Obliterated-Then and Now on Lincoln Road

There is a stretch of Lincoln Road between the Grand Falls House and Riverview Chevrolet that is almost park like setting. The grounds are empty and manicured the only alterations seem to be a small road entrance and a marble workers memorial. It is impressive that all traces of all human activity that took place here has been obliterated.

Once upon a time this now grown in area was the site of several different buildings, a service station and a swimming pool. Now its the site of a memorial, a fence and a gown in track bed. The shacks that many of the early workers building the mill lived in were in this area.

You see this area off Lincoln Road was the site of a lot of activity in the early years of Grand Falls. Back then Lincoln Road was Station Road and Station Road was the first road in town. The First permanent private dwelling in town was built in this area. Martin Gardner has a log cabin around the intersection across from the Grand Falls House. This was tacked up right after Mr. Gardner packed up and moved from Millertown in the fall of 1905. Under the terms and conditions of an agreement between the newly formed AND Co and Newfoundland Timber Estates the latter company was allowed to finish up the season sawing in Millertown and was allowed to operate until October of 1905.

Lincoln road 4
It is an accepted fact that the Gardner (Not sure if it was James or Martin) family were the first to live in Grand Falls in late 1905. It was in this area here that one of them built a log cabin which became the first family dwelling house in Grand Falls.

Gardners log cabin would be the first of many temporary shelters built in the area. Once people started to come into Grand Falls to work building the mill this area became the site of one of three shack towns. With accommodations in very short supply people made do with building there own little cabins with logs, a bit of lumber and some tar paper. Most accounts say that this shack town was in this area and went down behind the present car dealership.

Shacktown. Early construction workers at Grand Falls lived in tar paper shacks. Since housing was sparse shacks persisted as a means of housing workers at Grand Falls until the 1920’s. It is unclear where this particular picture was taken because there were three shacktowns and shacks at Windsor but it is likely that it was either Lincoln road or Windsor. It is most likely Lincoln road because of the hill in the background which the Grand Falls House now sits. (MUN Archives-Long lost photo album)

To serve the workers living in shack town the AND Co built its first company store very close to where the workers memorial is today. I have an old map that denotes an “old log store” so I am inclined to think that the very first store was built out of logs! If the first store was built of logs it was quickly replaced by another building made of lumber, but the log store was still there in 1914.

During mill construction there were other warehouses built by the AND Co one notable one was to house all of the cement used for construction. At the same time the railway spur from the mainline and station passed through this same area. There was also a boathouse around here used to repair boats used in river operations.

Later on the AND Company had a lumber yard in the area and some railway sidings. In the 1940’s the Company built an in ground swimming pool to serve the recreational needs of the community.

Around 1953 the Newfoundland Lumberman’s Association even though discouraged by the AND Company built its new Union hall on the upper end of this same area closer to the Exploits Valley Garage which had been put there sometime in the 1930’s or 40’s.

lumbermens hall gf
Not a trace remains of the Newfoundland Lumberman’s Association building that was on Station Road for about 30 years. When this building was built in the early 1950’s the NLA had thousands of members.  In the background you can see piles of lumber. There were railway sidings and a lumberyard here for many years.
loggers hall.jpg
The Lumbermen’s Hall a few years before it was torn down can be seen on the right.
Same area today. The road by the workers memorial used to be the way to the swimming pool, Log Cabin field and Rushy Pond Road, that was until a fence and gate were put up that restricted peoples access to the Exploits River.
At one time the people of Grand Falls and Windsor had access to the Exploits River at log cabin field as evident in this picture from the 1930’s. Even at this point the area was being used for wood storage as seen by the 7 foot pulp wood brought in by train from Terra Nova.

During this same time period Jackman’s had a garage and service center very close to the grounds of the Grand Falls House. At one point in the 1940’s Imperial Oil had tanks and a filling facility in the area with tanks located on the higher ground near Candy Rock.

Jackmans garage lincoln road
Jackman’s Garage Station Road, Circa 1947. Station/Lincoln Road used to be a lot more narrow than it is today! And there was not intersection with Cromer Avenue.
Lincoln road 4
Same area today.(Google Earth)

The shacks and company store were gone by the 1920’s once the company moved most of the commercial activity to High Street and there were enough houses to house workers. In the 1940’s there were still a number of buildings in the area in addition to the two garages. By the 1960’s only the swimming pool and the loggers union building remained. The track was still heavily used for cargo coming and going to the mill from the mainline. In the 1980’s the loggers building was demolished and by that point the old swimming pool had been filled in. In 1977 Price discontinued the Grand Falls Central railway but still shunted various supplies in on the spur from Windsor. In 1988 CN shut down railway operations in Newfoundland and this line ceased to be used. It seemed like the tracks were still there for long while after the railway closed, in fact intact tracks were in the alder bed down there about ten years ago.

Lincoln road railway remnant
The spur from the main line to the mill crossed Station Road here. There used to be a railway switch roughly an inch from the spruce tree at left center of the picture. (Google Earth).
GFCRR Plymouth switcher Hidden Newfoundland..jpg
Plymouth Switcher 100 was the last locomotive owned by Price in Grand Falls and was used for about ten years after the Botwood Railway closed to shunt materials from the mainline to the mill, it would have been the last real locomotive to cross Lincoln Road near Grand Falls House. It ended up a Trinity Loop where it still is today. I think you can faintly make out Abitibi-Price Markings on the door-the only such locomotive to be marked this way in Newfoundland. Photo is off the Hidden Newfoundland Website one I recommend every body should check out. http://www.hiddennewfoundland.ca


This stretch of Lincoln road to me represents the restoration of an area after it has been used and built on. Even more so than the old dump being turned into a walking trail this place represents how time can heal the wounds of human disturbance more than anywhere I can think of around town.

One comment

  1. This was interesting Bryan, thanks for putting it together. My mom was just telling me about the old town swimming pool, where she had many fond memories. I found your article when I tried to find some pictures.


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