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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.