Monday, October 4, 2010

Views From Atop Pokiok

A fellow once asked me what the view was like from atop Pokiok ...... to which I replied " Splendid , far-reaching " ..... adding that it all depends on how high you climb and from which vantage point you look out. From my father's lookout behind our house high on the cliff I have the above visual delight well engraved in my memory ......... South Bay in the backdrop , Mosquito Cove in the foreground with the rotting remnants of the old Kingsville wharf on the left where 100 years ago there stood a thriving sawmill owned by S.T King & Sons , then Randolph and a section of the presqu'isle (almost an island) of Greenhead on the right. From this same belvedere I could also look straight across to Milford and the Byng Boys Club , Fairville and the pulp mill, the Falls' Bridge , the North End and Indiantown ...... even a glimpse of the far off Bay of Fundy. During the war I remember going to the lookout with my Dad after we had heard the sharp , high-pitched  "whoops" (much like the sounds of a modern remote cardoor-locker) of a corvette and watched it as it docked in Indiantown for repairs. Great memories ! 

At some moment in the very near future ......  my legs and lungs willing ... I hope to climb to my two favourite lookouts in Pokiok where Tommy MacDonald and I so often fantasized in our youth ... firstly ,the highest point up the Narrows Road above the hydro tower and old LM( Little Millionaires) Club which burned to the ground back in the late 1970s and secondly , the high ground above the Pokiok Quarry at Miller's/ Robertson's Point. At both sites the view is stunning ...... from the first spot one has a great 360 panoramic visual survey of much of Saint John County ....... the city , Milford , Randolph , South Bay and beyond , Greenhead and Grand Bay with our beloved beacon , Boar's Head ...... across the Burnt Hills and Blueberry Hills towards Millidgeville and the hills of the Kingston Peninsula. The view from the second location , the summit atop the Pokiok Quarry , encompasses much of what you see in the above picture ...... plus a rare downriver look back at Pleasant Point (Milford) , Indiantown and the North End .... while looking northward upriver one can follow the Narrows of the Saint John River beyond Swift Point ...... getting a good glimpse of Grand Bay's sparkling waters in the distance  and the ever-vigilant Boar's Head guarding the entrance to the Narrows.

 In closing I would like to invite you to take a drive down to water's edge in Indiantown ...... going all the way over as close to the mouth of Spar Cove "Crick" as possible. Then in your mind's eye try to imagine what the scenario upriver towards Greenhead and Miller's Point might have looked like 100 years ago ........  Miller's Mill below the Pokiok Quarry on the right , Randolph and Baker's Mill and lime kilns at the far end in Greenhead where the river turns and the Kingsville Mill on the left near Randolph  along with the hustle bustle of  busy river traffic..... sloops , barques , scows , tugs 'n booms, and steamboats as well as fishermen tending their set-nets along the cliffs or rowing in half circles with a drift-net ...... a far cry from today's bare shorelines and sporadic pleasure craft. 

P.S. 1) Note the height of the smokestacks or chimneys beside the mills. In May , 1901 three workers were repairing the inner lining of the chimney at the Jewett Mill in Millidgeville about 100 feet up when the whole structure gave way ....... came crashing to the ground ....... killing all three men and injuring many more. The Daily Telegraph of May 18th , 1901 headlines , "Their Life Crushed Out In The Fall Of Chimney" and calls the tragedy "the most appalling local disaster in years". 11 years earlier the Old Sutton Mill in South Bay had been the scene of another calamity when the main boiler exploded killing six workers.  
2) I forgot to mention that had you been standing there on the Indiantown side of Spar Cove "Crick" 100 years ago .... then just across the "Crick" in Pokiok ..... on the now deserted Snow Flake Lime site ... would have stood the big Stetson Cutler Mill which shut down in the early 1920s.


  1. Where did you get these pictures from? Wonder if there are anymore of the milford/randolph area?

  2. Hi Harrison,
    Thank you for your visit and comment. Blizzard... now there is an old Pokiok family name from my youth... even Noble and Gertrude Blizzard who lived on Bellevue Avenue back at the turn of the last century (1900)... as for the pictures I scrounged quite a few from friends and the museum on Douglas Avenue ... even took quite a few myself since I was born up there near the top. Please come back again.