Three Mile House

By: Devonna Edwards

The Three-Mile House was located in Fairview, Halifax County on the highway now known as the Bedford Highway. The Three- Mile House was a livery and tavern, a resting place for travellers. Their horses and carriages were housed in the stables. It was called Three-Mile House because it was three miles from the city of Halifax, there was also a Three-Mile Church (St. John’s Anglican Church),Three-Mile Church Hall, Three-Mile School, and Three-Mile Cottage (also known as Triangle Cottage and Tea Caddy House). Three-Mile Cottage was located on the corner of Kempt Road and Windsor Road, it was owned by John Steel and he resided there before 1842. John Stanford lived there in 1864. Augustus Deal, a blacksmith lived there in 1878, followed by a Miss Geizer.

Beside the Triangle Cottage was a building owned by John McAlpine; it was first known as Edward’s Valley Inn in 1834-35, then renamed Three-Mile House in 1864 when J. Parker lived there.

There were other houses referred to as Three-Mile House because of their proximity to the city but none as well known as the one that J.F. Gough owned.

The Three-Mile House had the Bedford Basin in its backyard, and was near the Fairview Underpass (today known as the Fairview Overpass).

A man by the name of Shaw built the first inn on the site about 1822 calling it the Bedford Inn. John Northup was the proprietor from 1828 until at least the next year. Then Increase Ward became proprietor; and the Inn was consumed by fire on Oct. 1857. A new Three-Mile House was built on the site soon after the fire. It was two and a half stories high, 40×25 ft. Thomas Ward was the proprietor until he was replaced by his son-in-law, J.F. Gough, who was there until it was taken by the Railway Department about 1914. Gough added the western two-storey, flat- roofed 20 ft. addition which appears in the photo.

The Three-Mile House was demolished about 1918, as it was then on the right-of-way of the Terminals Railway. On the site the Fairview Train Station was built

John F. Gough had a great interest in boat racing and in 1898 he built a new boat house at the Three-Mile House. The structure was fifty feet long and was capable of holding a large number of boats. The first floor was set apart for racing shells. It was nicely finished in white wood. There was a long platform leading from the main door of the boat house to a wharf. The second floor of the boat house was set apart for an assembly room and training quarters for the oarsmen. Men in training for a race were able to live in the boat house.

There was sleeping, dining and training rooms. They also held socials and dances at the boat house.
John Gough offered purses for a single and double scull race which was rowed on Bedford Basin on May 24, 1899.
He also offered a sum of money to have a single scull race between Michael Lynch and John Brennan
on June 21. John Brennan and his brother took up quarters at the Three-Mile House in the spring and commence training immediately.

Boat racing was in vogue throughout the 1870s and early 1880s. When the great Brown-Biglin race took place on the Bedford Basin on September 23, 1873, J.A. Biglin was quartered at Ward’s Three-Mile House and George Brown at Four-Mile House. Warren Smith stayed at Wards’s for his contest with Wallace Ross around 1882. The three-mile course was from the inn to a turning mark off Kenney’s Point near Birch Cove. Such were raucous events with gambling and drinking taking place at the inns.