The purpose of the Springdale Heritage Society is to collect, preserve, and present items pertaining to the historical and cultural heritage of Springdale and the immediate Hall’s Bay area. Although the Society considers accepting small, museum-type items which are of specific local interest, its focus is primarily on old photographs and print material.
The Society seeks to compile records of the area’s original families through the collection of family photographs and other appropriate items. It encourages the preservation of the historical, archaeological and architectural heritage of the local area by designating buildings, sites or other features of historical and cultural significance. It creates photographic displays for public viewing and hosts visits from interested individuals and groups of tourists. In short, the Springdale Heritage Society tries to do whatever is in its power to educate the public as to the importance of maintaining such historical records for the benefit of, not only our town’s present inhabitants, but for future generations.
A Brief History
In 2005 the old building which since 1935 had served as the Court House for the Springdale area was offered to the town. Convinced that the building would be an ideal home for a local heritage society, Carl Gillard, a Springdale native who had spent his working career with Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in various parts of Newfoundland and had retired to his “home” town, arranged a meeting of interested individuals to explore the possibility of organizing a group, under the auspices of the provincial heritage society setup, whose sole purpose would be to protect and promote our heritage. On May 19, 2005, the first official meeting was held and its first slate of officers approved: President, Carl Gillard; Vice-President, Danny Huxter; Secretary, June Warr; Treasurer, Jo-Ann Vincent. The following were appointed as the first directors: Reverend Ray Brett, Golda Burton, Randy Edison, Don Huxter, Todd Mercer, Clarence Oxford, Cyril Pelley (Jr), and Gilbert Penney.
Between that first meeting and the official opening ceremonies four years later, some of these directors had for a variety of reasons moved on and been replaced by others such as Dwayne Hayward, Kaye Jackson, Dr. Larry Moss, Fay Parsons, Caroline Upward, Neta Weir, Wayne Wellman, and Juanita Young. It should be noted that despite the necessary fluidity in the composition of the Board of Directors over those years and since, a significant number of those who attended that first meeting are still active and passionate about the Springdale Heritage Society that eventually grew out those early formation efforts.
Those four years between the establishment of the Society and the official opening on June 29, 2009, were very busy ones. The first major move was the acquisition of the Court House for use as the new Springdale Heritage Centre under an agreement with the Town of Springdale. During the next few years necessary repairs, renovations, and improvements were made during three phases funded through HRDC (Service Canada) and the Town of Springdale. This work was supervised almost daily by Carl Gillard, whose experience in construction, inspection, and landscaping with CMHC were a great asset in producing an attractive, functional building for the Society.
Other tasks successfully undertaken during this period of growth
- Approval of the Harvey Grant house and property, known as the Harvey Grant Heritage Museum, as the first Provincial Heritage Site in town
- Registration of the Springdale Heritage Society as an incorporated non-profit organization capable of issuing receipts to donors for income tax purposes
- Creation of an approved constitution
- Completion of a study on the community and Hall’s Bay for the purpose of designating other sites for protection and preservation
- Acquisition, in co-operation with the Town, of the SS Springdale anchor and placing it on a concrete base on the Heritage grounds
- Construction of a 3m X 4m replica of a trapper’s camp near the brook that flows through the Heritage grounds
- Construction of an accessibility ramp and accompanying driveway.
Through extensive renovations the old Court House was eventually transformed to reflect the architecture of a building in the 1850’s, with wide colonial moldings, hardwood flooring, and a 6m vaulted ceiling for the main gallery. With support from the Town, community groups, and interested individuals, the building became well furnished with shelves, filing cabinets, tables, desks, chairs, , printers, a scanner, a computer system, and a 52” LCD television.
The interior now hosts numerous displays, including over 90 professionally framed photos and captions illustrating our history; a variety of photos collections that can be viewed individually or as slide shows on the television monitor; display boards showing the ancestry of some of our earliest schooner building activities; a library of dozens of albums in which family histories are being complied; and a collection of 26 animals and 36 birds received from the Town of Springdale, perhaps rural Newfoundland’s largest taxidermy display.
Besides the SS Springdale anchor and the trapper’s camp, the Heritage grounds feature a trail with a raised bridge over the brook, a large history board in front of the camp, a life size caribou replica placed among the trees near the camp, a decorative stone retaining wall, an aluminum flag pole, and beautiful flower and shrub arrangements adorning the entrance.
Long before its official opening, the Centre has been receiving visitors. Between June 2006 and October 2008, for example, over 600 visitors came through the doors. Since then additional individuals, groups, tourism caravans, and school classes have enjoyed the numerous displays.
The Springdale Heritage Centre, which is the physical embodiment of Springdale Heritage Society, is now established and officially opened, and it has become an important asset to our town. However, the collecting and recording is a continuing process. Like the history it seeks to preserve, it just keeps on keeping on.
Be proud of your roots! Celebrate your culture. The Springdale Heritage Society wishes to share that heritage with you. Come and take a pictorial journey through Springdale’s 150 year rich history with over 100 professionally framed black and white photographs. Our collection consists of industry (fishing, mink and fox farming, mining, logging, boat buildilng, etc), transportation, churches, organizations, Springdale Cottage Hospital, general stores, people, scenery, events and much more.