The Stanley Ford Property is now a collection of buildings that exemplifies outport Newfoundland life in the early 20th century, but it wasn't always so. The idea for the Stanley Ford Property emerged from economic development discussions for the town of Jackson's Arm.
On February 27, 2004, a council meeting was held between the town, the former Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, and the Humber Economic Development Board. Following an open discussion by all three groups, it was decided to arrange for a strategic planning workshop that would focus on economic development issues for the town of Jackson's Arm.
On March 26-27, 2004, the town council arranged a strategic economic development planning session in Jackson's Arm. The steering committee, comprised of the mayor and councillors, took the lead and invited key individuals from the community who could provide insight on economic development issues and potential initiatives from every corner of the community. A strategic economic planning committee was formed in 2004. One of the key sectors that emerged from the committee discussions was a focus on the town's heritage.
In the summer of 2006, the town of Jackson's Arm purchased the Stanley Ford Property, one of the oldest surviving properties in the community. The Stanley Ford home and outbuildings site is located at property numbers 087 to 093 on the water side of Main Street in the town of Jackson's Arm on the north-west side of White Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Its proximity to the water exemplifies this rural community's connection to the land and the sea.
Since the initial purchase of the Stanley Ford home and the establishment of the Jackson’s Arm Heritage Society, much work has been put into creating a local museum that captures the life in a Newfoundland outport community. In 2007 the restoration of the main house and five outbuildings began with the restoration of the roof and foundation of the main house. This was followed by the replacement of the wharf and restoration of the storehouse in 2008.
The following year the roof and foundations of the outbuildings were completed. Public washrooms with wheelchair accessibility and a front deck were added in 2010. Over two summers, a walkway and a community garden (complete with an authentic riddle fence) were constructed. All major repairs and renovations have been completed including the painting of all buildings and installation of signage.
The property was opened to the public in the summer of 2010. An afternoon tea was held and an artist visited, held an art exhibit, and painted on the wharf. This gave the community the opportunity to see the fruits of the labour that had been put into this historic property.
Since that time the Jackson’s Arm Heritage Society has changed its focus from construction and restoration to product development. The society has hired tour guides and community historians to work in the museum during the tourist season. A collections management program was partially completed in the fall of 2011 and programming for the property is in the development stage. As well, a project to develop traditional crafts, such as wool products and quilts, has been operating in conjunction with the Stanley Ford Property. As older workers are trained in traditional craft industries like wool spinning, dyeing, and quilting, the products they make are donated to the Stanley Ford Property as revenue generators for the museum. These new endeavours will become part of the fabric of the museum as we continue to grow and attract visitors to our region.
This collection of historic buildings has been an evolving tourism asset since its inception, and other phased developments are planned for its future. Prior to 2012, the Stanley Ford Property saw up to 200 visitors per summer, generated only by word of mouth. Since that time we have been working to build a better, more valuable attraction for our visitors...
Development plans are ongoing at the Stanley Ford Property and Outbuildings. We are hoping to grow into a tourist destination that will give visitors the area a taste of outport Newfoundland culture, such as fish and brewis, local artwork, and possibly a cafe. We will also soon be offering the ability to purchase our crafts and knitted products online.
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