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As you look toward the river, to your left is a kiosk and pedestrian foot bridge that crosses Solomon Chute Brook. Historic Cyprus Walk starts at the kiosk. As you cross the foot bridge, look down towards the river. Can you see any signs of the merchant schooners that tied up there a hundred years and more ago?
Follow the walkway to Albert Street at Court Street. The foundry was just to your left. The courthouse that gave its name to Court Street was between the foundry and the street. They both burned down in a fire started in the foundry in 1884. Notice the old home on the corner of Albert and Court Street. This is a classic example of the common home in the earliest days of the Town, with a steeply pitched roof and no decoration. While not precisely dated, the house seems to date from about 1826. Behind this house is the "new" courthouse, now an apartment building. There have been no court sittings in Bridgetown for over half a century. Across Albert Street, on the right, is another of the older homes in Bridgetown. This house still occupies most of two original ninety by ninety town lots, the only home in Bridgetown still to do so. It was constructed by Reverend William Elder between 1826 and 1828. He was a Baptist Minister, but kept food on the table by iron work, including axes and horseshoes. There was a ladies' Seminary in the house in the 1830's. It is said to have always been painted yellow (except for a short time as a brown house).
Continue to follow the blue line along Court Street. On your right, No. 17 , you’ll see a house that was built about 1880 by the owner of the foundry.
17 Court Street
The house on the corner of Water Street and Court Street on your right, No. 21, was built between 1822 and 1832 by Nathan Randall, a trader. It is another of the oldest houses in the town, although it has been extensively added to. It was ideally situated for overseeing the landing of cargoes at the wharves across the street. Later this was the home of Joseph Foster, an important merchant in the town in the first half of this century.
You are now on Water Street, the heart of early Bridgetown. Across the street ships tied up at the wharves to offload cargoes from around the world, and to load local products in return. The old warehouse to the far right (beyond the apartment building) was probably built by Anley Foster sometime after 1866. After 1884 it was owned by the Longmire family, which ran a freight service between Bridgetown and Saint John New Brunswick between 1884 and 1939. Two ships named " Valinda" were among the vessels used. Older residents can well remember the second Valinda steaming up the river and docking at Longmire's wharves.
Directly in front of you, No. 22, is another original, dating from 1822-32. Once coal was unloaded at the wharf to the rear of the house. It was built by another of the town's merchants, James Clark.
Continue along your way and see No. 19 Water Street, a house built by James Peters shortly after 1825. It was originally a public house and a rooming house for sailors, another reminder of the town's maritime past.
Continuing along Water Street towards today's business section, it is hard to imagine the hectic bustle that surrounded these homes from the earliest days of the town, and for more than a hundred years after. On your right, at No. 18, is another of the original homes. This one was built in 1822 by John Quirk, a shipwright, innkeeper and merchant. It is widely considered the oldest home in this part of Bridgetown, and one of the oldest of all. Originally, it too had its wharves and storage sheds.
18 Water Street
The house next door, No. 16, is much younger, with elements of Greek revival and Second Empire influence demonstrating the prosperity achieved by the merchants of the later nineteenth century. This house was built by John Marshall in 1891.
On your left, No. 17, you see the Kervin house, built in 1845. Next to it, on the corner of Middle Street, is a house built by another merchant, Joseph Wheelock, in 1831. This house was a double house for many years, having been originally constructed that way to provide housing for Mr. Wheelock's partner, W. Y. Foster.
Across the street, No. 14, was constructed in 1829. It was built by Joseph Wheelock, the first of many houses he built in the town. Note how close this and the other houses are to the street. The back yards fronted on the river, and they had to leave room for wharves and warehouses.
Continue across Middle Street to Queen Street, now cross. This is the main street of the town, so watch carefully. The building before you is a former garage, built in the classic early style by Super-Service Stations shortly after 1929. It has been converted to office space.
Look right. The last house before the bridge (across the street) was built in 1887. It was owned or occupied by a series of photographers (the studio was upstairs) until 1969. These included Joseph Rice (who built it), Miss Edith Crosskill and Miss Georgina Cunningham. Residents of Bridgetown have always adapted existing buildings to other purposes. The grocery store started as a car dealership and became a bottling plant before being converted to groceries.
The Masonic Hall by the river, to your left, was originally the Presbyterian Church, built in 1879. It is built from bricks from the brickyard just outside of Bridgetown. Presbyterians joined the Methodists in Bridgetown several years before these two denominations became the United Church of Canada. This former church in a unique setting is a provincially-registered heritage property.