Local historians give photos to help preserve past

Published on November 29, 2013
Clyde Macdonald (left) and Philip MacKenzie presented Canada Post employees Cindy MacInnis and Victor Lawrence a historic photo of a federal post office building from 1893. The building is now used as the town hall and civic building. 
ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

Philip MacKenzie and Clyde Macdonald, who refer to themselves as amateur historians, have come up with a new project to help preserve the history of the town of New Glasgow.

MacKenzie and Macdonald have numerous photographs of buildings, businesses and locations in New Glasgow that were photographed in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s and would like to give them to New Glasgow business free of charge.

The photographs will be enlarged to a 16 inch by 20 inch size and will be mounted on plaque board. The photographs represent locations of past businesses that are relevant to present locations within the town.

In January of the New Year, Makenzie and Macdonald will be contacting business owners within the town to determine if they would like to have and display one of these mounted photographs in their present place of business.

To kick off the project they gave a picture on Thursday to the Canada post office on Stellarton Road of the first federal post office that was built in New Glasgow and completed in 1884. The building is now used at the town of New Glasgow’s town hall and civic building. The photograph they’ve had reproduced was taken by New Glasgow photographer George Waldren in 1893.

Macdonald gave a little history of the building and the man who built it.

After John. A MacDonald was returned as the Prime Minister of Canada in 1881, the federal conservative government implemented a policy to increase the presence of federal public buildings in Canada. As a result, 78 federal post offices were then build throughout Canada.

Since the town of New Glasgow was a recognized Conservative stronghold, it became the first community in Nova Scotia to receive a post office, Macdonald said.

The man who built the building, Donald Grant, was also a faithful conservative party member and was awarded the project probably at least in part due to his party ties.

Born in Telford in 1829, Donald Grant settled in New Glasgow around 1852 and operated a sash and door factory. D. Grant and Sons employed about 60 people at one time. He was just 25 years old when he was given the contract to build St. Andrew’s (The Kirk) Church in New Glasgow. In addition to many other churches, he also build a large number of houses, a court house and the New Glasgow railway station.

In 1881, he served as Mayor of New Glasgow.