NOTES ABOUT TOWN - No. 1
After a severe and protracted winter, we are beginning, at last, to perceive some faint approaches of the Spring. The mountains of snow which obstructed the approaches to the city, are disappearing, and the darkening hue of the ice in the bay, although still maintaining an unbroken surface, indicates a speedy disruption. Along the wharves the activity observable among the shipping betokens the near approach of the opening of thenavigation. In short, there is an air of bustle and expectation everywhere discernible, as if the city had just awoke from a long sleep, and, as if ashamed of its long inertness, was hurriedly preparing for the business of the day, to make up for lost time.
Notwithstanding the through transit line of business is yearly increasing, which, of course, diminishes, in a certain proportion, the forwarding trade of Kingston, still the activity at present displayed in rebuilding and enlarging the wharves destroyed by the fires of the two last winters, shows that there exists very solid grounds for expecting a very large increase in the shipping trade of the port. The completion of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States will give a new impetus to the business of Kingston, and will effect, not only the shipping trade, but the merchantile and agricultural interests, in an equally favorable manner. Already there is an agent appointed by some American speculators, possessed of the requisite wharfage and storage for the receipt of American merchandise, and to serve as a place of deposit for Canadian produce ready for shipment. As this traffic increases - and we most naturally expect that it will increase as the improved advantages to be derived from it are developed - it will doubtless excite an enlarged spirit of enterprise on this side of the lines; and serve to open up the natural resources of the country, which, if made available, would not only add to the wealth of the Province, but much to its importance and respectability.
The wharf next to the barracks, commonly called Strange's Wharf, which was destroyed by fire in the early part of the summer of 1854, is now being rebuilt by Mr. Anglen (sic), who, since that casualty, has become the purchaser. The new wharf will be of the same dimensions as the former one. The store about to be erected will be a strong, substantial building, 28 x 50.
Mr. Fraser's wharf, adjoining Mr. Anglen's, has been rented to Messrs. Blood, Bond & Co., of Kingston Mills. These gentlemen intend opening a large trade in the importation, from Oswego, of the articles of Salt and Plaster, and the wharf and storehouse are intended as a place of deposit, or depot, for these articles, where the market can be supplied at all times, and with any quantity, however large, that may be required. It is also intended as a place of shipment, to the United States, for the lumber prepared at Kingston Mills, of which establishment Messrs. Blood, Bond & Co. are the proprietors. Mr. Fraser proposes to extend his wharf, next year, 120 feet further out, thereby rendering it fitted for the accommodation of at least six vessels. He also intends constructing a railway along the whole extent of the wharf, for the better and more speedy loading and unloading of cargoes. This will be a new and important improvement, and calculated, we should think, to secure for the wharf more than a usual share of business. By-the-bye, it is strange that this part of the harbor is not more generally used by shipmasters, than that further up; it is more sheltered, as well adapted for harborage, and as accessible as any other part of the port. It is probable that the improvements intended by Mr. Fraser may cause this part of the harbor to be better frequented.
Messrs. Walker and Berry's wharf has been extended, during the last year, 80 feet further out into the bay. The roof of the store has been raised six feet, which will give room for the additional storage of two hundred tons of grain. The great weight of the iron stored in the lower part of the building being too heavy for the usual supports of the floor, new cribs have been substituted, and the building is now secure and complete. The grain Elevator on this wharf has been found to work admirably, and to answer all the purposes for which it was intended. Although a little stiff, owing to its newness, it can raise one thousand bushels per hour, with the usual amount of steam, and, as it continues in use, will become more efficient as the stiffness wears away. Since our last notice of this establishment, a Nail Factory has been added to it, the only one, we believe, in the Province. It is propelled by the same machinery as is used for the Elevator, and is calculated to cut two thousand pounds of nails per day. Messrs. Walker and Berry own and charter five schooners and a propeller, with a number of barges, which are all employed exclusively in their own business, in the carriage of grain and iron, viz. schooners Waterwitch, Leander, Caroline Marsh, Jane Ann Marsh, Sarah and the propeller Oliver Cromwell. The latter vessel, with the barges, ply between Kingston and Quebec.
Capt. Putnam, (late of the steamer Ottawa), has taken the wharf and store built by Messrs. Brown & Harty. A large store and fire-proof warehouse, built on piles, and extensive wharf accommodations, offer security to property and conveniences for unloading second to none in the Province.
Mr. Scobell's wharf is now occupied by Hooker, Pridham & Co., and is one of the largest and most commodious wharves yet built in the harbor. It covers one acre and two perches of land and water, and measures 110 feet in front and 250 feet in length. The stores are unusually large and commodious, well fitted for Messrs. Hooker & Co's very extensive business. Seven steamers, one schooner and eleven barges are owned by this firm, all, of course, engaged in the forwarding business.
Mr. Hendry's wharf and newly erected buildings are well deserving of notice. The stores and dwelling-houses fronting on Ontario Street, are 66 feet in front by 40. The building forms two large stores and dwelling-houses, one of which is occupied by Mr. Hendry himself, the store being a wholesale grocery establishment. The other is not yet rented. The wharf is 60 feet in front, with a large store attached to it. The whole concern is highly creditable to the public spirit of Mr. Hendry as the builder and proprietor, as well as to the city in which they are situated.
April 20, 1855