Local historian Charles Scobie is celebrating the renewal of one of the town’s most historic sites: the Sackville Centennial Monument at 120 Main Street in front of the new Lafford apartment building where he lives and next to the Mount Allison University Swan Pond.
In a news release, Scobie says new paths built this summer by the Sackville Rotary Club and JN Lafford Realty have made the monument more accessible so that visitors can learn about the town’s five founding peoples, the Mi’kmaq, Acadians, New England planters, Yorkshire settlers and American loyalists.
“It is a reminder that the town has a very long and distinguished history and I’m not sure that there’s anything else in town at the moment that would remind people or inform people of that,” he said today during a telephone interview.
Scobie notes that when the Laffords began construction of their 35-unit apartment building on the former United Church property in 2018, they cut down a grove of birch trees making the nearby Centennial Monument more visible and now, the new paths added this summer, give visitors easier access to it.
He reports that he’s been witnessing a revival of interest in the monument from his apartment balcony.
“We’re just delighted to see so many people going in to have a look at it and we’ve seen families with kids running around and climbing up on top of the monument, which is fine, it’s very sturdy and it won’t do it any harm at all,” he says with a chuckle.
Scobie notes that the Sackville Centennial Monument was commissioned to mark the town’s incorporation in 1903, but the Tantramar Historic Sites Committee decided to include plaques on two stone pillars with historical information stretching all the way back to the Mi’kmaq who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Acadians in the early 1700s.
Other plaques commemorate the New England planters who replaced the Acadians after their expulsion in 1755; the English settlers from Yorkshire who arrived in the 1770s and loyalists from the United States who fled the American Revolution in the 1780s.
“That’s my main delight that so many people are noticing it. I wouldn’t say they all stand at the pillars and read all the plaques,” Scobie adds, “but they do come and walk between the pillars and walk up and look at the monument.”
For additional information about the Sackville Centennial Monument, click here.