Saturday 14 February 2015

Location, location, location

When you think about objects included in a museum collection, you probably wouldn't think about a book of real estate listings. Well, let us introduce you to a sweet little number that will change your mind!

A wonderful pamphlet in the museum archives is the “Burley’s Farm Catalogue, No. 8, Remarkable Farm Values, New Brunswick & Nova Scotia, 1919.”
This pamphlet was a real estate tool of the early 1900s, offering descriptions of farms available for sale, often with accompanying pictures. The details with each listing provide a great historical view of the types of farms in Kings County at the time, and the broad range of produce, crops and livestock produced by these farms. The listings deliver another, unexpected history as well; that of the changing fortunes of family farms at this difficult period right after the First World War.

Many listings detail once prosperous farms that still had much to offer, but needed “a farmer with some grown up sons” to manage the acreage. One listing for a Hampton farm offered “Fifty-five acres cultivated, 15 in intervale, 25 in pasture, balance in woodland containing 100,000 feet of timber, 150 cords of pulpwood and 300 cords of cordwood….. Present hay crop 25 tons, which can easily be doubled at least….. Comfortable 7 roomed house, stone foundation and frost proof cellar. (Three) barns, woodshed, hog house and sheep house…. All in fair repair.”

The asking price for this 300 acre property? Just $2,650.
It’s a stellar deal that seems too good to be true until one reads the next line of the listing: “The widowed owner, having no one to work the farm for her, feels obliged to sell and has named a very low price in order to insure a sale.” 

In all, sixteen Kings County farms are listed for sale in this single edition from 1919, including the listing below for a property in Belleisle Creek.

Though the Burley Farm Catalogue may seem an unusual selection for our archives, it provides an incredible snapshot of farms and farming conditions in the years after the Great War.

As it turns out, a museum is the perfect location, location, location to house a real estate guide.

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