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|MUSICAL ACTIVITIES||THE LAWRENCETOWN BRASS BAND|
|LAWRENCETOWN ISLAND||GAUL'S DANCE HALL|
|THE GEM THEATRE||LAWRENCETOWN TENNIS COURTS|
|SWIMMING POOL||COUNTRY FAIR|
|EXHIBITION||LAWRENCETOWN YOUTH ARENA|
|YOUTH RECREATION CENTER|
The first singing school in Lawrencetown was directed by Mr. Norman Franks in 1865. He began his career as "Singing School Master" and his only transportation was horseback. He traveled to many surrounding communities to teach interested people to read and sing music. He possessed a bass voice which he used to enhance the Lawrencetown Methodist Choir. Mr. Franks died in 1925. Some other musicians of this time that taught in Lawrencetown were Mr. Judson Morse of Nictaux, who taught piano lessons; Mr. Peleg Spinney of Margaretville; Mr. Oscar Neilly of Brooklyn and Mr. Norman Phinney of Lawrencetown.
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THE LAWRENCETOWN BRASS BAND
The first band in Lawrencetown started in 1898 and was called the 69th Regimental Band. It was directed by Mr. Mike Gear. The original band members were Horton Phinny, 1st director; Kenneth Whitman, 2nd Director; W.J. Whitman; W.A. Whitman; Ernest Whitman; Homer Daniels; Charles Roach; Frank Fitzrandolph; Rick Whitman; Clarence Longley; John Moore; Robert Moore; Grant Moore; Will Bishop; Vernon Stoddart; Archie Franks; Barclay Bishop; Crofton Whitman; Sam Bishop and Harry Bishop. Then in 1908 Mr.Horton Phinny became the director. In 1910, Mr.Kenneth Whitman became director and retained this position until the group disbanded in 1935. The band members practiced at the Band Hall. This was situated across the road from where Herbert Gesner now lives. They would practice two nights a week throughout the year. In the summer the band would put on a concert at the bandstand which was situated where the regional Library is now located. The band had to raise money to buy new brass instruments, stands, music and uniforms. They did this by putting on concerts at Hall's Island in Lawrencetown, in Bridgetown on Labour Day, in Middleton on the first of July, at the Exhibition in Lawrencetown and in surrounding community halls. Once they had raised enough money, each band member looked smart in a blue tunic with black embroidery, white pants with a blue stripe on each leg, black boots and matching blue pill box hat.
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LAWRENCETOWN ISLAND (HALL'S ISLAND)
The Lawrencetown Island was located approximately three hundred feet south of the old Nova Scotia Land Survey School (Municipal Offices) in the Annapolis River. The island was bought by Mr. and Mrs. S.E. Bancroft and given to the village. The island was accessible by a small footbridge and was covered by many beautiful elm and oak trees. This island was used for many years as a park for Lawrencetown . In the summer evenings many people would paddle their canoes, lit by Chinese lanterns, to the island. There were many picnics, especially the annual farmers' picnic , held for the residents of the village to enjoy. The summer would bring amusements, lectures and courses in agriculture to be held on the island. The Lawrencetown Island was a special spot for the Brass Band to hold their concerts in the summer. Mr. Horton Phinney invited all the young musical people to come to the island for a musical rally. People from as far away as Lunenburg and Bridgewater came by train to attend this great event as did others from Annapolis to Kingston. Then in 1917, the power dam was built in the river next to the bridge and unfortunately it flooded and ruined the Island. It was sadly missed and in 1946 some interested people started to restore the site. But the damage was too great and their efforts were discontinued.
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GAUL'S DANCE HALL (DANCE PAVILION)
The Dance Pavilion was run by Mr. Vincent Gaul. The Pavilion was situated where Mrs. Nellie Muir presently lives on the south side of the Annapolis River. The length of the building ran east to west, and the width north to south. Dances were held twice a week with orchestras coming from various places, even the United States. The majority of times the dances hosted local orchestras. Once the hall was lucky to have the Swiss Bell Ringers from the United States. The local orchestras were made up mostly of reed and brass instruments, with some guitars, fiddles and drums. They charged approximately 60 dollars per evening, playing from nine to twelve-thirty at night. Beneath Gaul's Dance Hall was a pool room that kept a lot of non-dancers preoccupied. There was also a canteen from which refreshments were served during the dances.
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THE GEM THEATRE
For a short while Lawrencetown had its own movie house called the Gem Theatre. It was located in the Masonic Hall, presently the Credit Union Building. It was owned by Mr. Henry Sanford and he showed silent movies once a week. This was hard work for Mr. Sam Gesner who had to crank the projector at an even rate. Later Mr. Bishop became owner and the musical accompaniment for the silent shows was provided by his wife. Occasionally Mrs. Gladys Wallace would take Mrs. Bishop's place at the piano.
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LAWRENCETOWN TENNIS COURTS
The first tennis courts in Lawrencetown were located where the new Fire Station is now. They were built in late 1919 and were of clay. This meant that after every rain the courts had to be rolled before they could be played on. Interested members were Mrs. P.C.R. Harris, Mrs. J.A. Church, Marjorie Crunden, Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Young, Dr. Louis Morse and Dr. Frank Morse. The tennis season lasted from May to October. There was a Club or Tea House where the members held suppers to pay for the up keep of the courts. They had to have new nets and have the ground retaped yearly. They also had to pay twenty-five dollars to rent the grounds. Tournaments were set up between Lawrencetown, Annapolis, Bridgetown, Middleton, Bear River, Kingston, Waterville. Practice was held every week so that the Lawrencetown teams of singles and doubles could successfully compete. Then in 1970 the tennis courts were closed and the land sold to build the new fire station in 1973.
Once the tennis courts were closed ideas for new ones were formulated. A grant from the Recreational Department of the Federal Government was obtained to build the new courts at the north end of the track at the Lawrencetown High School. The new tennis courts were opened for use in 1975.They were not officially opened until 1976 when Bill Spurr from the Recreation Department did the honors. There have been annual meetings to pick instructors and committees. During the Club's first year of operation Nova Scotia Hall of Fame member, Mrs. Gertrude Phinny Young, gave daily instructions to approximately fifty members. She was assisted on the weekends by Miss Sue Wilson. The president of the club is Sue Wilson; treasurer, David Whitman; secretary, Beth Smale. There are two paved courts surrounded by a ten foot high wire fence on which is a bulletin board made by students of the Annapolis Regional Vocational School so that news and meetings can be publicized. The club is a new one and is able to serve Lawrencetown's needs well.
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Mrs .Gertrude Phinny Young was chosen for induction into the Nova Scotia Hall of Fame for her feats in track. To be considered eligible at all from all the people of Nova Scotia shows that Lawrencetown's Mrs. Young was more athletic than most. She was the Canadian Track Champion in 1927-28-29 in the women's 60,100 and 200 yard sprints, hurdles and broad jump. In the mid-1950's, Mrs. Young coached Lawrencetown's track team. The facilities consisted of the gravel roads that led to the agricultural building. One prominent team member was sprinter Bradley Slauenwhite He entered local meets and came in first. Then he went on to Wolfville and Truro where he met stiffer competition. He was talented enough to come first overall and move on to the Olympic Trials in Ontario. The team gave him a pair of track shoes and a track suit was donated to him. Mrs. Young's experience and guidance was a great asset to Bradley's success. Presently there is a running track on the grounds of the Lawrencetown School. These much improved conditions help young athletes have a better chance to get started.
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There were many different sources of entertainment in Lawrencetown around the early 1900's. Many men would try their skill at horse racing on the frozen Annapolis River in the winter. The reverend W. A. Harper organized a Boy Scout Troop for boys of the village and surrounding communities. The boys would plan winter and summer outings, raise money by doing odd jobs and learn to get along with others. Come fall, the debating team of the Men's Club would begin again. The men would hold weekly card parties and the ladies teas were held weekly at different people's homes to raise funds to send to the Red Cross Organization. The ladies also enjoyed playing bridge weekly at their card parties and making lovely hand made quilts to sell at the exhibition. In the winter the skating parties on the river were favourite with all. Some would bring their colourful Chinese Lanterns to light the skating area.
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Nestled in a hollow of the South Mountain, the Lawrencetown Swimming Pool is sheltered from all winds by the mountains and trees surrounding it. In April of 1969 construction on the pool began. Through the work of the Lawrencetown Volunteer Fire Department and the tremendous support of the Ladies Auxiliary, the official opening of the pool occurred on July 15, 1970. The chairman of the committee was Claude Lowe who also presided over the opening ceremonies of the completed pool. The work he and his committee did and the hours of the voluntary help they received from the Lawrencetown residents made the swimming pool a reality. The Ladies Auxiliary was responsible for raising much of the funds needed to build the pool. On June 23 and 24 they presented a 3-act play called "Aunt Abby Answers An Ad", with the proceeds going towards the Lawrencetown Swimming Pool. The play, which was under the capable direction of Mrs. Frances Sims, drew near capacity audiences on both nights that it was presented and was well received. The play was held in the Baptist Church. It produced a revenue in excess of $260 and proved to be a very successful venture. On July 15th the day of the official opening of the pool, the Ladies Auxiliary also sponsored a barbeque to raise funds for the final payment and support of the pool. Altogether the ladies Auxiliary raised $4,000 of the $11,000 it cost to build the pool. The Swimming Pool is 30 feet by 50 feet and gets its flow of water from the Barteaux Brook coming right out of the mountain. No pump is needed since the water flows constantly in and out of the pool. The pool serves approximately 250 children and adults who take swimming lessons and attend public swimming periods.
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The idea for a Lawrencetown Country Fair was first born when two very imaginative and conserned ladies - Mrs. Ann Brown and Mrs. Colleen MacNeil from South Williamston - were contemplating ways in which the community could raise money for the support of a local Swimming Pool and Youth Arena. It was because of their determination and hard work that the first Country Fair ever to be held in Lawrencetown became a reality on June 24, 1970. The Country Fair, which was held in the Lawrencetown Youth Arena, was to be a one day event where people from the town and outlying areas could take part in the many activities planned. The Fair began with a Grand Parade, which was made up of different floats entered by the Lawrencetown and district communities. Each community chose a princess, who rode on the float and represented them in the Fair. The Country Fair Queen was selected from the group of princesses to preside over the events of the day. The various attractions in the Fair included a country store, a plant booth, games of chance, an auction, a fiddling contest, a painting display, a flea market, a pie and ice cream booth and demonstrations ranging from butter churning to sheep shearing. Some of the events took place outside with a chicken barbeque, horse pulls and pony rides. As the evening wore on and the booths began to close down, a square dance usually followed to end the excitement of the day's events at the Fair. The proceeds made from the Country Fair went to the Lawrencetown Recreation Commission to support recreational ventures in the community was approximately $2800 the first year of the fair. In 1976 this figure rose to $4000. The success of the County Fair in the past years is the result of a lot of planning and hard work. Those who made the County Fair a worthwhile and fun-filled event are very deserving of praise. Special credit should be attributed to the people who have headed the fair.
1970 - Mrs. Anne Brown / Mrs. Colleen MacNeil 1971 - Mrs. Anne Brown / Mrs. Colleen MacNeil 1972 - Mrs. Anne Brown / Bill Hudgins 1973 - Mrs. Anne Brown / Bill Hudgins 1974 - Mrs. Anne Brown / Fred Fiske 1975 - Fred Fiske 1976 - Sue Wilson 1977 - Mrs.Rita Whitman
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The "Show Window of the Valley", as the Annapolis County Exhibition is often referred to, was first held in Lawrencetown in 1927. The Exhibition, one of the largest agricultural exhibitions in Nova Scotia, grew out of the United School Exhibition, which was enthusiastically sponsored by Dr. J. B. Hall in 1917. This original one day fair was held in the Demonstration Building and admission was 10 cents to view the exhibits and 10 cents to attend the addresses given by speakers in the evening. At this time, students from the Lawrencetown School District area submitted displays ranging from flowers to livestock and were judged also on such projects as map drawing, sewing and essay writing. Along with the judging of entries there were singing concerts put on by the different schools in the afternoons and evenings. The entertainment also included such things as ball games, races and other sports which were held throughout the day. The day's activities ended with the singing of "God Save the King". In 1927 William B. Bishop presided over the first Annapolis County exhibition. The first committee to run an exhibition was appointed in the early summer and from then on work progressed to put on show This was not the large and impressive fair that it has grown into in later years. The main attractions at that time were a tremendous display of vegetables much larger than in later years and a very large flower show. The first exhibition was primarily a poultry and swine show with some cattle entries, a horse pull and other displays. The prize money totaled $927.35; today it has reached $12,000 in cash and trophies. The first exhibition lasted for 4 days and like the ones that followed it was held in September. A few years ago the date was changed to the middle of August to ensure better weather. In 1927 there were no barns or grandstands, just one solitary structure called the demonstration building. In their place tents were erected, booths built and a ring cleared to accommodate a busy time at the fair. In March of 1928 meetings were held to discuss the erection of some permanent exhibition buildings. The result was that two sheds, costing $414.50, were built. In 1929, the first Bill Lynch show came to the Exhibition and added to the fun of the fair by providing various rides such as the Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round.
Over the years the Exhibition grew until there are now twelve buildings, plus the Exhibition Youth Arena, which houses the industrial displays. Including among these are a spacious dining hall, excellent display buildings, a ring-side judges' pavilion and an exhibition office. In 1974, a new gate, well lit at night and attractively designed was erected. There is also a spacious camping area which is fully packed at Exhibition time . In 1927 the expenses for the big show ran to $1,764; in 1968 expenses totaled $31,204.89. Along with the remarkable increase in the funds needed to run the Exhibition, the admission prices have also taken a considerable jump from the 10 cents charged at the 1917 Exhibition. In 1976 adults had to pay $2.00 and children under 12 were admitted for 50 cents . Despite the great changes which have occurred since the first Exhibition, the Annapolis County Exhibition, which now lasts six days, continues to attract visitors from the Annapolis Valley and outside areas.
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LAWRENCETOWN YOUTH ARENA
The building of the Lawrencetown Youth Arena, which began in 1970, was undertaken to provide Lawrencetown with an indoor rink. Previous to its construction, the Lawrencetown hockey team had to rely on an open arena, located by the old fire hall in the center section of town, to practice on and play their games. Each year the firemen would flood the arena and the people who used it would help keep the snow off the ice. The proposal to construct the indoor arena was made by Albert Smith and Fred Fiske who recognized the need for the community to have a sheltered and more adequately equipped place for people to skate. After some discussion, it was decided that the new Arena would be built on the Exhibition grounds. A committee, headed by Edwin Elliott, was formed to get the project underway. To begin construction on the Arena they received a loan of $20,000. Work began early in June, 1970, mostly through volunteer help and by August the same year, the new Youth Arena was ready for use. In the second year of its existence the Arena was equipped with an ice plant, which cost $17, 800. This provided the Arena with artificial ice which extended the skating season considerably. During the winter the Youth Arena is appropriately referred to as a "skating rink". Hockey practice gets underway in early December. The five main hockey teams which practice during the season are the Mites, Pee-Wees, Bantams, Squirts and Midgets. The boys who are over sixteen have the opportunity to play for the High School Team or some other suburban hockey team. The rink, besides being used for hockey, also accommodates figure skating classes for all age groups. At the end of the season, the different classes put on an ice show, which always draws a large crowd. For those who do not take hockey practice or figure skating lessons, the rink is available for leisure skating. Those people who have kept the rink running during the skating season are:
1970-71: Bob Durling and Fred Banks 1971-72: Bob Durling, Fred Banks and Vance Wood 1972-73: Bob Durling and Dave Spears 1973-74: Bob Durling and Charlie Bent 1974-75: Bob Durling and Arnold Wood 1975-76: Bob Durling and Donald Crowell 1976-77: Donald Crowell and Arnold Wood
When the skating season has finished for the year the Youth Arena converts into a centre for many spring and summer time activities. Around the middle of June the building is used to stage the Country Fair. During the warm months which follow it is used for indoor sports such as floor hockey and lacrosse. Still later, in August, the Youth Arena becomes the commercial building in the Annapolis County Exhibition. In the past the Youth Arena has been supported by many spectators who come and watch the hockey games and those who take an interest in other activities which are held there. In the first couple of years a lot of the funds needed to maintain the arena were raised through walk-a-thons and raffles. Today, through the hard work and support of many people, the Youth Arena continues to provide entertainment and pleasure for the community.
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YOUTH RECREATION CENTER
On October 21st of 1976 the ambitious youth of Lawrencetown and district obtained a large room in the Demonstration Building on the Lawrencetown Exhibition Grounds to provide entertainment for the young people in the community. In order to set about this task an executive committee was first appointed. The president was Brian Connell with vice-president, Donald Crowell; second vice-president, Michael Gaul; treasurer, Gloria Ruggles and secretary, Brenda Veinot. Along with the executive committee there were other committees formed to look after the building, the canteen, entertainment and to establish the rules. Together with Constable Fidler, a member of the Bridgetown detachment of the R.C.M.P. who greatly supported their efforts, the committees began to organize the various functions of the 'Rec Center,' as it was called. To accommodate activities for the youth the Rec Center obtained a ping pong table, donated by Mrs. Gertrude Young, as well as a pool table and brand new stereo to hold dances every Friday night. Occasionally the Rec Center arranged for a band and such dances were always well attended. The money raised from dances and the canteen has been donated to such worthwhile causes as the Christmas Daddies and the Lawrencetown Youth Arena.