Clyde River Connection to Old Hillsboro Bridge

Old Hillsboro Bridge painted by Helen Haszard (1890-1970)

Old Hillsboro Bridge painted by Helen Haszard (1890-1970) which is featured on Gallery 18’s website

Jean and Sharon MacLean brought along the following newspaper clipping to our Historical Working Bee last week which referenced some of their family history.

The main steelwork on the new Hillsboro bridge should be completed in a few days time. It recalls several stories I’ve heard recently about the old bridge and the Southport-Charlottetown ferry that carried people across the river before the bridge was built.

W.A. MacLean of Clyde River has a stumping hook made from a piece of the old bridge steel around 1904 or 1905 when it was built. The hook was made for C.D. MacLean, Mr. MacLean’s father, by Bruce Stewart who founded the company that carried his name for more than fifty years.

Mr. MacLean was having trouble getting a hook strong enough to stand the tremendous pull which was exerted by the old capstan stumping machine. Mr. Stewart jumped on a bicycle, got an odd bit of bridge steel and fashioned a hook which has lasted through the years and soon will be a valuable souvenir.

It could be a museum piece when our Fathers of Confederation building is erected, and we will finally get the provincial museum which has been demanded for years.

I’m reminded, too, that Dr. Hammond Kelly, director of veterinary services for the province, has a pass that his grandfather Hammond Kelly used on the old Southport ferry. The piece of cardboard entitled the holder to cross the river but there was one reservation. “No manure” was allowed on market days which were Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mr. MacLean also brought me an old pamphlet advertising Mayor Todd, an outstanding standard bred stallion that Hammond Kelly owned back in 1913. The big horse weighed 1100 pounds, had a mile of 2.18 and a half in 1.08 as a 4-year old which was good time in those years.

A paternal half brother Bob Douglas had a mile in 2.04 which was really fast. Mayor Todd’s dam Alclayetta had a record of 2.26 which give an idea of the times some of the good horses were making in those years.

One of the best known standard bred stallions of his time, Mayor Todd is still talked of when veteran horsemen meet.

Editor’s Notes:

We are not sure of the title or date of this article, but the Opening Ceremony for the new bridge was August 6, 1962. So far, we have not found this article on the Island Newspaper online archive, but if someone finds it, please send along.

Interesting links:

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