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Phil Neville

The Parkdale - Maplewood Community Museum

by Phil Neville, on Mon, 12 Sep 2011 | Comments (2)

Brendan FilmingAfter creating 17 videos for the Routes to Your Roots pages of NovaScotia.com, I was happy to hear there was interest in making more.  There were archives and museums that still needed welcome videos for their details page on their website listing.  Filming the previous videos was so positive that I couldn't wait to continue the experience with new locations.  This time, I'm working with an old friend, Bredan Sufcliffe, a talanted photographer who graduated NSCAD some time ago.

Thumbnail image for Parkdale - Maplewood Community Museum Signs
Parkdale - Maplewood is a section formerly known as Foster Settlement that was renamed in 1894 when the area became too populous and needed to be split into two school zones.   It's officially known as being in Barss Corner (3005 Barss Corner Rd.) although I've been explaining it to most of my friends as being between New Germany and New Ross.  Straight up from Mahone Bay.

Treadmill Churn for a Dog
We arrived at the Parkdale - Maplewood Community Museum and were greeted by Barbara Wentzell, the curator, and her assistant, Donna Arenburg.  The museum consists of a few large rooms including Maccabee Hall, where the Knights of the Maccabee began meeting in 1907.  Now it's packed with tools and antique items as well as multiple butter churns and various farming equipment.  One distinct item that I remember seeing was a dog powered butter churn complete with treadmill and screen to block the dog from licking up the cream.  The museum also had an impressive Mi'kmaq display in a room titled "Native Reflections" as well as other themed displays on war, geology, toys, fashion, farming and of course, maple syrup.

Displays from the Parkdale - Maplewood Community Museum
The museum was started by Thomas I Spidell II, commonly referred to as 'Uncle Tom', who left the town at age 16 and traveled extensively.  He collected many old and unusual items and eventually returned home and created this museum.  His collection was originally housed in a barn until moving to more permanent location.  In the 1960's, the museum was expanded with the addition of Maccabee Hall and finally in 1983, a more modern building was built.  The newest addition is a beautiful, heritage garden located in the front of the museum.

Before we started filming, I recall Brendan looking perplexed.  "Is there a speaker making a cricket sound?" he asked.  Barbara chuckled and pointed out that there were always one or two crickets that found a way into the museum.  We laughed at the dead air effect it gave us during silences.  Later, as we reviewed the video footage, we could constantly hear the chirping background.

Barbara Wentzell, Curator of the Parkdale - Maplewood Community Museum
Barbara was a gracious guide.  After touring the museum, she showed us numerous genealogical records in the research area of the museum that included family and community records, school registers, photographs and more.  She was particularly excited about a book release for "Memories Not Forgotten", a book containing interviews with some of Parkdale - Maplewood's oldest residents.  She mentioned to me how people from Halifax should day trip it to the area and visit four different spots:  the museum, Indian Falls, the Lunenburg County Winery, and Village Glassworks.  There are lots of other great sites too.

Parkdale - Maplewood Cemetery
By mid afternoon, Barbara suggested that we stop by the Pioneer Cemetery down the road.  I read that although the oldest tombstone was from 1863, it is certain that there are older unmarked graves.  We stopped and took pictures of the stones and a dilapidated barn across the street.  It seemed fitting that the barn should be there.  There was also a new cemetery across the street had an interesting, iron arch as its entrance.

Indian Falls
Also close was Indian Falls.  I had never been there and couldn't believe how beautiful it was.  It was easily accessible down a gravel road and had viewing areas from the top and bottom of the falls.  It kind of reminded me of Mill Falls in Kejimkujik Park, another great waterfall.  

Bacon wrapped scallops from Digby
I booked us rooms at the Siesta Motel in Digby because our next location was up the Digby Neck and across Petite Passage to Long Island and Freeport.  What I didn't realize was that Wharf Rats, the annual motorcycle rally, was set to begin.  Our rooms were probably the last two available in town.  Later, we stopped at the Dockside Restaurant and Bar and had amazing bacon wrapped scallops among other dishes.  By night you could hear the sounds of laughter and engines revving.  I was happy it subsided early as people began preparing to sleep.

Bat on the door at the Siesta Motel, Digby
After checking in at the Siesta, Brendan discovered a bat hanging behind the front plate of his screen door.  He named him Bruce and checked up on him throughout the night.  Eventually, after all evening light was gone, we watched him crawl along the screen and stretch his wings before popping from the door and darting off into the night.

I slept in anticipation of the following day.  I'd never been to the Digby Neck and was eager to take the ferry to Long Island and, if time allowed, Brier Island.


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    by Karen on, September 14, 2011 9:14 AM

    Love the photos, Phil! Maybe our ancestors had the right idea with the doggy-powered butter churn -- no fumes, no noise and lots of affection.

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    by Jay on, September 16, 2011 12:13 AM

    Great stuff Phil. I can't wait to check out the waterfalls.