The 20th Century
The History of Lawrencetown Beach
Dykes were built in the Lawrencetown salt marshes to reclaim farmland. The dyked land had to sit unused for two years before it could be farmed. This allowed the snow and the rain to wash the salt out of the soil. The fertile mud dried into excellent farming soil. The water in the marshland behind the dyke drained through the earth wall at an opening called an aboiteaux. The seawater could not get in, but the fresh water that accumulated during the day could flow out at low tide. The West Lawrencetown dyke, was located on Conrad Road at the bottom of the big hill as you turn right toward the beach. You can still see the remaining rocks from the dyke wall. The entire marshland in front of Atlantic View School was once dyked, drained, and farmed.
Rum Running was a way of life in the Lawrencetown area. Large kegs of black rum were unloaded from the mother ships off of the beach area. Sometimes they were buried in the sand until night. The rum runners would dig them up to take them away. Moonshine distilleries were also common in the Lawrencetown area.
In 1917, the East Lawrencetown dyke, was dynamited by some local residents. This dyke was located where the two-lane bridge is now located by Stoney Beach. This action was taken because of a dispute over the shares of salmon and trout caught in the area. Salmon and trout came up the Lawrencetown River, and into Lawrencetown Lake to spawn.
On June 19th 1918, the Siberian Prince ran aground after hitting Egg Island. It ran aground on off of Fox Point-Conrad Beach. It was carrying a load of mules bound for Halifax. The mules were allowed to swim ashore behind boats. Then they were boarded on trains and taken to Halifax. At least 8 other vessels ended their final journey off the coast of Lawrencetown Beach. Some of the wreckage an still be seen by scuba divers, off of Fox Point.
In the spring of 1960, the MacDonald Hotel burned to the ground. It was located in the field across from the MacDonald House. It was set ablaze by Mrs. May MacDonald - who owned and operated the hotel - who allowed a grass fire to get out of control. Irving and Beatrice MacDonald operated a sand and gravel company in Lawrencetown for over 50 years. Much of the sand was taken to Shannon Park and Wallace Heights to construct the military housing and buildings there.
In 1976, the N.S. Government established the Beach Protection Act to protect the beach and the wetlands for generations to come. They built the beach house and the boardwalks to protect the dunes and the make the beach more accessible.