The Ottawa House Museum has named its research library after Parrsboro’s much-loved local historian.
The Conrad Byers Marine Library was officially opened yesterday at the museum.
During a special ceremony, Harriet McCready Chair of the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society, described the 72-year-old Byers as a sailor, boatbuilder, photographer and teacher with a vast knowledge of local history.
“He’s one of the few people that we’d like to put a USB port in his head,” she said to laughter from the crowd of about 45 people who had gathered for the ceremony.
“There’s a couple of others too, they have so much history that all you’ve got to do is say a word or two and you get a wonderful story,” she added.
One of the “others” McCready referred to, amateur historian Ed Gilbert, praised Byers for his efforts in gathering the complete history of Parrsboro and area.
“Anything I didn’t know, I always went and found out from him,” he said.
“He has been the anchor of this whole thing,” Gilbert added. “If it hadn’t have been for Con, we probably wouldn’t have had a historical society and we never would have had our Ottawa House.”
When his turn came, Byers thanked people for attending the ceremony.
“I had no idea, there’d be this many people coming,” he said. “I really appreciate it — all my friends.”
He described the new library as a quiet spot where people can spend time reading the many books and looking at the photos and ships’ logs he gathered over the last 30-40 years.
He also mentioned the library’s collection of 500 small, British magazines called Sea Breezes filled with sailors’ stories. The new library has a series of them dating from the First World War through the 1940s.
“It was a place for former sailors who had retired to send in stories,” Byers said. “It makes a wonderful read for anyone interested in sea adventures.”
He added that the magazines are also filled with old nautical terms.
“They’re just a small booklet with great stories in them,” he said, “and those of you who know me, know I like stories.”