21 January 2011

it could've been the "burbs"

By far, one of the most enticing aspects of my park research has been pouring over historical and contemporary MAPS!  (You might recognize the above map from my blog header).  Not only are maps a great point of comparison between the changes over centuries in the park's features and landscape, but examining a map's juicy graphic detail is like a little secret shared across time.  I came across a great archaeological report written after Hurricane Juan ravaged the park compiled by Dr. Frederick A. Schwarz for Black Spruce Heritage Services in 2005.  This report shared beautiful map details... 

Fenwick, 1803

Like this gorgeous close-up (above) from an 1803 map of the park.  The details shows the Prince of Whales tower - also know as the Martello Tower - and surrounding topography (arrangement of natural and artificial features in an area).  What I love about this map, rendered by a person only referenced in the report as "Fenwick", is the quality of drawing about it and the full range of tonal values.  It definitely is a stylized drawing, but a person can sense the physical depth of this area in Point Pleasant Park by simply looking at a 2D drawing.

The most SHOCKING part of this report was discovering a map of Point Pleasant Park divided into parcels of land.  It is also interesting to note that most of the parcel owners' last names are now common street names in Halifax and Dartmouth.  This rendering references plots of land from the 19th century: 

"It was anticipated that features relating to early military activities might be encountered, but the real surprise was the amount of evidence bearing on early civilian settlement. Point Pleasant Park includes some of the most exciting, unique and extensive remains of early British suburban settlement still surviving on the Halifax peninsula. Areas of inferred early settlement include the Green Field area, the woods south and west of the Lodge, and possibly the slopes behind North West Arm Battery."

The map above shows some of the larger areas mentioned in the report excerpt.  To give you a point of reference, the red star located the Gatekeeper's Lodge.  Maybe part of the reason I feel so awestruck walking through the park is due to the fact that it could have so easily become an expensive part of the burbs!

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