As the car slowly snaked its way down the narrow road, we were almost afraid to exhale. We had been down this road countless times, full of misplaced hope and wonder, only to be met with crushing disappointment. Left to speculate as to whether the camera coldly bearing down on us was, in fact, recording our every move or simply meant to deter any potential looky-loos, we were just starting the familiar dialogue of what could possibly happen if we hopped the fence when all of a sudden we fell dead silent. Rubbing our eyes just to make sure we weren’t seeing things, we turned to each other with a look usually reserved for Christmas morning.
Dear God, the gate was open!
Welcome back to the Hollow as we take you on an adventure that we very nearly contemplated a life of crime to bring you! In fact, if you live on the island, chances are you have driven past this amazing place many times and wondered what lay beyond that pesky iron gate. With nothing more than a “Bamberton” sign on the highway, there is little evidence of the bustling cement company that helped to build the communities we now call home, or the town that grew up around it. When the machines fell silent in the 1980’s, so too did the sounds of Christmases and dances in the community hall, neighbours chatting over their fences, and children squealing as they raced their toboggans down the village street.
So join us now as we start our newest blog series “A Day In The Life Of Bamberton“, and let’s take our first steps together beyond the iron gate.
The best place to start this great adventure is at the museum, located inside the former home of the first plant manager, Henry Anderson. His was a position of stature, and employees and villagers were only permitted to visit by invitation. Terry Brunt, lucky enough to have called Bamberton home as a child, fondly recalls swimming with all of the other children in Mr. Anderson’s pool on the weekends. Of course, with the appropriate invitation… most of the time, anyway!
Whenever we find ourselves in a new, unfamiliar area, the first place we usually head to is the local museum. Filled with things that reflect the unique people and celebrate the local history on a very personal level, it always leaves us with a deeper understanding and appreciation of what we are exploring. And while we consider ourselves quite seasoned in this regard, this visit proved that we could still be surprised and unexpectedly delighted!
More than just an ode to an historically important and successful cement company, this lovingly maintained collection tells stories of honest, hard-working people and the community they created for themselves and each other. Staffed by volunteers, some having grown up here themselves, makes time here feel more like walking through a storybook than a building. From learning all together in Miss Trowse’s one- room schoolhouse to strife and strike at the cement plant, the story of Bamberton will stay with you always. It is, most definitely, worth waiting for the iron gate to swing open!
Join us again shortly as we explore the remains of the cement plant, the stone walls that outline a village, the breath-taking scenery and even a glimpse into what the future may hold for this special place. And if you just happen to be on the island this summer, come and experience the magic of Bamberton in person! Visit the museum and head out for a tour of the village site with some friendly folks who grew up there and hear the wonderful stories they created all those years ago. Tours are limited, so check out their 2014 poster here for dates and details. Also, if you are interested in the details of the history of Bamberton, please feel free to contact the Bamberton Historical Society via email or call directly at (250) 743-9196 to purchase a copy of “Bamberton From Dust to Bust” for only $18, plus shipping. Proceeds from the book go directly to the Bamberton Historical Society.
Thanks for popping by, and as always, please do leave your thoughts and comments for all to share!
Until next time!