-Westfield even though many residences were built as summer homes by people from the City.
The home was likely erected in the 1870s, the height of Second Empire architecture, on a lot granted to Stephen Smith in 1816. Many Second Empire features are evident in the details of the structure, including the wood detailing of the façade, 3 dormers with original 2/2 windows, mansard roof (façade), bracketed eaves, and front double-door entrance with cut glass. The ell and attached sheds were destroyed by fire in the late 1980s, necessitating their removal as well as the truncation of the cedar-shingled mansard roof. A new entrance at the side of the building was created at that time. The building is also important as an example of a repurposed historic building in the business core of the town.
Anglican Church of the Resurrection
This large modern church built on a hill overlooking Grand Bay-Westfield features a number of historic stained glass windows that were removed from the 7 small churches that amalgamated in 2003. These works of art serve as a tangible reminder of the history of the Anglican Church in the area, which dates back to 1796 when the Parish of Westfield was formed.
The parishes of Greenwich, Grand Bay, Westfield, and Ketepec amalgamated to form the Parish of the Nerepis and Saint John on 7 July 2003, following 3 years of discussion and prayer. St. John’s (Grand Bay), St. Peter’s (Public Landing), St. James (Westfield), St. Anne’s (Ketepec), St. Luke’s (Welsford), St. James (Brown’s Flat), and St. Alban’s (Crystal Beach) were deconsecrated in November 2004; services were held at St. Paul’s in Oak Point and the Westfield United Church until the first phase of construction on the Church of the Resurrection was completed. A service of Thanksgiving and Amalgamation was held on 24 November 2003.
Westfield United Church – Nerepis Rd.
Built to house the Methodist congregation of the area, the present-day Westfield United Church was erected in 1922 to replace the ca. 1860 structure that was destroyed by the Westfield fire of 1921. The building sits on the site of the original church, on land that was donated by a local citizen by the name of Lowrey. The rectangular wood-frame building is in the Gothic Revival style, connoted in the many remaining original architectural elements, including the tower with square open belfry; use of lancet and equilateral arched stained glass windows. The Church is a symbol of the worship that has been faithfully conducted here since the 1860s. The Methodist church became the United Church on June 10, 1925, when the United Church of Canada was created. In 1998 the congregations of Bayswater- Summerville, Long Reach, and Westfield combined to form Two Rivers Pastoral Charge, with services alternating between Long Reach and Summerville.
Portage Trail – near 621 Nerepis Rd
The old Portage Trail is a former portage route used by First Nations people travelling from the Musquash watershed to the Nerepis River. Although the trail is overgrown in sections, it is still possible to walk it. W. F. Ganong’s 1836 survey plan shows an “Indian Portage” running from Ogden Lake to the northern end of Loch Alva. Although the plan does not mark a portage trail from the northern end of Robin Hood Lake, it is evident, based on the memories of local residents whose parents recall the route being used, that this section did in fact exist. It is probable that cultural and archeological remnants may be found along the route. The St. John and Nerepis Rivers were a vital means of transportation for the Wolastoqiyk, or Maliseet people who resided in the area.
Black Loyalist Land Grants of 1787 – 1550 acres near the junction of Highway 177 and 102 and extending to Negro Lake
These land grants issued in Grand Bay-Westfield by the Crown to Black Loyalists in 1787 encompass 1550 acres that were originally granted to 31 free black petitioners. It represents a little-documented chapter of the history of Grand Bay-Westfield and the history of black settlers in the Province.
The first free black settlers arrived in New Brunswick after the American War of Independence in 1783. Several hundred men, women, and children arrived in Saint John between April and November, with the expectation that they would receive grants of land as well as provisions for three years, as promised by the British. Few experienced the fulfillment of this promise. Many were forced into slavery, which was still prevalent in New Brunswick, and others became indentured servants, or found menial jobs in order to survive. More details are found on this site under articles.
Alwington Manor – 6000 acres extending from Brundage Point to Nerepis.
Alwington Manor was the home of General John Coffin (1756-1838), a significant figure in the history of Grand Bay-Westfield. A Loyalist officer and descendent of an aristocratic British family, Coffin resided in Boston prior to his arrival in the province in 1783. Stories abound about this controversial character who served in the Kings American Regiment with Henry Nase, another figure prominent in the area’s history who became Coffin’s business partner. Coffin is credited with developing the area; he assisted in the construction of mills and farms, even importing farming stock and “implements of husbandry” from England and the United States.
Coffin originally lived in a home built for him by Henry Nase on land acquired on his behalf by Edward Winslow. In 1790 he acquired Glazier’s Manor from Beamsley Perkins Glazier consisting of 6000 acres. He renamed the property Alwington Manor after his ancestral home in Devon, England.
Gyro Club Fresh Air Camp – Ash Glen Lane
Gyro is an international organization founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1912. The group’s aim is to teach “power, poise and purpose” in relationships, as well as to promote healthy living and good citizenship. Camps based on these principles sprang up across Canada soon after the Club’s formation, with one such camp for children in Grand Bay-Westfield.
The Camp opened on July 1, 1927 as part of the town’s Confederation Diamond Jubilee celebrations . The property was deemed ideal for a summer camp due to its proximity to the Saint John River, allowing campers to take advantage of the water for swimming and other leisure activities. In 1927 Mr. Dow Bishop was contracted to build 2 cabins as well as a larger building designed to serve as both a recreation and dining hall.
For over three decades, the Gyro Fresh Air Camp was a vibrant part of the community, hosting on average 100 children a year.
Blueberry Hill Nature Preserve
This nature preserve borders the town of Grand Bay-Westfield and lies within the boundaries of the city of Saint John. Owned and maintained by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, the 48.9 acres of woods and fields are a popular destination for hiking. Progress toward restoration and protection has been the result of several years of dedicated work and planning by interest groups, including the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, the Friends of Blueberry Hill, Ducks Unlimited, the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield, and the City of Saint John. In 2009 the environmental integrity of Henderson Brook was restored, the first of many planned projects for preservation and maintenance.
The Preserve borders a large wetland complex and a shrub wetland comprised of young red ash, mountain ash, and speckled alder. Other features include open fields in various states of forest regeneration, a brook, and a sloping hillside leading to the St. John River that is covered by a mature red spruce forest. Botanical surveys have identified more than 178 species of plants, including the threatened species Anticosti Aster (Aster anticostensis).
There is evidence of parts of the Old Post Road, formerly part of the stagecoach route from Saint John to Fredericton. Remnants of the Stevens Family Farmhouse are still visible on the property. Built in the early 1800s near the top of the hill by the Stevens family, the farm once featured plum, pear, and apple orchards as well as pigs, cows, sheep, oats and hay. Prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s, the property maintained a pathway to a quarantine area for cattle which were sold to Cuba and sent by ship from Saint John.
Due to the efforts of Nature Trust volunteers, a bridge has been built over Henderson Brook allowing year-round access to the preserve.