Old St. Andrews



The St. Andrews Land Company



It would difficult to underestimate the importance of the St. Andrews Land Company in the history of St. Andrews as a watering place, and of two principal players in it--Robert Gardiner and Franklin Cram. In 1888 excitement in the Town was raised to a fever pitch when it was revealed that American businessmen, led by Frank Cram, General Manager of the New Brunswick Railway and assisted by Sir Leonard Tilley, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, were negotiating to buy up huge tracts of land in and around the Town for the purposes of creating a land boom based on tourism. The original idea was Cram's. As the railway had been ailing, it was thought that increased traffic over the line would help pay for much need upgrades. Cram enlisted as his lieutenant summer resident Robert Gardiner of Boston. Mr. Gardiner was connected with the Rand Avery Supply Company, which printed railway tickets and schedules. He brought with him other men also associated with the transporation business in New England, and the whole idea was to entice tourists tired of the crowded resorts in Maine a bit farther north into Canada. Success depended on providing decent no-change train service from Boston, Portland and Montreal (this last over the soon-to-be-completed Short Line from Montreal to McAdam). As a result, the Algonquin Hotel was constructed, a golf course was laid out, and when the Land Company was bought out by the CPR in 1903, town-wide renovations were made to the Land Company Holdings which included running water from Chamcook Lake, electricity and a bathing beach at Katy's Cove--for the Hotel guests anyway. (The Town had to wait until 1921 for the first two amenities, and until 1970 for the third.) When the CPR came onstream, the Town became a hangout for well-connected Montreal businessmen and their families. Tourism had been on the increase in St. Andrews since 1869, with the completion of the railway to Woodstock, and jumped significantly in 1881, when spillover traffic from Bar Harbour and Old Orchard beach caused two hotels--the Agyll and Kennedys--to be erected in St. Andrews and three more on Campbello. But the Land Company may fairly be said to have gone one better, and finally put St. Andrews on the map as a tourist destination of note in eastern Canada. It might also be noted that Cram invited Sir William Van Horne here for his first visit; and that Covenhoven was the result. He also invited Robert Armstrong of the Saint John Globe to set up a newspaper here to promote tourism, and the St. Andrews Beacon, the liveliest newspaper the Town has ever had, was the result there.