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Day 21 … Storied homes

3sm“And here’s where the slop from the operating room went,” says Rosemary, as she lifts up the lid from a counter in a small pantry which now used for storage. I have visions of guts and gore plopping into slop buckets below.

I’m visiting Rosemary Guyette and Dick Pothier at their home on Sycamore Street. This home once housed an 8-bed ‘cottage hospital’, the first hospital in Yarmouth.


1smFrom extensive notes that Dick has, I learned that this home was built around 1843. It is vernacular in style, pre-Victorian, and not particularly ornate.

However, it has Scottish dormers on the front, an unusual feature of this style and time period.

Fast forward to 1907 when Mayor Samuel Hood calls a meeting with the doctors of the town to consider the possibility of establishing a hospital. A group of women form the “Yarmouth Hospital Society” and start to raise money for a hospital. Jacob Bailey steps up to the plate and offers this home. After several renos (lights in every room, hot water, a sky-light for the operating room in the attic etc.), the hospital officially opens in the spring of 1912.

5smAs they couldn’t afford to hire more than two nurses, superintendent Mary Ann Watson advertises for students who would be willing to get room and board in exchange for labour while they received a two-year nursing education. This was the pre-cursor of the School of Nursing—still operating here under the auspices of Dalhousie University.

Aside from being treated to a house & garden tour, iced tea, fresh strawberries and some mouth watering Fudge Squares—which don’t have a bit of chocolate/fudge in them, and look rather boring, but oh! Qu’elle surprise—I especially appreciated seeing the love this couple has for their old home. It’s palpable, and preserving these old bones has always been important to them.

8smI also learned odd bits of information such as: Mayor Willard Allan once lived here for several years. He was very fond of dogs and always had a “Pupah.”

The mayor built a cement wall on the north side of the garden to keep his Pupah of the day in his yard, and this wall is built on a slant with large, long protruding stones encased in the top, presumably to thwart his dog from jumping over.



Every Pupah is buried in the back yard, with headstones of foot-stones which are still there.

We then sashayed into a historic tour with Susie Sweeney … to be continued shortly. Need a cuppa.



But remember the Fudge Brownies I mentioned that don’t have any chocolate/fudge in them? Here’s Rosemary’s family recipe.

Fudge Squares



Heat & stir together in a medium sauce pan (until butter is melted): 2 cups brown sugar2/3 c of butter or margarine. Cool for 5-10 min. Lightly beat two eggs and stir in 2 tsp vanilla. Add to sauce pan. Mix dry ingredients–2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt–stir into sauce pan.  Spread mixture in a greased 9 x 11 pan. Bake in oven at 350 for 15-20 min. Watch closely. Ready when toothpick comes out clean.







  1. July 30, 2015    

    “Pupah!” Oh my that is too cute. I love your sprinkling of history and voice. I can hear you and it’s like you’re sitting right beside me. Oh how I wish! ox Mae Belle.

    • July 30, 2015    

      Ahhh Mae Belle. You’ll be back in Yarmouth before the snow flies I hope and I’ll take you to some of these places.

      PS The weird thing is that we always called daughter Margo “Pupah” when she was little. Ha!

  2. Joyce Glasner Joyce Glasner
    July 30, 2015    

    Your description of the cottage hospital totally transported me back to that place and time, Sandra! Fascinating and so beautifully written! Keep it coming; I’m totally addicted 🙂

    • July 31, 2015    

      Ahhh Joyce, you are good for my ego. haha. I keep thinking no one is going to read these ramblings but I do love to babble. Thanks for hanging in!

  3. Karen Congdon Karen Congdon
    July 31, 2015    

    I love reading of your travels – the places you go to and the things you see. Thanks for keeping people informed of things to see and do in our own province.

    • July 31, 2015    

      Thanks so much for popping into view Karen! I must say that this project has taught me a lot. Exhausting, but so satisfying!

  4. Rosemary Rosemary
    August 2, 2015    

    What a fun way to start my lazy, sunny Sunday morning in NFLD :-). The Margo/Pupah connection is too cool. You’ve captured the moments- even down to my favourite squares – When I bring them somewhere they are always last to be picked and then surprise! My family usually doesn’t let them out of the house though. Our day together was much anticipated by yours truly and the memories are just as treasured- Thank you!

    • August 6, 2015    

      Missed you comment Rosemary as we had left for Tangier … but will be making those squares this weekend! As you say, treasured memories. Thanks again!

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