When my family moved to Albert County 20 years ago, the Hopewell Rocks was a curiosity to me. Visiting was reserved for times when family “from away” would visit. I probably visited less than a dozen times in my first eight years.
To be the best that I could be, my thirst for Fundy knowledge was unquenchable. The park history had never been well documented so I realized that I would have to do it myself. Fortunately, the residents of Albert County are very generous in sharing their history and memories. My first few winters were spent sipping tea with locals as they retold stories of family picnics, Sunday school outings, or cooling off at the swimming hole on the Ayer family’s property. Generational photo albums were explored and images were scanned. I was finally getting a sense of how important “The Rocks” was (and continues to be) to our community. Every photograph played a small part in piecing together the puzzle of how the park evolved into the world class attraction it is today.
I sometimes fantasize about travelling back in time to the summer of 1928. Imagine the excitement in the crowd as R. B. Bennett (newly named Leader of the Opposition) gave a heartfelt speech on the park grounds to a gathering of over 5,000 listeners. They then took advantage of the newly built wooden stairs to explore the shoreline below. I always wonder how different the shoreline looked back then. In 1928, the Devil’s Cave was still accessible for those brave enough to enter and it would be another 88 years before Elephant Rock would finally stumble and fall.
Eventually, I wrote a book about the park. The first printing is on the verge of depletion and I now set my sites on a second edition. Although my quest for historical Rocks images has never dwindled, the spark has now been reignited. This is where you can help. If you have memories of trips to the park, I want to hear them. If you have old photographs or souvenirs from long ago, I would love to see them. If you know of someone who may have something, please reach out to them. Later on this year, I will be giving a presentation in conjunction with Albert County’s 175th Anniversary. How wonderful it would be to have “fresh” old photographs to share with the community.
Please search your attics, check your Grandmothers’ diaries and re-examine your photo albums. Then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to help share our rich history of a park that continues to benefit the community in untold ways.
Kevin Snair is a professional advertising photographer and Supervisor of Interpretive Services at the Hopewell Rocks. His book (Bay of Fundy's Hopewell Rocks) along with his photographs are available for purchase from many local shops from Moncton to Alma.