Digital Museums Canada Investing in Our Upcoming Virtual Exhibit

Pictured: The Sir John Carling at Harbour Grace, September 1927.

On August 26, 1927, the Pride of Detroit landed at the Harbour Grace airstrip to a welcoming crowd. Local townspeople constructed the airstrip in a mere 20 days specficially for the plane’s landing, and over the coming decades, Harbour Grace would cement its legacy in aviation lore, hosting 20 transatlantic flight attempts.

The Conception Bay Museum is pleased to announce that Digital Museums Canada is investing in our new upcoming online project, Alone Among the Stars: Aviation in Harbour Grace, 1919-present. Funded under the Community Stories stream, this virtual exhibit will tell the story of Harbour Grace’s unique aviation legacy through archival records, oral histories, and artifacts.

To learn more about our approved project and others, visit: https://www.digitalmuseums.ca/news/approved-projects-submitted-as-part-of-the-2021-call-for-proposals/

The Digital Museums Canada investment program helps build digital capacity in Canadian museums and heritage organizations and gives Canadian unique access to diverse stories and experiences.

Digital Museums Canada is managed by the Canadian Museum of History, with financial support from the Government of Canada.

Photo of the Day: The Pride of Detroit, 1927

Pictured: Pride of Detroit at Harbour Grace, August 26, 1927.

Photo courtesy of a recent donation to the Conception Bay Museum archives.

During the summer of 1927, Stinson Aircraft Corporation and Waco Oil were sponsoring an around-the-world flight. However, they had a minor problem: Newfoundland, an ideal waypoint between eastern North America and Europe, had no official airstrip.

Fred Koehler, a Stinson Aircraft representative, was promptly sent to Newfoundland, where he met John L. Oke, of Harbour Grace, on a train out of St. John’s. Oke suggested he knew just the spot: near Crow Hill, Harbour Grace, land where the grade and length perfectly suited an airstrip.

The townspeople considered the airstrip a worthwhile endeavour, a way to put Harbour Grace on the map during this frenetic era of transatlantic aviation. At public meeting at the Town Hall on July 25, a twenty-one-person committee was formed, the Harbour Grace Airport Trust Company.

Work began in earnest on August 8, 1927. With money and equipment from private investors and the Newfoundland government, local labourers clearcut an area measuring 4,000 feet in length by 300 feet in width. The work took finished on August 26, just in time for the arrival of the Pride of Detroit and pilot William S. Brock and Edward Schlee, president of Waco Oil. The two were attempting to break the record for the fastest round-the-world trip, set by Edward Evans and Linton Wells in 1926. Colonial Secretary Sir John R. Bennett welcomed the crew to Newfoundland. On arriving in town, Brock and Schlee praised the new airstrip as one of the finest they’d seen.

The pair spent the night at the Cochrane House, a popular overnight establishment for aviators in Harbour Grace. In the early morning, at 7:43 a.m., the Pride of Detroit left Harbour Grace and headed for Croyden, England, the first call for their proposed round-the-world flight.

Read more about the Pride of Detroit on our ‘Aviation in Harbour Grace’ blog.

Calendar Fundraiser Update

The Conception Bay Museum, Harbour Grace, is excited to announce their first annual calendar for 2023, showcasing historical pictures of our town that will be ready for distribution this Come Home Year summer season. We are welcoming sponsorships from the business community. For a generous donation ($50.00 min.) your business name and logo will be featured in the calendar. Deadline for contact and inclusion is April 15, 2022.

Please contact one of the following:
Heather Pumphrey – 596-2352
Sonia Williams – 589-9887
Jane Lynch – 596-2058
Christina Cox – 596-1828
Brenda Hunt-Stevenson – 596-7549

Thank you for your consideration.

Note: If you’re a business who had contributed before Covid 19 shut this project down in 2020, we still have your contribution and will be including you.  Thank you.

Interview Request: Faery Tradition in Harbour Grace

“Faery circle,” Harbour Grace (Photo: Vicky Taylor-Hood)

We’ve had a request from a MUNL Folklore graduate student regarding the tradition of faeries in Harbour Grace.

As part of their thesis research, Magdalyn Knopp is looking to speak with any residents familiar with the tradition. Stories, experiences, beliefs, opinions – these sorts of things.

If you’re interested in participating, or know someone who might be, the research will comprise a short Zoom or phone interview (less than an hour).

Feel free to email Magdalyn at maknopp@mun.ca or call (709) 325-6121 for more information.

Photo Request: An Aviation Photo of Claude Stevenson!

May be an image of 1 person and standing
Pictured: Digital photograph of Claude Stevenson with his plane, date unknown

We need your help!

We’re looking for a physical photograph of local aviator Claude Stevenson for our Aviation Room revamp. An elevation in the room is set to feature the story of Harbour Grace’s local aviators, including Claude and Alexander and Lamont Parsons. Though we have high-quality pictures to scan for Alexander and Lamont, we have nothing for Claude!

Ideally, this photograph would feature Claude as an aviator – in his hangar, at the airstrip, flying his plane, etc. Digital photographs would work, too, though they need to be 1200dpi for us to produce them on the storyboard elevation. (For example, the picture below won’t work due to its poor quality.)

Photo credits will be given and we do not need any photographs permanently – they’ll be simply scanned and returned to the loanee. This process just takes a couple minutes!

If you have a photograph, or know where to get one, contact Matthew at matthewmccarthy@hotmail.ca.

Event: Haunted Harbour Grace

HAUNTED HARBOUR GRACE: A HISTORICAL JOURNEY

A frightful fundraiser for our museum! Walk through the haunted streets, hear horror-filled stories, and meet gruesome characters from the past…

Two dates available: Friday, October 22 (rain date: Saturday, October 23) and Monday, October 25 (rain date: Tuesday, October 26). 

Tickets $15.00 each. Limited number available. Purchase tickets at the Harbour Grace Town Council Office, Conception Bay Museum, and Butt’s Esso Carbonear. For inquiries, email conceptionbaymuseum@outlook.com.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Time: 7:00 p.m. start

Date: Friday, October 22 (rain date: Saturday, October 23) and Monday, October 25 (rain date: Tuesday, October 26).

Location: Conception Bay Museum, Harbour Grace, NL

Tickets: $15.00