Local historian celebrates revival of Sackville’s historic monument

Sackville Centennial Monument commemorates the town’s incorporation in 1903. The five stone blocks in the foreground — topped with black polished marble — name the town’s five founding peoples. The twin pillars in the distance bear bronze plaques containing historical information about the monument and what it commemorates.      — Photo by Charles Scobie

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.

View from above showing new path built by JN Lafford Realty. — Photo by Charles Scobie

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.

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3 Responses to Local historian celebrates revival of Sackville’s historic monument

  1. Sharon Hicks says:

    This is such a great reminder that we have many credible artists and designers right here in Sackville! We were very fortunate the town leaders in the early 2000s were quick to recognize the vast amount of talent we have in our own back yard, and made good use of it. Why have we strayed away from that ‘down-home’ perspective? Surely it’s time to get back on track and return to ‘shopping local’.

  2. Dodie Perkin says:

    I was the co-chair of the Tantramar Historic Sites Identification project when this monument was commissioned. The short squares were designed to be sat upon, and we took particular attention with the placement of the two posts, so that when a person was sitting on the shorter monuments, you would be able to look through the posts and see the fountain in the Swan Pond. Unfortunately, the University arborist decided to plant a tree directly in the line of sight, and even though we appealed to the University, the tree was not relocated.

  3. Meredith Fisher says:

    So nice to see this interesting stone monument about our Town’s Founding Groups, finally free and clear of construction debris and surprisingly, with only a few chips.

    Do we know if the Sackville Centennial Monument belongs to the Town of Sackville or to JN Lafford Realty? Prior to that land being sold to the developer, there was an arrangement made for the Monument to be on this land (then owned by the Sackville United Church) for 99 years. I am assuming that now the Laffords own the land which means the Sackville Rotary Club and JN Lafford Realty have put money into improving a project on their commercial land? I could be wrong?

    A small directional sign at the roadside( like the ones across the street in the Waterfowl Park) might always have brought more visitors to this place of local historical interest in the setting of what used to be our iconic green space and built heritage.

    Glad to hear the Scobies have a nice bird’s eye view from which to celebrate the renewal (?) of the Sackville Centennial Monument! But, in my view, it would be much nicer if birds were sitting there in the branches of a beautiful stand of birch trees! Sadly, that does not make money or bring in tax money. which always makes natural beauty far less valuable….in some eyes.

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