Old St. Andrews



Telephone Exchange / Manchester House



This lot was formerly the site of Edwin O'Dell's dry goods retail store called "Manchester House, one of many such import houses along the 19th century St. Andrews Waterfront. Among the products listed on its letterhead were flannels, blanketing, carpets, shawls, silks, damasks, gloves, parasols, and ready-made clothing of all description. The building itself was constructed in 1860 but the Odell / Turner dry goods business dated back to 1825 and passed through three generations of Turners and Odells. The third generation - Thomas Turner Odell and his brother Edwin Odell, did very well for themselvses. Both constructed semi-palatial residences along Montague street which still stand. Edwin Odell's house was built by Edward Maxwell and, although in a somewhat decayed condition today, is still rather grand to behold.
  • St. Andrews experienced a disastrous fire in 1930 when the Charlotte County Grammar School, dating to 1818, which was being used as a warehouse on the waterfront, the St. Andrews Coffeehouse, brought to St. Andrews from Castine Maine in 1784, and the Edwin Odell Dry Goods Store, formerly the Manchester House, dating to the middle of the 19th century, were destroyed.

    In 1939 the New Brunswick Telephone Company acquired the Odell property and built a modern exchange for a system that included 388 paid subscribers. The first telephone line in St. Andrews dates to 1893. In that year the St. Andrews Beacon reported that: "The Beacon was able to call up Sir William Van Horne, on his new telephone line on Saturday evening. The big railway man was entertaining some of his friends at the time, but graciously gave the newspaper man a few moments. This is the first telephone ever put up in St. Andrews. Mr. Van Horne, also has telegraphic connection between his summer residence and the railway station."

    The second telephone was installed by liveryman W. E. Mallory between his business at Water and Princess Royal Streets and the Algonquin hotel in 1901. In 1902 the provincial government strung telephone lines into St. Andrews. Reported the Beacon: "St. Andrews is now in telephonic connection with the outside world, or at least with that portion of it which enjoys the comforts of a telephone system. On Thursday last, chief lineman Hoyt established the instrument in Mr. Howard Rigby's dwelling, and in a minute or two afterwards the Beacon was able to converse with friends in St. John, their voices being distinctly heard. In St. George, the telephone instrument had been installed at Mr. Frawley's. At Mr. Stafford's residence, Lepreaux, an office will be established and another at Balcom's at Musquash. The telephone line will prove a great convenience."