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A Brief History of the Mahone Bay Islands...

Personal Stories...

The Coastal Trade as told by Max Zwicker

Max Zwicker
Max Zwicker (1917-2010) was born in Indian Point and lived his whole life on the Zwicker family homestead.

Indian Point Store- 1960s
Indian Point Store

Max tells about the M&L Coaster and coastal trade from Indian Point to Halifax:

"Captain Charlie Ernst was the skipper. And, I told you about the Larry Eisnor home there, he works back in the mussel farm. This would have been his great uncle, Willie Eisnor. He was engineer. And a man from Mahone Bay by the name of Charles Ernst, he was cook and deck hand. When we used to load the fish, we loaded them in at the old government wharf. It's in the same place there . . .

Well, they'd go to Halifax. They would take loads of whatever anyone had to go in - like sauerkraut, like in the fall of the year, anything like that, cabbage. They even had a man back in the cove that made brooms, brush brooms out of twigs, Indian twigs. And they took them in there and sold them, down to the waterfront. And then they'd bring back, they'd bring back all kinds of feeds and stuff for the cattle 'cause there was a lot of cattle in the area. Oh yeah."

Grand Banks Schooner Grand Banks Schooner at the Indian Point wharf in the 1920s.

Max talks about the dynamite wharf:

"When she used to come in there, they had a siding back by the railway where the dynamite used to come to there. Well, for starters it used to be in where Mersey or Bowater had something...The dynamite used to always be plopped there or the offside tracks. But it used to come back there. Then they had a warehouse where they used to store a lot of it in. Most generally when they loaded the vessels, the dynamite cask was put in one end and then away from the explosive stuff at the other end.

They had different meetings back in our hall. I went to one meeting just to see what it was all about. Had one of those boats exploded in the bay comin' out - in a twelve mile radius - everything would have been messed. Yeah, that's how bad it was. Yeah, but It went on for quite a few years. They went down clean to the West Indies with dynamite and stuff like that. Willoughby was one of the big head men from down there was involved with that."

from: Zwicker M. Indian Point Remembered (2004) (DVD #1)
Chart 4381 Excerpt of Chart 4381, printed in 1945 Mahone Bay Arrow indicates the location of the future Dynamite Wharf.

Please note: Local residents interviewed have mentioned the wharf was located here because of the railway was close, and Mahone Bay is a sheltered area.

Many Oakland and Indian Point residents were concerned about the wharf's location. This topic is one for possible future investigation.

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Updated September 28, 2022
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