The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

May 30, 2007

May 30, 2007 - William Hall

William Hall was born in Durham, England and as a young boy worked as a trapper boy in the mines there. When he came to Canada he worked in the Ford Pit in Albion Mines, Pictou County where he was a foreman. Because of his work as a foreman, when the Springhill Mining Company opened, he was offered a job as Manager in the new mine. He moved with his family in 1873 and continued on as Manager for the next 15 years. He retired in 1890.

Mr. Hall became one of the prominent men of Springhill over the years. He lived in a company house whose back door faced McFarlane Street and the front faced lower Main Street . Later on he built a new home on McDougall Street next to the Baptist Parsonage.

William Hall was Secretary of Schools and was the second Mayor of Springhill in 1891. He became Mayor again in 1898 and 1899. He, along with the Springhill Clergy, A, McLeod of the Company Office and the Commissioners of the Employees Relief Fund, was in charge of the Springhill Relief Fund which was established after the Mine Explosion of 1891.

He owned eight buildings on Elm Street which were burned in the fire of 1895. After the fire he built a block of homes enclosed by Main , Elm, Drummond and Pioneer Streets. This became known as the Hall Block. He later gave the land to his daughter Laura who was married to Henry Sprague and the name was changed to the Sprague Block. He owned the property on the upper corner of Elm Street and Main Street and in 1895 built a Union Store which was financed by the employees and managed by A.G. Purdy with John Murray and A.H. McLeod as assistants. This store was called Eldorado. On the upper floor of the building was Hall’s Hall which was rented out for social events and the Baptist held Church services here until they got their own church. This building later held five stores: Dr. McKay, Wylie’s Colliery Drugstore, Armishaw and Shenton’s, P. Pineau the tailor and Rice the Photographer. Other businesses included M.R. Anderson who had a Jewelry Store in this location for 54 years, Weaver Brothers, R.W. MacDonald (Dog Rory) had a barbershop and R.D. MacDonald (Rory the Poet) had a confectionary store. Bill Trott and Jim Conway also had barbershops there at one time. At one time the Springhill Club was on the upper floor of this building and dressmakers often had their businesses there.

The PWA built the Pioneer Store and Hall on the corner of Main Street and Pioneer Street on land that was owned by William Hall. This building was later referred to as the United Mine Workers Hall.

The building was replaced in 1926 by the Miners Hall. The main floor was used to hold social gatherings and dances and later became the home of the Springhill Library.

In 2007 there was a fire which caused a great deal of damage to the building and at this time is being repaired.

Next to the Miners Hall was a flat roofed house (where the Miners Monument sits today) built by William Hall and occupied by Dr. Byers. Later on Mrs. Sprague lived there with her family until her father’s death in 1907 and she moved into her father’s home on McDougall Street . This house was destroyed by fire in 1974.

This property from the Miners Hall to Elm Street is now owned by the town and the Miners Monument and Park are located here. There is to be an informative kiosk built on this site in the near future by the Springhill Heritage Group which will show the heritage of Springhill in pictures and write ups so that the history of Springhill can be passed on to those who come later.