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History of Eureka & Ferrona

Eureka is a unique and picturesque village, completely surrounded by hills and bestowed by a benign nature with a natural observation balcony, where the scenes and activities below can be clearly viewed from many angles. Seen form the sloping hills on the eastern or western approaches, the village presents a quiet and peaceful appearance in the widespread panorama of the surrounding countryside, dotted here and there and on the opposite hills with homes and buildings, a contrast and blending of the various shades of green, in the foliage, the fields and the gardens, here and there occasional sparklings of the river, and in the Autumn, the leaves and verdure, changing and bursting out with all their glorious and vivid colors, presenting beauty at its best. Keeping silent watch over the tranquil scene and the destiny of this little village, along the river banks and high on the hills, are a few remaining, tall and stately trees, patiently recording the change of seasons and seeing the tide of events in the community, as they have done since before its creation. Also keeping a benevolent watch from almost the center of the village, erected early in its history, and – gleaming white – is stately Zion Presbyterian Church, with its tall, imposing spire and commanding appearance.

If we could turn back the pages of time to 1877, ninety years ago, stand on the high road and view the scene as it was displayed at that time, what would be seen? In the village proper, probably, nothing but wilderness, the two or three small clearings invisible among the trees. On the opposite hills of Churchville, there could possible be seen buildings and growing clearings and there might also be seen an occasional domestic animal. The branches of the East River, teeming with fish, at that time, could not be seen, because of the high banks and surrounding forest, which also abounded with game and other wild animals. Quite a strip of the Intercolonial Railway should be visible and it is quite likely that you would be treated by the appearance of a train as it chugged its way along. Coming from Stellarton and extending up to the East River Settlements would be a roadway, this could likely be seen as it crossed the railroad, but the bridge across the West Branch of the East River could not be seen, this was then known as the Island Bridge and was the only name applied to the area, although a few years later it was spoken of as Lower Hopewell for a short time.

The earliest drawing of surveyor’s map, show the location of the various grants of land made to the pioneer settlers. That of Farquhar Falconer, extending to the West Branch of the East River, would include the southern portion of the future village, while the grant of Alexander Falconer, would include the remainder west of the West Branch. The portion now known as the Island and bounding the village of Ferrona on the south was Granted to Alexander MacKay; James Robertson and Charles Fraser had the Churchville land, east of the East Branch of the East River. The portion now occupied by the village of Ferrona was not taken up at that time. It was, subsequently, taken up by later grants to Farquhar and Alexander Falconer, and others, who were accorded grants in 1813, 1814, and 1820. As the East River settlements grew and developed, a roadway was opened up from there to the more populated areas, or towns as we know them today. Coming from Stellarton, the roadway followed down the big hill, then known as Barclay’s Hill, following the same course of the road, as at the present, to the bend of the smaller hill leading to the bridge, here it inclined to the right and passed along the route, now followed by Mr. James Jardine to his garage, it continued around the hill to where the Island Bridge had been built, crossing the bridge to the other side, the old road can still easily be followed up to the property of Mr. Fraser MacDonald, from there it continued to the Island, along the foot of the small hill about 150 yards west of the present highway and eventually converging with it.


© Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library 2007