Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pokiok's Hub : Snug Harbour ( Spar Cove) and McGuire's Corner

There was no downtown nor "main drag" in Pokiok in early days.  However, there was a hub or place where folks converged on an almost daily basis and that was the spot where Pokiok Road , Spar Cove Road and Bridge Street met. The above picture shows the "magnetic centre" of that hub .... Art McGuire's store and the bridge over the Crick. The first building on the left housed the McGuire family ... father John McGuire , wife Hazel and sons , Lou and Art. Their civic address was 1 Pokiok Road. Their nextdoor neighbour , Fred "Popeye" Crosby , was the first house on the north side of Spar Cove Road ...... Kiley's convenience store and residence stood just behind the Crosby home and out of sight ..... the Williams family lived in the house in the background to the left. On the opposite side at the corner of Spar Cove Road and Bridge Street stood Art McGuire's grocery store , the foodstuffs mecca of Pokiok as well as THE place to meet friends and hang out a while or simply the spot we passed by every weekday on our way to school , Sundays on our way to church or to catch a streetcar in nearby Indiantown if heading uptown.

My good friend , Art McGuire , was born in this area of Pokiok and knows it better than anyone living today. He loves the "old sod" and it shows ! .... and I am deeply indebted to him for sharing with me his great knowledge of "things" Pokiok as well as many of the photos used to  illustrate and embellish our posts. A few weeks ago Art sent me the following comments concerning the above picture ... with special attention to the Crick itself and the boats.   
  Hi Gerry , 
This is a picture that I long forgot. The rowboat in the extreme left is mine .... it was made for me when I was just 13 yrs old. Mom had it built for me .... the cost with the oars was 29 dollars. I believe the next boat was Roy Meade's ... the boat with the little cabin was Stan Curren's .... he took all his family every Sunday to the beach .... he really took a load. The boat with the wide gunnels was either Oscar Estey Jr's  or Eddie Gilbert's. Eddie coined the name Snug Harbour. He went on to become one of Saint John's finest, a policeman. The fishing net that you see hanging there would be a shad drift net. Nobody made any money on shad, but late in the shad season quite often we would get salmon in them. The salmon would break a shad net if hit straight on, but they would be caught by their teeth  and the end of their gills. If you look up to the bridge .... Bonny Marley would sail under with his ten horsepower Johnson ...  going at quite a clip ! I have a video of him doing just that. It is so hard to believe what once was ..... I must write the names of all the people who had boats in that time and place. It would be a dozen or more. Had a wonderful time in my boyhood down by the old Crick and the Snow Flake Lime and did not realize it then.   Take care.
The old Pokioker , Art.

Art McGuire's grocery store during the 1930s
Above are John and Hazel McGuire standing in front of their home at 1 Pokiok Road 
 Above ...... photo taken outside McGuire's store ... Bridge Street side ... in mid 1950s of Helen Estey and her uncle , John McGuire.

The most revered place in Pokiok ... the Deacon Seat ! Local elders were often found here discussing  matters of the utmost importance. I'll let Art have the final word ..... from the comment he made on this picture when he sent it to me last week. The Deacon Seat "sat" across the road from the Snowflake Lime Office ... snug up against the old garage ..... near the gas pump ! 
"Hi Gerry.
 This is a picture of the famous Decon Seat with  Dick Williams , John McGuire, and Doc Day. This is where all the world problems were solved, and I think the odd drop of the grape was consumed. I remember taking this picture .... seems like only yesterday ! I will get my thinking cap on and try to name all the people that sat in that hallowed spot................Regards......Art "


  1. Hi, Gerry, Enjoyed very much your latest on Snug Harbour,it is right on,the picture of Helen Estey and father would be in the very early fiftys,as he passed away in 1956,he was very sick for three years or more, Again it is hard to believe how the old crick was then, I made a list of some of the people who had moter boats,with the old one lounge engine,Per Dad Mr Gormley had a skiff boat,Alter Sherwood , Dick Williams,Percy Hornbrook had two,John Marley, Lou an Art Mcguire,Eddie Gilbert had one called The Diamond Jim, Stan Curran had one with a small cabin, Oscar Estey jr. had one, Eve Marr at different times had a speed boat ,a 25 footer ,with a car engine in it, and a sail boat,One day Eve took us all for a sail, his first trip out, we sailed to Bakers Mill, as none of us did not know how to handle a sailboat, we walked to West Saint John,and took the Street Car Home, In later years John Sherwood had a Skiff boat called the Sparrow, there were speed boats with 40 hp moters on the I had one Called Pretty Baby, and Bob Mcguire Had one called the Party Doll, and every one owned a row boat,I am sure i forgot a lot of paople and the boats that they had, We had a wonderfull time in those years,I still think of them fondly today, The Old Old Pokioker, Art.

  2. Hi Gerry.
    Just left your most recent post of "The Crick" on your Pokiok site. I remember all of this and can't believe how much things have changed down there. I particularly remember the smell of that area. Salt air and fish mostly. I spent many hours in my Dad's boat with shiny silver fish flopping around the bottom of the boat. Always made me giggle. And the seagulls would follow us up and down the river. I remember my dad's tireless hands pulling in the nets sometimes full of fishy treasure and sometimes nothing. Yet he loved that life with all that he was.
    It's been such a pleasure to find you and to see the things you post and read the things you write about. So much appreciated!!!
    Till we meet again - perhaps at the mall when my Aunt Claire is well enough for my dear uncle to leave for an hour or so.

    Irene (McGuire) Maillet

  3. Dear Irene ,
    Thank you for lighting up this page with your personal input and testimony to that life,family and those friends we all loved so much in the Pokiok of our youth.The way you describe your memories of those fishing excursions with your Dad .... maybe up to Blue Rock .... the fish flopping around in the bottom of the boat , etc is what I have been hoping to see more and more in the comments folks make in here.Not only does it liven up the pages of this site ... but it brings the element of authenticity and credibility to what I've been writing about .... so I thank you for sharing so generously with all the readers your own precious moments spent with Lou as he went about his labour of love ... salmon fishing ... and yes , Irene , I am sure that we'll soon be able to lure your dear Uncle Art to some coffee spot once Claire gets a wee bit more mobile and steady on her legs.