Some of you know that I like to browse the old newspapers, because you never know what you’ll find there. This clipping, from 1905, is from a longer article and includes a nice description of Newfoundland and some interesting details.
For starters, “Newfoundland is the centre of the sugar bush country“. Who knew that some folks made maple syrup there?
And this tidbit: “There are two white frame churches with green blinds continually challenging each other from adjacent hills and so near alike that a newcomer might easily get mixed as to his doctrine by going to the rival church by mistake.”
I take this as a description of the M.E. church (now the dog-grooming place) and the long-gone Baptist church on Clinton. They were, in fact, almost identical in appearance.
But it’s the sardonic description of Brown’s Hotel that I like the best:
“There is but one tavern with a bar in the place, and there is a bar that a bishop might dedicate without calling forth whereases and therefores from a single protesting body of his laity. It is a saloon in which there are window-boxes filled with oxalis and geraniums and begonias and other plants generally associated with grandmothers. It is one of the improving duties and pastimes of the bartender to water those plants and pick off the dead leave.
” ‘Botany before booze’ might be the motto of the place, but the only sign displayed is ‘Welcome,’ worked in light blue worsted on bristol-board and hung above the bottles. There are no drunkards there.”
The “saloon” the writer describes seems to refer to Brown’s Hotel. Those who have studied the history of Brown’s will recall that at some point in the 1890s, J.P.’s son Theodore decreed that Brown’s would go “dry”, and he no longer sold alcohol there. And the writer was clearly very disappointed!