Green Hill Lookoff Pioneer Museum

Excerpt taken from:
Sherwood, Roland H. Pictou Parade. Sackville, N.B.: Tribune Press, 1945 p. 17.

GREENHILL LOOKOFF, in Pictou County, situated between the shiretown of Pictou and New Glasgow, is one of the most interesting spots in the country. Here on an imposing hill has been erected a tower with its top over seven hundred feet above sea level, where one gets an unobstructed view of the surrounding country for hundreds of miles.

In connection with the Lookoff, which attracts visitors from all Canada and the United States, is the Pioneer Museum, the idea for which was conceived by A. D. Ross and Clifford Rose, to preserve the fast disappearing relics of the pioneers of Pictou County.

Here in a fine stone building, erected in 1933, one finds an interesting and informative collection of articles that tells the story of those who pioneered the land.

Here we find books used by the first school teachers who taught from house to house before the free school act, prayer books in the native Micmac language and Bibles in Gaelic.

Here, too, are preserved the first newspapers printed in the county, as well as the first telegram ever sent over wires in Pictou County. There is a peace treaty with the Indians, signed by Micmac chiefs with their individual sign of beaver, eagle, tree and fish.

In the Museum, one finds the old stone fireplaces used over a century and a half ago, with all the early cooking utensils.

An especially interesting section of the museum is that devoted to the display of farming implements which were in use when the county was young. Such things as grain cradles, cheese presses, a horse saddle, harrows, a spinning jenny and flax breakers…all constructed of wood.

Another section of special interest to Scotchmen, shows the thread of connection between Old and New Scotland.

Here is a sword used at Culloden by Dr. Norman McLeod of Skye, a Highland chieftain’s horn used by the chiefs of the MacLennans of Bombee, as well as plaids and bonnets of the Stewart tartan. Old discharge papers of Kenneth Fraser, who brought them over on the ship “Hector” from his home in Sutherlandshire, Scotland, may be seen, and it is interesting to note that the Pioneer Museum stands on Kenneth Fraser’s original grant of land.

Other items of interest are a mell, or snuff box, with the cairngorm stone, the “Geough,” or loving cup for holding a gill of whiskey, and an arithmetic used in schools in Invergordon, Scotland.

Then there is the old Concord stage coach that was in service one the Old Post Road, and which was used for the trip of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, on his visit to Nova Scotia in 1860.

An old hand grist mill carries a note to tell that it was purchased through the generosity of the late Right Honorable Ramsey McDonald, Prime Minister of Great Britain, on his visit here July 31st, 1934.

The relics of Anne Swan, the Nova Scotia giantess, are here in the Pioneer Museum, such as her shoes which were size sixteen and a half, as well as the dresses and bonnets she wore. At seventeen years of age, Anne Swan weighed 329 pounds, and at maturity, when traveling with P. T. Barnum, she weighed 509 pounds.

A relic of the old days, and one of the very few left, is the figurehead of a woman, from one of the old sailing ships that was wrecked on Sable Island, and floated ashore in 1877.

One of the pioneer bedrooms has been preserved in its entirety, with canopy bed, bed warmer, bureau, wash stand, chamber set, old lady’s nightdress and cap, cradle, boots, candle sticks and chairs.

There are only a few of the hundreds of varied items in this unique and interesting building, which serves as a link between the present and the past of Pictou County.