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Selling our home – Its History

March 16, 2010

It is not often that we can buy a property and know the complete history of the place from when it was first settled. With our Property, originally called “Bunbury”, we can go back to its first days.

In this post let’s look at the property itself and then later we can talk about some of the amazing people who have lived here. Click on any photo to see it larger.

Here is an overview of the connection back to Charlottetown after the building of the railway. The Bunbury Road that now crosses Fullerton Marsh and goes onto Mermaid and points East, ended at the main house. It would have gone up what is now Premier’s Lane. The Bunbury Road was in effect the driveway to the main house!

Getting to Charlottetown was not easy then. Before the railway bridge, you would have crossed to Charlottetown by ferries running from either Southport or Kelly’s Point. The remnant of the old road to Kelly’s point, can be found today at Cotton’s Park that runs to the water.

This map below is earlier still and shows the detail of Lot 48 before the railway.

The Brook was dammed to drive a shingle mill. The dam is till there as is the pond but the mill has long gone. This was a full on working landscape then. Not only farming but shipbuilding as well. At least 7 schooners were built here as well. The Bovyer estate ran in 1798 all the way to Kelly’s Point on the West and to Fullerton’s Marsh to the East.

By the 1930’s the farm had shrunk in size but had become one of the most modern and important farms in Canada. J Walter Jones, later Premier of PEI, had married into the family and had developed the best dairy farm in Canada. One of his cows, Abegweit Milady, held the world’s record for butterfat production. One of his bulls brought an unheard of price of $25,000 in the late 1920’s. In 1931, he was awarded the Master Breeders Award from the Holstein-Friesian Association. It was the first time this award was ever presented to an individual. Jones was also one of the pioneers in the silver fox industry.

Here is how the home farm looked in 1936 at its peak.

The Bunbury Road runs from left to right [West to east] the main drive is in the centre. The small gap at the beginning is a small barn. I bet that this was for winter and the mud season giving access to the main road. What is now Premier’s lane runs from the bottom left to the house forming a wonderful circular drive in fron of the old house – which had to be pulled down in 1972. You will just catch the railway line in the bottom left. The Bunbury Station was a few yards away to the west.

Here is the home farm in 1958.

Jones had been dead 4 years and the farm would have been on the turn.

Here is the site today taken by Google.

At this level not much has changed. But at a detailed level it has. The old house had to be pulled down. The new house was buit in the early 1970’s by Lloyd and Marion Palmer. They also extended the old barn to the right [East] of the new house – the shiny roof. Lloyd built a half mile horse training track on the green field on the right. I still mow the track and walk my dogs every day there.

The best feature of the site remains the drive way.

Since we have owned the property, we have added a Granny Suite to the West Side side of the house and a Sun Room/Dining Room to the East. We have also rebuilt the barn and made it into a guest house – but I get ahead of myself.

The property now includes the driveway and the wood on the right of the drive and the area immediately surrounding the house. We do not own the fields. But we are as it were in the country.

Here you can see how close we are to town. About 7-8 minutes. You can also see how close we are to the shoreline. In the summer the dogs and I walk there all the time and on hot days even swim!

So what is this place? It is redolent with the history of the Island. It has been loved and cared for by only 4 families since the Bovyers bought it in 1788. What was 895 acres is now only 3.3 but it is the heart of the place.

In the next few posts I would like to share with you some stories of some of the wonderful people that have lived here. For they are still here. They have shaped the landscape and have cumulatively made this magic place what it is.

Their story will meld into yours as it has into mine.

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