Submitted by: Daniel G. Campbell (Danny to his friends in Fairview)
The photo at left is of the original Campbell House which was built in the early 1940’s, purchased and owned by Mrs. Ellen Campbell. The civic address, at the time, was 406 Dutch Village Road. (presently 3818 Joseph Howe Drive) It is the last house still standing on the Bedford Basin end of original Dutch Village Road. (the area where the original Howe Avenue met with Dutch Village Road leading to the Bedford Highway.
In 1953, Mrs. Campbell’s son, Daniel, wife Dorothy, granddaughter Joy and grandson Danny moved into the house with their grandmother and loved living in their home and especially living in the marvelous hamlet called Fairview, until the home was sold to its present owner, in Fairview was an excellent place to raise children and we loved growing up and living in Fairview!
In 1953 Dutch Village Road was a two-lane thoroughfare and the main road to Bedford ending at the Fairview Underpass where the roads, Bedford Highway, DVR and Lady Hammond Road met and passed under the train tracks. While paved, there were no sidewalks merely having a shoulder of the road and it was ditched on both sides.
The houses to the left of the Campbell House, (facing the house from Dutch Village Road) from where Howe Avenue (the name of the road connecting Dutch Village Road from the Ashburn Golf Course to our end of Dutch Village Road) intersected with Dutch Village Road were: the Noonan House, (immediately located to the right of the Walsh House); the Cody House (later the Paul House;) and the MacRae House. To the right of the Campbell House, commencing on the immediate right, was the Butler House; Smart House (owned by Jack and Dolly Smart); a second Smart House (owned by Mrs. Smart, Jack Smart’s mother); Chamber House and Smarts Hall over which was an apartment where Gary Cunningham lived (where I am told, lots of dances were held in the 40’s) and the Deal House. Howe Avenue, early in the 50’s was not paved and the kids of the area called the dirt road “The Stretch”. A great place to get pea shooters from a type of elephant grass that grew between the road and the railway tracks. Some of the kids, hiding in the ditch along DVR, had what they thought was great fun, shooting peas into the open passenger windows of passing cars. Thankfully the pea shooters were not the best and our aim being extremely poor I don’t think any of us hit anyone or anything, but the side of the car, if that! Thanks goodness!
The CN freight train(from the South Shore) came along the tracks parallel to the “Stretch”, going around the bend, close to where the present-day Super Store is located, into Halifax, and had to slow down as it met with a series of other railway tracks leading into Halifax. Some of the children (not mentioning “who”) used to wait until the train slowed down coming around the bend, jumped on the train, between the cars, and jumped off again at the Simpsons-Sears department store, from where we walked back home, along Bayers Road and along the ‘Stretch’. If our children did such a thing to-day, we would have killed them, symbolically, of course!
Directly across the road was the Hines family home, previously part of the Jones’ Farm. The Hines’ home ( young Phil and I became good friends until the Hines family moved and sadly, we lost touch) was at the top of a wonderful hill, which was used every winter as a fantastic coasting ( kids to-day would call it sledding) venue for the children of the area. A scar on my lower left lip is a wonderful reminder of how we used to slide down the hill on our two feet (when the hill was icy) to see who could get to the bottom of the hill without falling. As my scar reminds me, I do not think I ever made it to the bottom unless I was on my beautiful red two runner sleigh! There was no danger of going onto the road as a wide drainage ditch ran along the frontage of the Hines’ property and we had to make a sharp turn so that we did not go into the ditch which was often filled with water.
On the right side, the Hines property ran to the railway tracks and on the left was a billboard which we children called the “signin’ boards”. The area to the left of the Hines property was boarded by the railway tracks and by a small brook along the back which went to the Bedford Under pass. It was a great place to pick blue berries, black berries, raspberries, tea berries and what we as children called ‘Indian Pears’ which to-day would be politically incorrect of course. I think they were really high bush blue berries, but not certain.
To the left of the “signin’ Board” was all swamp and the only time any children went close to the swamp was when they ( to name a few, but not always at the same time, the Campbell’s, Appleby’s, Coakley’s, O’Brien’s and LaPierre’s)were knocking on our neighbours doors then running like heck and hiding on the swamp side of the drainage ditch, so that we would not be seen when the adults came to the door. One night, Mr. Butler, who lived next door, being a little upset, chased us across the street, espousing, “I see you little devils, down there!” Of course it was so dark (no street lights in that area at that time) that we could not even see Mr. Butler let alone him seeing us down in the swamp.
In later years, the Hines hill, in the name of progress was completely bulldozed totally filling in the swamp area allowing for the building of the original General Electric building, presently where the Loblaws office is located (a great place to practice our roller skating with the clip on skates and not the in-line roller blades of to-day) all the way to the ‘Fairview Station’ buildings. We would often sit in the sun porch and watch the freight and passenger trains leaving and coming to Halifax. The old CNR roundhouse was also visible and many a time we went to the top of the building (hoping that we would not be caught by the CN police who knew my dad who also worked for the CN) searching for pigeons for our friend Wayne Warren who had a wonderful pigeon (also known as stone or rock doves) coop!
Visitors to our home for their first visit would hear loud bangs and quickly ask, “What was that?” To which the reply was. “What was what?” We were so used to hearing the shunting of the trains that we no longer paid any attention to the loud noises others heard when coming to 406 Dutch Village Road.
All of the children living in that area (although mostly the boys) were known as the Lightning Hill Gang! Another story for another time!
I do not know what is in store for the ‘Last House Standing’s future, but it still has fond memories of a wonderful childhood living in the lower half of our beautiful ‘Fairview’.