|Say "luvs it"!|
It was the first time I had "crossed the gut" by bicycle. Of course I've crossed it in a car or on foot my whole life many time in my life. Remember when I talked about how the tide come=es in and out so strong here? Don't try to take a swim across!
|The new lift bridge|
The lift bridge is staffed year round, 24-hours a day. The bridge is lifted approximately 2,400 times annually for marine traffic and sees about 6,500 vehicles pass over per day. During the busiest spring months when crab and lobster fisheries are at their peak, the bridge can lift over 400 times a month. (info courtesy of Archival Moments)
For a look at the geography of the area I've included a map that was on the wall up at Castle Hill.
|Chatting up a gent, I think he was back for the Merasheen reunion|
On our ride I took Charlie over to the beach area to see the boardwalk and sea wall that were built there. A great informational board at the start of the boardwalk discusses the history of the difficulty getting around for the residents. Crossing the gut in a car posed a major difficulty when cars first came to the area. The driver would have to hire two motor boats which would then be lashed together. The car would first be driven down two planks , the front wheels would then placed in one boat and the rear wheels in the other. On reaching the other side the car would then be driven up the two planks. If the driver was heading for St. John's, he then faced a trip of at least three hours over a very poor, narrow road to get there. (information courtesy of Laval k12)
|boat ferrying passengers across the gut|
If you didn't have a car it was much easier to hop a boat and get ferried over.
|Strong wind and tides took care of the pontoon bridge idea|
The Americans had the idea that a pontoon bridge would work...but a big storm put that idea to rest. In 1961 the Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge was officially opened by Premier J.R. Smallwood and it did its job until the new bridge opened in 2016. Unfortunately the new bridge is still plagued with issues, even closing to marine traffic for weeks at a time which isn't making the fishermen happy. While we were home it was closed intermittently for work related to faulty cable design I believe on at least two separate days. Still, I will take that over a pontoon bridge or being rowed across!
We also stopped at the monument to Fort Frederick. The fort consisted of a semi-circular redoubt mounting twelve guns, a guard house, barracks and storehouse surrounded by a palisade. It was erected on the town side of Placentia in 1717 to protect English interests in the seasonal fishery. However, the fort was poorly maintained from the beginning and by 1744 the redoubt had to be strengthened by a timber and sod-work facing and the number of guns reduced to eight. Bastions were then added to the landward angles of the palisade, upon which were mounted Coehorn mortars (a mortar first used in 1674 which fired at a fixed angle of elevation of 45 degrees). After a partial repair in 1762 the works were allowed to decay and were finally abandoned in 1811 when the ordnance was removed. Two 12 pounder cannon were mounted behind a temporary earthwork battery near this site in 1813 as protection against American privateers and can still be seen. (information courtest of Canada's Historic Places)
|Uncle Harold and Cousin Tom picking up some extra work|
Archaeological work on the Fort Frederick site in 2000-2002 revealed a large collection of artifacts. Archaeologists uncovered barrel staves, cannon and musket balls, flints, Dutch tobacco pipes, pieces of pottery and tableware and coins. One coin in particular dates to 1630, confirming that Placentia was occupied by people before the French colony of Plaisance was established in 1660.
We watched updates being completed at Rosedale Manor, a fine place to stay if you're coming for a visit. Built in 1893, it was bought from the city and turned into an inn. Stop and smell the wild roses like we did!
Just around the corner is the tiny St. Luke's Anglican Church. Built between 1906 and 1908 it is at least the third church on this site, the first one being Catholic.
There were once a number of 17th-century Basque tombstones in the graveyard that surrounded the church which suggests that this may have been the site of an even earlier French chapel built in 1662.
I never even knew there were anything but Catholics in the area, so you learn something new all the time! Visitors are welcome and we poked our heads in for a minute after reading all the graves.
It's a very short ride around Placentia since it is surrounded by water, and I eyed the Courthouse as I always do when we pedaled past. Built in 1902 it was known as the General Building early on. Originally it was home to a customs office, postal telegraph, constable's residence, jailer's residence, courtroom and magistrate's office. I haven't seen anyone about in order to snag an invite inside to poke around...yet. You know me, I'd love a look at the workings of that clock!
I haven't posted any news items for awhile -I'll ease in with this tidbit I found in a Newfoundland online newspaper called The Compass. Researchers from Memorial University in St. John's have discovered a genetic marker that has been ground breaking in saving lives of individuals at risk of young death due to a cardiac defect. Heart problems are no joke in Newfoundland, in my mother's family two of her sisters had open heart surgery before they were adults I believe, and her father had serious heart problems also. One of Wayne's brothers died suddenly from cardiac arrest before he was 60, with no warning of illness.
The nature of the founder population in Newfoundland — which occurs when a new population is established by a small number of individuals — was helpful in identifying the gene, but since its discovery, doctors in Denmark, Norway, and Germany in particular have also noticed it in blood tests. “We could also tell that, based on the DNA, this mutation probably went back to around AD 800. … If you think about it as a disease in which half the offspring get it, and it’s been around for over a thousand years, there must be so many more people around the world that are affected by this.,” says Dr. Sean Connors. “We still have unanswered questions. Most women with this gene die of old age, half of men die by the time they get to 40." Ironically in this kind of situation those who exert themselves physically throughout their life are actually putting strain on their heart and damaging it.