The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

April 4, 2007

Apr. 4, 2007 – A.E. Fraser Building

Alexander E. Fraser was born in 1842, in Pictou County , of Scottish Ancestry. He moved to Springhill when the mines first opened. He was a Member of Parliament in the House of Assembly for two parliaments.

When the Maple Grove Church got to small for the Presbyterian Church members A. E. Fraser was on the committee in 1884 when it was decided to build a new church. He built a house on McDougall St . When a new Manse for the Presbyterian Church was to be built, they decided to build it on McDougall St. next door to Mr. Fraser. To make the two houses alike A.E. Fraser help with the financing.

Before incorporation, Mr. Fraser represented Springhill on the County Council. In 1885 he was appointed Justice of the Peace. With incorporation of the Town of Springhill , in 1889, Alexander E. Fraser was elected the first Mayor, a position he held until 1891. He was a member of the jury at the inquest into the 1891 mine explosion. He was also Honorary President of the Lacrosse Club.

Alexander Fraser owned the building at the corner of Elgin Street and Main Street . This building housed Fraser Hall on the upper floor and A.E. Fraser General Store on the bottom floor. Fraser Hall was hired for many entertainments including traveling shows and social affairs. If the Presbyterian Church needed the use of the hall it was given to them for free. An ad in the paper of 1892 reads “A.E. Fraser a great sacrifice of dry goods – 10 to 50 per cent discount”.

A. E. Fraser was a Charter Member of the Eureka Lodge No. 15, IOOF and from 1886 to 1889 the lodge held its meetings in the Fraser Building .

The General Store continued until A.E. Fraser died in 1905 and then it was sold to Durward M. Smith. Mr. Smith changed it to a hardware store. D.M. Smith was the Mayor of Springhill from 1928 to 1932. He ran the hardware store until 1946 when it was once again sold. This time it was sold to Elmer Hyatt who ran Hyatt’s Hardware Store there for many years. Mr. Hyatt had started with a grocery store on Elgin Street and later on Main Street .

In 1932 Elmer opened an ice cream parlour and tea room in the building that once housed H.S. Terris Fruit and Confectionary Store next to White’s Barber Shop and Beauty Parlour. A year later he began serving meals and having guest rooms. He took over seven additional rooms in the Scott building.

Here is an ad in the Springhill Record of 1951 “Saturday Special, Hot Toasted Chicken Sandwich with dressing, cranberry sauce and French fries, Tea or Coffee, 60 cents. From 5p.m. to closing at Hyatt’s’ Restaurant”.

After the hardware store closed its doors Ed McLean opened a shoe store which was in operation until it burned in the Main Street fire of 1975.

Here are a few local notes from the Springhill Record of Apr. 17, 1915 .

A large number of our Springhill people availed themselves of the cheap excursion to Amherst to take in the Horse Show, Military Parade, etc. In the party of excursionist were Mrs. Howard Coon, Mrs. Sandy Lormier and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Irvine Weatherbee, Mr. and Mrs. Benj. J. Rogers, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Archibald, Mrs. Horace Nelson, Mrs. Alex Wilson, Mr. C.C. Schurman, Rodney; Mrs. Morton Schurman, Rodney; Mr. William Weatherbee, Clairmont; and others. They all report a pleasant trip and a day of much interest.

The Rebekahs gave a farewell dance last Thursday night to Misses Isabella Anderson and Margaret McKenzie before their departure from town.

Mr. Oscar Goldrich, a member of the 3 rd Canadian Contingent now in Amherst , was in town over the weekend visiting his parents Mr. and Mrs. Edward Goldrich.