Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year!

The museum started as a project by a group of volunteers with a passion for history and heritage in the area. After a lot of work and fundraising, the museum was built and opened in 1997. The exhibit was first housed in the main part of the town hall, in a large room off to the side of the lobby. After a little under a decade, the museum had grown so much that it was moved to the basement of the town hall, where we are currently located.

Inside the museum.

This museum is a project of love by part and present members of the LBMCOC Heritage Committee, who volunteer their time to maintain and preserve the museum, plus select and supervise seasonal staff. Over the years, the museum has shifted to a seasonal museum, instead of open all year round, but our summers are now filled with group visits and activities for all ages. Over the years, many people have managed the museum, most notably, the late Sheila Ozon, who ran the museum for almost a decade and brought it from upstairs to its expanded location under the town hall.

Sheila Ozon did a lot of great work for the museum. This painting of hers is proudly displayed.
This weekend, we are celebrating the museum's 20th anniversary. On Sunday, from 12 until 6, we will have live music, a face painter, activities for all ages, as well as snacks, tea, coffee and juice. At 4pm, we will look to the opening of the museum and will open the time capsule created by the students of St. Francis of Assisi in 1997. What treasures did the students put in? Were you one of those students? Care to give us a hint?

Once we have time to explore the 1997 time capsule, we'll be refilling it and resealing it with objects created and selected by the current LBMCOC Summer Camp!

Come out, stop by anytime between noon and 6pm for games, music and fun! All are welcome, and like all activities at the museum, admission is free!

A notice for a garden party at St. Francis in Outer Cove. From The Evening Telegram, 20 Aug 1921, p1.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

From the Program Coordinator Emma Lang:
Have you ever wondered why museums do what they do? What do staff do when the visitors aren’t around? These questions fascinated me as a kid and when I started working at museums when I was 15 learning the answers was just as exciting as I thought it would be. Over the summer I’m going to share some stories of behind the scenes at LBMCOC Museum.  Let you peak behind the curtain and learn about more about the work that we do and why we made some of the decisions we’ve made. First up, the story behind our new program Objects Up Close.

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to old tools, particularly household items, sewing machines, cast iron pots, egg beaters etc. I always preferred tin baking sheets to non-stick ones, typewriters to computers. Our museum has many of these objects on display and as part of my job as Program Coordinator I wanted to come up with a way to bring you, our visitors, up close to the objects, to see how they work and hopefully, be inspired to learn more about the objects in your own homes. I decided to start with of objects in our Lifestyles section, to see what I could learn about who made them and bring in working versions I have at home that to share.


 2 of the museum’s 3 sewing machines. 

By the early 20th century Singer sewing machines were ubiquitous in homes across Canada, the UK and US and the houses of Logy Bay Middle Cove and Outer Cove were no exception. The LBMCOC Museum has three of these machines in our collection. With access to the shops in St. John’s and the opportunity for women in the communities to make money by doing laundry and mending clothing for the well-off of St. John’s, owning a sewing machine was both economically possible and could help to bring in money for families year-round. Lucky for me, Singer machines are well documented and easy to research. Each machine has a serial number that can be used to look up where and when it was made as well as the model number of that specific machine. 

The serial number on the museum’s treadle sewing machine

With the help of the lists included on the International Sewing Machine Collectors website at,  I was able to establish that our treadle sewing machine was made in June 1910 while one of the two hand crank machines was made in February 1909. The other hand crank has a damaged ID number but my current guess is that it dates from 1904. We tend to think of treadle sewing machines like this one IMAGE as pre-dating smaller more portable machines such as the hand cranked ones, but in actuality they were being manufactured at the same time, and in the same factories. Just as today people choose between laptops and desktop computers for a wide range of reasons, those purchasing a sewing machine in the early 1900s would choose a portable or treadle sewing machine depending on what their needs were.
While many of our younger visitors have seen their nans or moms use a sewing machine, watching them look at in amazement at the heavy metal machines we have on display and try to figure out how they worked led me to create the Objects Up Close program. I brought in my still functional 1950s Singer featherweight which—save the lack of crank or treadle—looks almost identical to the machines on display and now visitors of all ages can see how the machines would work and see how portable they could be. 

My 1953 featherweight electric Singer sewing machine (left) and the museum’s 1909 portable crank Singer sewing machine (right)

As Objects Up Close continues over the summer visitors will have the opportunity to see up close others of our objects and even try out modern versions of the same items.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Museum Highlights: Milk Can and Milk Bottles

Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove often brings to mind images of beaches with rolling capelin, the rooms down in Logy Bay, and the coastline of Marine Drive. But there is a tradition of farming in the area, with family who never fished but rather helped to feed the area and St. John's.
Pint milk bottle donated by Laura Rose [001.3.4].
Throughout the museum there are artifacts that reflect this agricultural history of the museum. Milk bottles can be found throughout the museum, and in the agricultural section of the museum, there is a large milk can that would have been transported in to St. John's daily, filled with fresh milk.
Half pint milk bottles donated by Judy Smith [996.8.2].

In a 1982 issue of Decks Awash, Cyril Pine talks about his dairy farm in Outer Cove. The dairy farm was stated about 185 years ago by his grandfather, William Pine. Cyril recalled how in the 1920s, cows were milked by hand, with the milk going into a bucket. The milk would be strained into large metal cans and those were kept in a well so they would stay cold. He and his mother would go door-to-door in St. John's with 8 or 9 gallons of milk from their four cows. They would take about an hour to drive into St. John's with the horse and cart and a couple of milk cans. Women would come out the to cart and use a dipper to take what they wanted out of the can. In the 1930s, milk bottles were introduced. This meant that Cyril had more work to do as every day empty bottles were picked up from customers, taken back to be cleaned and sterilized, and refilled to be delivered. Every day around 30 bottles would have to be cleaned to be ready for the next day's delivery. It was rare for most dairy deliveries to regularly visit the same homes, but Cyril notes that while he met a lot of women in town, he did have a regular stop at Miss Meehan's house. Isabel Green of Point Verde, Placentia Bay, was working there as a cook, and on September 15th, 1937, Father Dan O'Callahan in Outer Cove, married Cyril and Isabel.
From LeMessurier 1982.
In a 2007 interview with Charlie Power as part of a project called "If These Walls Could Talk...", Charlie talks about his family's dairy farm. It was mostly dairy, but they did produce some vegetables and eggs. The focus was on dairy production, and the farm at one point supplied milk and eggs to St. Clare's Hospital in St. John's. Each day, Charlie and his father would go into town with the milk, and each day Charlie would have to clean and sterilize the 80 bottles needed for the hospital the next day. Charlie and his brother, Kevin, took over the farm years later, and around 1998, they sold off the cattle, but kept the land in Rocky Hills, Logy Bay.
Milk can donated by Charlie Power [006.6.7].
Charlie tells how there were a few dairy farms in the area; his in Logy Bay, Kelley's Farm and Pine's Farm in Outer Cove, Roche's Farm in Middle Cove, and later, in the 1950s, Rose's Farm which can be seen from Logy Bay Road.

Milk bottled donated by Richolas Roche [996.2.4]. Mr. Roche believes these bottles were owned by Cyril Pine.

The artifacts of this dairying tradition housed in the museum remind us that there is more to Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove than just fishing, but also a long history of agriculture and keeping St. John's fed.

Stay tuned to the museum facebook and twitter. We're updating our agriculture exhibit this summer, and will be having some agriculture themed events and activities to celebrate this part of our history.

LeMessurier, S.L. (ed.)
1982 Pine's Pints and Quarts. Decks Awash, 11(1):15.

Power, C. and M. Power (interview)
2007 If These Walls Could Talk...: A Collection of Interview Reports of Local Residents of the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. On file: LBMCOC Museum Archives.

Friday, 30 June 2017

1953 Logy Bay Helicopter Rescue, Part 2

Also posted at

Last week's post was about a helicopter rescue off Logy Bay where three men were lost on the ice. Two of the men were rescued, one by local fisherman and the other by the combined effort of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), United States Air Force (USAF), Canadian Coast Guard and the United States Navy. At the end of last week's post, William Dunn, was still missing.

Dunn had gone out sealing with two others on the evening of March 28th, 1953. The two other sealers came back around 11pm, but Dunn went missing. His companions said he had become ill at some point. After the adventures of March 29th, Dunn was still missing, although his brother and another sealer, Frank Olsen, were safely off the ice. The USAF helicopter brought in from Harmon Field, Stephenville, had to call off the search when it got dark.

Logy Bay, spring 2017. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.

On March 30th, the search continued. The helicopter was piloted by Captain Lamar Willis of Springfield, Ohio, and Lieutenant James Stevenson of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Early on the 30th, the helicopter made an attempt to search, but the morning fog off the coast sent them back to Torbay. Later in the morning, Willis made a second attempt and searched the area from Red Cliff north to Red Head and ten miles out to sea. That afternoon, the helicopter went out again and searched from Red Head South to Sprigg's Point on the south side of Freshwater Bay. Overall, the helicopter spent 5 hours searching the ice at a height of about 250 feet. They found no trace of Dunn.

The pilots who took part in the search. Left to right: USAF pilots Willis and Stevenson, RCAF pilots Vincer and Hinton. From The Evening Telegram.

That afternoon, the helicopter was joined by two RCAF Cansos. Canso 9830 and Canso 11024 flown by First Officer Jack Vincer and First Officer Hal Hinton flew the two aircraft. Along with the USAF helicopter, a combined time of 9 hours and 5 minutes were spent searching that day.

Canso at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.

While the air search was happening, reports were coming in of a man being sighted on the since some distance off the shore. These areas were check by air, and also by an RCMP team who were searching the ice from the land.

On March 31st, the weather was poor and no flying was done out of Torbay. By this point, Flight Lieutenant Carl R. Ensom of 103 Search and Rescue Squadron Torbay (SAR) determined that any further search would be futile.

Dunn, from Tunis Court in St. John's, was 31 at the time, and the father of either 5 or 6 children (the newspapers give conflicting reports). He was known to the RCMP as we himself was a former member of the police force, and he served with the Navy in the Second World War. His current employment was at the Car Shop of the Canadian National Railroad.

Ice at Middle Cove, spring 2017. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.

Ensom also issued a statement that "the air rescue service was not provided for the purpose of picking up people who are foolhardy enough to take a chance on dangerous ice". This statement was not in relation to the Dunn brothers and Olsen, but rather in reaction to children playing "copying" in St. John's Harbour. This is a game where kids would jump to a pan of loose ice and leap to another before the first one sinks under their weight. This is a particularly important warning seeing as SAR was having difficulty searching for the missing sealers due to weather conditions.

Enson, C.R.
1953 130 "R" Unit Det Torybay Nfld. RCAF Base Diary, 24 March 1953 - 31 March 1953. On file: LBMCOC Museum.
Unknown Author
1953 Cancel Search for W. Dunn. The Evening Telegram, 31 March 1953, p. 1.
Unknown Author
1953 Find No Trace of William Dunn On Drifting Ice. The Daily News, 30 March 1953, p. 3.
Unknown Author
1953 Search and Rescue Official Warns the Foolhardy. The Daily News, 31 March 1953, p. 1.