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Risteen Building Tear Down

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Thatsapaddlin, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Thatsapaddlin

    Thatsapaddlin Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Sort of a bummer, but city council in Fredericton voted to tear down the former J.C. Risteen Sash and Door Factory building - est. ~1820. I believe -- and perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong -- that the first Chestnut Canoes were built in this building. When the business started to prosper, circa ~1904, a permanent facility was built -- first a shack, then a factory (which burnt), then the brick factory on York St.

    Bummer! It is a neat building!

    Prov Archive: https://search.canbarchives.ca/chestnut-canoe-company

    Story: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/fredericton-heritage-risteen-1.5277148
     
  2. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Shame. Welcome to Canada, where we deny our history and apologize for it. It is however in private ownership, so down it goes. Depends on what you consider first, the boatbuilder who copied the Morris for the Chestnuts technically built the first, if that helps ease the sting.
     
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The 1913 Chestnut catalog credited a different building for their first "factory" as Andre mentioned and shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/chestnut/1st-shop.jpg along with http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/chestnut/factory.gif from 1912. There aren't many old canoe companies' factory buildings left standing. The Old Town factory has been lost as the images at https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/11711/ document. The Kennebec factory remains as shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/kennebec/k-today.jpg but is not much like the original version shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/kennebec/factory.jpg from 1911. The front office from the Morris Canoe company stands as shown at https://goo.gl/maps/g76vUzzugwo6zJ5U8 but the rest of the factory buildings shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/morris/factory.gif burned in December of 1919. The Robertson Canoe company in Auburndale, Massachusetts shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/robertsn/factory.gif still exists and used to be visible from the turnpike but the trees have grown up enough to hide it now. The Penn Yan factory shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/penn-yan/factory.gif has been torn down and replaced by a Hampton Inn. The main building of the St. Louis Boat & Canoe Co. was torn down as the pictures at https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/2790/ document. Old industrial buildings don't seem to last long.

    Benson
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  4. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Shame is right.
    I happened to be in Fredericton when this debate first hit the news and I was astounded.
    After a conference in January I had gone on my own "walk about" of the Chestnut sites- the first factory at 2 Queen Street ( gone but location just about where the Small Craft Aquatic Centre is.)

    The old Risteen building on the corner of Queen and Smythe was very prominent but the old hardware and factory at 220 King Street replaced by a condo building. The York Street factory of course is still there, with a sign announcing Chestnut but there is no historic plaque or other such adornment. It was the new annex next door that bore the Chestnut script... approx 2 Queen Street.jpg Chestnut Script.jpg 470 York Street.jpg

    When i mentioned that I was paying homage to Chestnut to a couple of the curious people on the street who stopped to talk I was greeted with blank stares. That hadn't a clue what Chestnut was 40 years ago...

    Sad day.

    Bruce
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Thatsapaddlin

    Thatsapaddlin Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi guys,

    I live in Fredericton, and you're right it's a bummer. Many New Brunswickers are unaware of Chestnut Canoes and don't know that they were built right here Fredericton.

    My understanding was canoes were built in the Risteen Factory before the shack was built. I'm guessing that they built a few, sold them, then decided that the enterprise was going to be a success and setup the shack pictured above. I could be wrong. But the literature seems to suggest that canoes were built in the building for a short period of time. Chestnut did not own this factory, so it makes sense that they would omit it from their own history.

    Just to sort of add to your list, the factory in Oromocto -- where Chestnut moved to in 1974 -- is a Sobeys now.
     
  6. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    I wish I had known you were a local last January, Thatsa. I couldn't find anyone local who had a clue what I was interested in or seemed to care. ( I didn't have time to check out the Museum downtown which might have righted things).

    I knew about the Oromocto factory repurposed as a Sobey's. That chapter of Chestnut history has always seemed a little " strained", for lack of better words, and I only think of "real" Chestnuts coming from Fredericton...

    Bruce
     
  7. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    If it is any consolation, the new Old Town Canoe factory shown at https://goo.gl/maps/ZKME5Xu2PGE67QMm9 isn't very interesting either. This will probably get torn down or repurposed some day as well.

    Benson
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Thatsapaddlin

    Thatsapaddlin Curious about Wooden Canoes

  9. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    I saw in Bensons reply above that the Robertson canoe factory building is still standing. Would anyone know where exactly it is? I recently got a Robertson (#3319 16) to add to my quickly growing fleet and it would be pretty cool to see where it was made. Thanks
     
  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The street address is 132 Charles St, Auburndale, Massachusetts 02466 and the link at https://goo.gl/maps/zJ7WsSCNWqrkEW2h8 shows it in Google maps. It used to have Newtron written on it.

    Benson
     
  11. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    Thanks for the great info. I think it's time for a roadtrip!
     
  12. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Yes, you can/could see the Robertson building from the elevated MassPike, with the "NEWTRON" name in big letters. I took a trip over to see the building one time many years ago and it is at the end of Charles Street after going under the MassPike. At the time, it looked like it was being used for storage or something. I am not sure of the current use/condition.

    Cheers,

    Fitz
     

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