Frankenstein’s House-Or the old fire alarm

Fall, 1988.

We used to get picked up from Beavers at the back entrance of the Parish Hall on Beaumont Avenue. If you looked up you could see part of Haig Road. That’s where Frankenstein lived. It’s cold and dark, orange, brown and yellow leaves blow in the gutters. Up on the hill there is a square red brick shed, from inside we all swear there is a glowing green light. Frankenstein. Of course, Frankenstein lives up there, who else has a brick shed? Why would anybody in Grand Falls have a brick shed unless they are using it to house a horror movie monster from the 1930s? Plus, the light is green, just like Frankenstein.

We were five, and I still swear I saw a glowing green light from that shed. Danny Reid’s older brother Adam, who is in Grade Two and older than us told us it was Frankenstein, and being five we believed him. We were scared to look up at the shed. I was probably a teenaged before I ventured up on Haig Road, and probably have only been up there five times in my life. Now to be fair I didn’t know anybody who lived on Haig Road, plus you didn’t have to go up or down Haig Road to get to anywhere; well unless you were Frankenstein.

Frankenstein’s House on Haig Road as it existed in the 1980s. I’m not even sure if there was even a window for the green light to shine from. (Photo posted to Facebook by D.L Dormody)

Not long after I think I learned the real purpose of the brick shed. Way back in history (less than ten years previous to the events described) it served as the base for the town fire alarm, which was situated on a tower on top of Frankenstein’s home. It had been put there in 1951 as a means of summoning the volunteer fire fighters to an emergency. By the mid-1970s it was only in place as a backup to the phone system that the fire department now had in place. In 1979 the decision was made that the old “bull frog” horn was no longer needed. It was taken down in the fall of 1980. At some point in the next eight years that big guy made famous by Boris Karloff must have moved in.

Dismantling the tower for the fire horn. It was before my time, but I have heard that it was quite the sound, possibly something you’d use to warn against incoming Stuka dive bombers.

I don’t think the old brick shed is still up there, if it is bushes and trees have obscured it; I’ve also heard it was taken down. If it was, I don’t know when. I’m sure that at some point in the early 2000s while walking home late at night from a licensed purveyor of beer and spirituous liquors, or some similar function at the stadium, I must have looked up to see if I could see a glowing green light, I bet if I did, I ran all the way to St. Catherine Street.[1]

Grand Falls Advertiser June 25, 1979

[1] Which probably took me past an abandoned GFA Elementary, which probably made me move even faster.

One comment

  1. Great story. Growing up on greenwood Abe we used to cut through hair road to get to the popular theatre. Etc. We were always told to stay away from the fog horn as if it goes off while u are hanging around there u would fall off the hill and go deaf. Larry dwyer


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