Sir William Van Horne Talks to the Beacon
The Canada Pacific
General Manager Van Horne Talks to the Beacon
SJ to be the Eastern Terminus, St. Andrews may become a Coal Depot
The people of St. Andrews have been looking forward for some time to a visit from General manager Van Horne, and they have got it. The big railway manager came down from St. Stephen in a carriage, on Wednesday afternoon, bringing with him assistant manager Shaughnessy, General Superintendent Timmerman, Mr. white, M. P. for Pembroke, Ontario, and Messrs. McLean and Cross, of the Shore Line Railway. Superintendent McPeake, of the latter line, came here the same evening.
the party drove at once to the Algonquin, and after feasting their eyes on the picturesque beauties of the neighborhood as seen from the hotel tower, adjourned to the dining hall, where a grand spread was given them. After they had done ample justice to the toothsome viands and had arisen satisfied with themselves and with everything about them, the Beacon thought it a favorable opportunity for “striking” Manager Van Horne for an interview. He graciously assented, though the significant remark “I don’t know anything,” which accompanied the assent, rather dampened the interviewer’s ardour.
“After parrying for an opening,” as the fighting editor would say, the interviewer made bold to ask the CPR manager what his special interest was in going over the Shore Line, or if he had any special object. “There is not special object in it,” replied Mr. Van Horne. “the fact is just this. Mr. Cross, who is a director of the Shore Line, is also interested in the Canada Pacific, and when he learned that we were going to St. Stephen he invited us to take the trip over his road. That’s all there’s to it.”
“And the CPR has no present intention of acquiring the Shore Line?”
“Is there anything in the rumor that the CPR contemplates running a line of road from Mattawamkeag to tap the shore Line?”
“No. We have a lease of running privileges for fifty years from the Maine Central for that portion of road between Mattawamkeag and Vanceboro, and that we deem sufficient for present requirements.”
“How do you like SA?”
“I am very much pleased, though I must confess I formed rather an unfavorable opinion of it when I was last here, a few weeks ago. The day was wet and gloomy, I was in a hurry, and I got rather a gloomy idea of the place. But after today I will take back all that I said against it. It is a beautiful place, and should become a popular resort.”
“Knowing how deeply interested the people of St. Andrews are in the matter I would ask you if the CPR has any intention of utilizing our water privileges either for the purpose of bringing in coal or for other purposes?”
“We will have a coal dock in Saint John and we have been considering the advisability of splitting the business up and bringing a portion of it here. But I can’t tell you anything about it yet. Mr. Timmerman is pushing enquiries now, and after he has completed them, we can tell better. However, I understand your wharf privileges are not very good. We will bring our coal from Cape Breton by steamer. They will need no return cargoes, as they will simply fill up with water ballast and start off again.”
“Will Saint John get much freight business from the road?”
“That depends largely on the facilities they provide. I am afraid, however, that the long land haul will operate seriously against Saint John. Land carriage you know, is much more costly than water carriage, and this business is one that cannot carry a very heavy tax.”
“You should bear in mind that the land haul by way of St. Andrews is much shorter than by way of Saint John ,” interjected the interviewer.
“The difference is not a great deal in a long haul, and would not affect the cost very much. Beside, Saint John possesses advantages that St. Andrews does not have. that port is already made, and it is well known to the commercial world, while St. Andrews is not. You should also bear in mind that Boston and Portland give a much shorter land haul than either St. Andrews or Saint John.”
“Provided a deep water wharf was built here, would the Canadian Pacific utilize it?”
“Do you know,” queried the General Manager in reply, “what amount of money it would cost to put a place like this in shape for a steamship business? It would coast at least half a million dollars to build docks, warehouses, yards, etc. And where is this to come from unless the business of the road is taxed for it? This business will not stand a tax, and we will have to go to the cheapest port.”
“Will this bonding difficulty affect the road to any extent?”
“I have not heard anything about it except what was in the papers. They are constantly finding mares’ nests. We don’t let them bother us, and in the end things work out all right. I don’t think it will affect us much.”
“Is it proposed to extend the line beyond Edmunston?”
“We have not thought of that. Besides we have very few interests up there.”
“Don’t you think that an all-Canadian line would be advantageous, in the event of trouble with the United States?”
“It’s not an All-Canadian line we are after,” replied Mr. Van Horne, smiling. “It is the short line. Those people (meaning the United States people) are not the kind of people to smash a dollar glass belonging to their neighbor, when they have a ten-dollar glass of their own exposed.”
“Is the CPR interested in the Leary dock project.”
”It is not interested in any way whatever. Mr. Leary is a purely private speculator.”
“Is there any intention on the part of the CPR to remove the McAdam machine shops?”
“No, they are in the right place. It is a central point, the roads radiating from it in different directions. There will always have to be shops there. It would mean a difference of perhaps $50,000 a year in the working of the road to remove the shops from where they are now.”
“Do you intend making any improvements or extensions at SS?”
“No. The fact is, everything is new to us, and we don’t know what we may need. We will try, however, to do the best for all sections.”
“Is it intended to continue to operate the New Brunswick road under the old name?”
“We had at first intended to run it as an independent road, but it is likely that when the lease is perfected, which will be in about four weeks, the road will be operated as part of the Canada Pacific system.”
At this juncture, the interviewer’s stock of questions began to manifest evidence of exhaustion, seeing which the interviewed slipped away, and in an instant was so surrounded by friends as to prevent any possibility of the attack being renewed.
manager Van Horne adjourned with his party to the cars at an early hour, and by daylight were speeding towards Fredericton, where they took a run over Mr. Gibson’s railway to Chatham. it is rumoured that the Canada Pacific will purchase the line, but it is probable that they have no more intention of purchasing it they have purchasing the Shore Line.
President Van Horne’s visit
He inspects his new cottage, talks with the Beacon concerning the winter port, plans a new summer hotel, and attends to other business.
Following close upon the heels of the regular express, on Friday afternoon last, was a special train in charge of Conductor Cassidy, consisting of the private cars of president Van Horne and Superintendent Timmerman.
Among the occupants were Mr. Van Horne and his private secretary, Mr. George MacDonald, Superintendent Timmerman, Messrs. H. H. McLean, John Hammond and Mr. Colonna, of Montreal, the architect of Mr. Van Horne’s summer residence.
The train came to a stop at the Bar road, where Mr. Van Horne and is party took boat and were landed on minister’s island. Mr. Mallory awaited them there with his barouche, and they were at once driven to Mr. Van Horne’s new cottage. A couple of hours were spent by Mr. an Horne inspecting the building and grounds, and giving instructions as to the manner in which he wanted the finishing touches carried out. On returning to the mainland, the Beacon was on hand to extend a greeting to Mr. Van Horne and his associates. The President was in jolly mood, and showed no hesitancy in answering the questions that were asked of him.
“I’ll not be able to come down much this summer,” said he, “as the programme I have mapped out for the season will not permit of it, but my family will come here in June and spend the season with you.”
“How long will it take to finish up? Oh, five weeks’ work will make the house habitable. Of course, there’s a great deal to be done towards ornamenting the grounds. But I son’ do much in that line until I can come down myself and look after it.”
“Will Sir Donald Smith build on his St. Andrews property this season?” asked the interviewer.
“I don’t think he will. He is not in very good health just now. Will Mr. Shaughnessy build? I can’t answer that question. I don’t know what his plans are.
“What about the Beaver Line and SA? Well, nothing definite has been arranged. In fact, the steamship people don’t seem to know exactly what they want yet. When they arrive at a decision we are prepared to lend them all the assistance in our power towards carrying out their projects. they have got to make up their minds to use some of these lower province port, if they intend doing a winter business.”
“We are especially anxious,” interjected the Beacon, “to have St. Andrews utilized by the line, and we hope the CPR will aid us as far as possible.”
“You can rely upon us doing all that is in our power to advance the interests of the port of SA,” replied Mr. Van Horne. The President and party then sat down to lunch, while the train was backed into St. Andrews. After an hour spent in stowing away the lobsters and other good things which Jim French, Mr. Van Horne’s colored factotum, had prepared for the delectation of the party, an inspection was made of the Osburn property, which was recently purchased by the railway, company the object of the inspection being to ascertain whether the house could not be converted into a summer hotel. Mr. Van Horne explored the house from cellar to garret, and expressed himself greatly pleased with its appearance. by the addition of an other story, also a dining hall, billiard room and bowling alley, the thought that a first-class hotel cold be made of the property. On his return to the car he drew out a plan of the addition she contemplated. He also instructed Mr. Timmerman to have a plan of the house made at once, so that he could decide in what manner the alterations and additions should be made. Mr. Brewer came here on Tuesday for this purpose. Before leaving town, Mr. Van Horne purchased a boat from Mr. James Starkey, and also obtained figures for the construction of a larger vessel for deep-sea fishing.
The Beacon was able to call up Mr. 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 the first telephone ever put up in St. Andrews. Mr. Van Horne, also has telegraphic connection between his summer residence and the railway station.
Mr. Van Horne interviewed. the Beacon has a short chat with him on Various subjects.
[notice Mr. Armstrong does not mention St. Andrews port matters to Van Horne in person, in spite of his criticism in the previous issue]
On the broad piazza of Mr. Van Horne’s elegant summer residence on Minister’s Island, Mr. Van Horne, and the Beacon clasped hands on Monday morning. the big railway man had his working clothes on, being engaged in superintending the improvements that are going on around his dwelling. Inviting the newspaper man to a seat, he placidly folded his hands over his ample waist-coat, and waited patiently for the usual array of questions.
Asked if it was the intention of the railway to begin work this fall on their proposed summer hotel at Indian Point, he answered “No.” “It is one thing,” said he, “to build a hotel, and another thing to get somebody to run it. It would hardly pay us to run one hotel. I had a project to build a number of hotels along the railway from here to Halifax and Cape Breton, but ---“
What was at the other end of the “but” Mr. Van Horne did not say, but he left eh impression on his interrogator that the hotel scheme he had projected was still a considerable distance off.
“Have you had an enjoyable season here?” queried the scribe. “I have spent very little of it here, but my family have enjoyed it very much” “when will you close your house?” “My family will probably leave in a week, as they want to see the Word’s Fair, but I will be down here two or three times before the snow flies to look after the improvements on my property.”
“Do you propose making any additions to your house?”
“Yes,” said Mr. Van Horne, “I will made an addition to it, bit it will not be very large. There is considerable work to be done around the grounds yet.”
“I presume we will have your family again another season?”
“Oh yes,” was the reply, “if all goes well, we’ll be here again next summer.”
“What is the nature of the difficulty you have with the Unites States courts?”
“Oh, that don’t amount to much. One of our ticket agents at Tacoma is charged with selling a ticket at a reduced rate. that’s all there’s about it. My going before the court was a mere formality.
Discussing the subject of grain shipment, Mr. Van Horne said that his year’ crop in the West was a large one. “Do you expect any of it to find its way through the port of Saint John or Halifax” he was asked
“that depends,” was the rejoinder. “they have the elevator at Saint John ; they have the wharf, and they have the railway. What they want now is men with capital to buy the grain and ship it. the elevator itself wont’ bring the grain. it’s like a man building a big store for dry goods purposes. If he don’t put dry goods in it after it has been completed, the store is not of much use to him.”
“but there are those who think the railway will provide the grain,” suggested the interviewers. “We’re not shippers,” promptly replied Mr. Van Horne. “We’re carriers. We don’t do any shipping. We simply carry the grain wherever it is sent.”
The Van Horne Cottage
Improvements that have been made around the grounds this spring.
A merry whirl of a mile or two over a picturesque, tree-fringed country road; a push across an ocean-perfumed beach, on which great flocks of sea and land birds were gathered at their morning feast of mussels, and clams, and the Beacon representative found himself and his wheel at the foot of the hill leading to the summit of Minister’s island, on which Mr. Van Horne, President of the CPR, has his handsome summer residence.
It was a beautiful May morning, and Nature was in one of her most charming moods. Gentle zephyrs were wafted over the silvery bosom of St. Andrews Bay, and the lapping of the waves along the sandy beaches made a music that was most entrancing. All around was a bewitching prospect embracing sea and island, mountain and valley, green pastures and fields over which the ploughman had but recently made his mark. About and above all this could be heard the songs of nature’s little choristers, rejoicing that the bonds of Winter had once more been rent asunder. It was a scene fit to stir the poetry within the most prosaic soul.
But it was not to gather inspiration for a verse on ”gentle Spring” that the Beacon was abroad, but to inspect the improvements that Mr. Van Horne is adding to his summer home. During the past few months great changes have taken place in the vicinity of the Van Horne, cottage. An annex, connected by a covered lattice-work verandah, has been erected in the rear of the main building. [my photo from CCA] This is designed as servants’ quarters. There are found living rooms in the annexes, besides a laundry, with concrete floor and bricked walls. The main building has undergone no changes, and is just as it was abandoned last Fall. the large kitchen range is polished and can be ready for business at a minute’s notice, the cupboards are full of waiting dishes, and the great hall and the sleeping rooms need only the “touch of a vanished hand” to make them as inviting as before.
The head gardener, Mr. William McQuoid, for whom a near little cottage, embowered among the trees, has recently been erected, has had a busy season around the grounds. he has ploughed and harrowed and picked stones off a large piece of land to the north and west of the cottage, and has laid it out in beds. Asparagus, cucumbers, radishes, parsnips, cabbages, lettuce, celery, and a great deal of other “garden sass” have been planted in these beds, for are awaiting transplanting from the “hot-beds” alongside. Another patch of ground near by has been sown with oats and a bountiful crop is looked for. A large circle of ground in front of the cottage and another plot in the rear are reserved for flowering plants. Then, a tennis-court has been rolled a short distance away, and seeded down with lawn-grass, which is forcing its way along. A stately flag staff has been erected alongside the cottage, from which the Canadian flag will be floated to the breeze just as soon as the family have entered into possession of their summer habitation. E. L. Andrews has the contract for a long stretch of cedar and wire fencing around the grounds, which is designed more as a protection for a buck thorn hedge that is to be planted than “a thing of beauty.”
Several men are employed in garden work but all the carpenters have taken their departure. In a few days the plumbers will be here to make the connections which were cut last fall, and the telegraph men are also expected to arrive to put the telephone and telegraph lines in shape. the action of the tides upon the cable across the bar has rendered it useless, and a new cable will either have to be laid or a better method devised for stretching the wire across. It is expected that the Van Horne family will move into their summer home about he latte part of next month.
Chat with Sir William
His New Honors have not turned his Head in the Least
“Tut, tut, man; never mind such formalities,” was the bluff, good-natured remark uttered by Sir William Van Horne, on Friday last, when the Beacon representative apologized for having ailed to address him by his knightly appellation.
The big railway man had just got up from a delicious dinner, in which his favorite dish,--fresh St. Andrews lobster—had been one of the ingredients, and he was feeling in high good humor. With his broad palms encircling his ample stomach, and a freshly lighted Havana rolling between his lips, he looked the personification of health and contentment. it seemed a little out of place under such circumstances to enquire after the President’s health, but inasmuch as Queen Victoria had but recently imposed a fresh responsibility upon his already heavily-burdened shoulders, the beacon felt it a to be a duty to make such enquiry.
“I am feeling first-rate,” replied the new knight.
He then, in response to further enquires, began to unburden himself with respect to his summer home. He was pleased with the way matters were progressing, and said his family would come down to St. Andrews about the 20th. Asked if he was contemplating any further changes around his summer place, he smilingly replied that, “no doubt there would be changes all the time.”
The Beacon intimated that the Saint John people were expecting a visit from him in a few days, to which he replied that they no doubt thought he would attend the Street Railway meeting. The meeting, he said, was a purely formal one, and he did not think he would be present.
Asked whether there was any truth in the rumor the CPR had in view the erection of a large hotel at Saint John , he replied that they had such a view when the question of taking over the Intercolonial railway was under consideration, but hey had abandoned the idea.
“You see,” he continued, “the Intercolonial has not been paying, and when we talked of taking it over, we had first to consider how we should make it pay. It was in that connection, the hotel scheme was put forward. We hoped by the building of hotels at Saint John , such as the Frontenac at Quebec,, to attract a large amount of travel in this direction. The better and more numerous the hotels the larger will be the travel in this direction. the Better and more numerous the hotels, the larger will be the travel particularly in summer. Very few people care to stay longer than a week or two at one place in the summer season. They keep moving about. If they can get hotels to suit them in Saint John or Halifax they will spend a portion of their time at such places. It would have helped SA, too, as it would have been sure to get a portion of the class of travel I speak of.”
“Has the CPR any summer improvements in view with respect to SA?” interjected the newspaper man.
“No,” was the reply; “not at present. We were talking of fitting up the Osburn place as a first-class family hotel like the Algonquin but times have been too devilish hard.”
“What do you think of the prospects for summer travel in this direction?” was asked.
“I think they are good. You see, people cannot afford expensive trips this season. There will not be so many to indulge in costly continental tours. They will take their pleasure in smaller doses nearer home, where it will not be so expensive. I am afraid this season will be a very had one on the Atlantic steamships, though.
Incidental allusion was made to the floods in British Columbia.
“These floods are worrying us a good deal,” said Sir William. “The water in the Fraser river has never been so high for fifty years as it is at present. It is a foot or more above the highest shore indication. if it rises any higher it will do incalculable damage. We have a bridge at new Westminster, for which levels were laid higher than the highest tide was ever known to go. But the water is on the bridge now. What caused the floods? Well, they have been caused by the large amount of snow in the mountains. The weather being cold, the snow melted very little during ht early spring, and it is going out all in a heap now. When I visited the West a few weeks ago the Fraser was very low, and gold-seekers were washing on bars that had not been exposed for a number of years.”
“How did you find business on the Pacific coast?”
“I found business dull. Vancouver is doing perhaps better than any of the coast cities, and a large number of buildings is being erected. Victoria is about holding its own.”
A “toot-toot” from the panting locomotive at the other end of the president’s train warned the reporter that the hour of his departure was drawing high, so bidding adieu to Sir William and n his companions, Supt. Timmerman , Mr. H. H. McLean and Mr. George Macdonald, Sir William’s manly private secretary, he took his leave.
The President’s car was hauled to McAdam Friday night, where connection was made with the Montreal express.
Sir William Van Horne
The Rising Tide Cuts an Interview Very Short
Time and timed will wait for on man—not even for a newspaper man. Evidence of this fact was furnished the Beacon representative when he cantered over to minister’s Island on Tuesday afternoon to obtain an interview with Sir William Van Horne. Sir William was engaged when the newspaper man called, and though only fifteen minutes slipped by before he was free in that time the tide of the bay had nearly covered the bar by which Sir William’s island home is reached, so that the interview consisted of little more than a greeting and a good bye.
Sir William looked the picture of good health and contentment, with his favorite cigar between his lips and his knock-about hat pulled out over his eyes to prevent the wind from blowing it out into the Bay.
To the Beacon he said that he saw no immediate prospect of the CPR summer hotel being erected at Sa, though he declared the railway was enjoying a season of rare prosperity. Asked with regard to winter port matters he did not express himself very freely, further than to say that Canada possessed more ports than she had business for, and that it would cost a tremendous sum of money to fit St. Andrews with wharves and terminal facilities.
With regard to the North West he said the present was the most successful year the farmers of that section have very enjoyed. “they had made enough money,” said Sir William, “to pay for their farms and all the improvements they have put upon them.”
Sir William’s opinion was asked concerning the Klondike. “There is not much known about that territory, yet. It is 1400 miles from the nearest point on our road—at Edmonton—and there are two mountain ranges between. There is undoubtedly an abundance of gold there, but I fear that this winter there will be an abundance of suffering as well. there are too many people to winter in there.”
Sir William displayed an eagerness to talk, but the sullen voices of the breakers beating upon the beach warned his interviewer that the talk must be cut short. And so good-byes were said, and the scribe galloped homeward.
Sir William went to Saint John on Wednesday morning. he does not expect to visit St. Andrews again next season, though his family remain for probably ten days longer.
Sir William Van Horne in town. He comes down in inspect his property on Minister’s island. details.
It was announced in the Montreal Star last week that Sir William Van Horne, accompanied by General Russell A. Alger, United States Secretary of War, and General Proctor of New York, was coming to St. Andrews. At once speculation began to be indulged in as to the object of the visit of such a distinguished company. Of course Sir William’s coming could be explained, but what were the Yankee generals coming for?
One individual feared that they were coming to make an inspection of our forts and he suggested that the proper thing to do was to cover up the fortresses with a tarpaulin until the military visitors had departed. Another man , with an eye to business, was positive that there was some scheme on foot for the utilization of St. Andrews harbor for the shipping of pulp. He was strengthened in his belief by the report that the President’s car had been switched off to grand Falls and that the visitor shad made an inspection of the Falls with a view to establishing a gigantic pup mill there.
Another had a different idea, and a great many more ventured no opinion whatever, feeling sure that the Beacon would be able to solve the problem for them when the car arrived.
On Friday afternoon, President Van Horne’s car arrived at SA, but without the big Yankee guns. “Col.” French, the President’s culinary advisor, and Supt. Timmerman were Sir William’s only companions. the other had taken the western train at McAdam for their homes.
Sir William and Supt. Timmerman got off at the bar Road and we at once driven to Minister’s Island, where the former made an inspection of work that was being done on his summer property. At 4:30 they returned to their carat ht eh station, when the Beacon had a brief chat with Sir William.
He said his visit had no particular significance—he simply wished to look after his property on Minister’s Island. he went on to say that he had just returned from an inspection of the western end of the road and had found everything booming here. The North-West, he said he found in a particular prosperous state, the farmers having done splendidly this year. they had made, he said, this season alone enough money to pay for their farms and all the improvements that they had made upon them. he knew of no class in such independent circumstances as the North-west farmer. he though it would be good thing if half of the farmers of Charlotte County would go the North-West,. The balance, with larger farms, might then make considerable money out of stock raising. Hew as sure that there was money in that class of farm product, and he was equally sure that ht eland here was well adapted for the raising of stock. He intended to make some experiments himself along this line.
Sir William talked quite freely with regard to port affairs at Saint John and Halifax, but he did not wish his views thereon to be put in print. With regard to the visit of the New York generals, eh said they had been attending a meeting of the directors of the Laurentide Pulp Company, of Grand Here, Quebec, in which he was also interested, and he had invited them to accompany him in this direction. It was sure, he said, that they had looked at the Grand Falls. the grain stopped half an hour there, and they had spent the time in looking a the Falls. They had no intention however of establishing pulp works there. Sir William felt that there were enough pulp mills in Canada now, and that capitalists would not b disposed to put their money into any more until a wider market had been opened up for them. When the spruce of Sweden and Norway had been reduced, then Canada would have a chance of supply the European market, but that day, he felt, was some distance. off. Sir William had nothing encouraging to say with regard to the local outlook. At 5 o’clock the railway party left won by special train for McAdam.
Sir William Van Horne Interviewed
A representative of the Beacon called upon Sir William Van Horne on Monday afternoon and interviewed him with regard to the CPR and port matters in general. Sir William had just risen from luncheon and was in the best of humor.
Asked as to whether there was anything in the report that the CPR intended utilizing L’Etang as a port, he wanted to know where that port was. He pooh poohed the idea that L’Etang would ever be used by the railway.
“There’s nothing in the story,” said he, “I’d be willing to bet one hundred dollars to one that there’s nothing in it. Of course, I am not taking as active an interest in the railway as I once did, but I am quite sure that the Company has no such scheme on foot.”
When asked as to whether any offer to purchase shore interest at L’Etang had been made on the Company’s behalf, he replied that that story had probably been started by the man who had set the other report tin motion.
“We are continually being pressed to use one port or another on the Atlantic. The port of Castine was one of the places that were urged upon our attention. It was represented as being an ideal port. But the CPR has no intention of going into a Maine port.”
“Not even into Stockton?” interjected the reporter.
“No,” said Sir William. “SJ is capable of doing all the business that the road will do for some time to come. Though somewhat congested at present, there is room for considerable expansion. The railway is not eager to carry grain in the winter anyway. It would prefer to warehouse it and hold it until navigation on the St. Lawrence opens. You may not believe it, yet every ton of grain that is carried to Saint John in the winter season by the CPR is carried at a loss. We prefer to dump it as quickly as possible. A great deal of our winter grain is dumped at Port Arthur and finds its way to New York. Very little comes east.”
Asked as to St. Andrews’ chances of being utilized as a winter port, he said that steamship people did not regard St. Andrews favorably, as the beaches were so shoal that the building of wharves would be very expensive. This was the chief objection they urged. . . [this is the first time a reason has been given for not utilizing St. Andrews as a port]
When asked as to whether the CPR had purchased or intended to purchase, the NB Southern railway, he said that some time ago they had been asked to buy it, and they said the would. But the NB Southern people withdrew their offer and no further effort was made to obtain the road.
Sir William said that he time would come when the people of the Maritime Provinces would wake up to the mistake they had made in not accepting the CPR offer to take over the Intercolonial railway.
“We would have had an Atlantic fast line running years ago,” said Sir William [to Halifax, no doubt]. “And we would have had a system of hotel in the provinces that would have brought in a hundred thousand strangers. Just wee what that would have meant! We proposed putting up another large hotel at SA, one at Saint John, one at Halifax, another at Sydney, and another at the Narrows, CB, with auxiliary hotels between. These would have brought many thousands of tourists. Quebec is being enriched by the tourist traffic and so would the Maritime Provinces.”
Sir William was inclined to take a gloomy view of things Canadian, while of thing Cuban he had nothing but words of prise. He is very enthusiastic over the future of that island. The people there know how to do business, he says, and they are doing it. He had found them to be people of integrity, who respected their obligations. They have used his company well and his company were using them as well as they knew how. In his dealing with the Spanish Americans, whether in Cuba or else where, he had found them to be a particularly fine class of men and it was a pleasure to mingle with them.
A sea-wall, 200 feet in length, is to be built along a part of the eastern side of Sir William Van Horne’s property, Minister’s Island. The work will be done by Mr. Charles Horsnell.
Sir William Van Horne—Pays an Early Summer Call to SA
Sir William Van Horne dropped in to St. Andrews on Friday last to look over his interests here. He spent the afternoon on Minister’s Island, inspecting the work that is going on there, and suggesting further additions. Then on Saturday morning he took a look over the Chamcook sardine enterprise, spending the entire morning there.
A Beacon representative called upon him at his car in the afternoon, and found him in a most pleasant conversational mood. During the talk, he incidentally dropped the remark that he had just completed his fifty fifth year as a railroad man. “If I could go all over the ground that I covered in those years again,” remarked Sir William, “and could recall all the happenings, it would make Rockefeller look like thirty cents.” The reporter suggested that he ought to write a book on his railroad experiences, but he dismissed the suggestion with the remark, “What would be the good of that.” [this anecdote I think I’ve heard elsewhere; is this the original incident?]
Sir William said that his family would be here next month, but he would have to go to Cuba first, and, perhaps, Europe. He says he is still in love with Cuba, its beautiful climate, and its general conditions. He finds it hard to tear himself away. He is always extending his enterprises there, making railway extensions, building sugar mills, and the like.
His Grand Falls enterprises were still in the hands of the engineers. “There is a good deal of money at stake there,” remarked Sir William, “and we have got to move along cautiously.”
Sir William said he was glad to know that St. Andrews was prospering. He departed for Montreal on Saturday evening.
Mr. R. E. Armstrong during a long residence in SA,, had many opportunities of meeting Sir William Van Horne. His duties as a journalist and his official duties as Mayor of St. Andrews brought him into intimate relationship with the distinguished Canadian, who made his summer home on Minister’s Island and was a frequent summer and winter visitor to St. Andrews. The tribute Mr. Armstrong today pays Sir William is not the ordinary expression of appreciation for one who had done big things in a big way, but is rather a sincere personal tribute of appreciation from one who frequently got closer to the great man than did those in more intimate relationship with him, and had unusual opportunities to learn his views and opinions on important questions of transportation, trade, politics, arts, literature, etc. St. Andrews will miss Sir William and will long cherish recollections of his visits, of his interest in the welfare of the community and of his plans for its future---plans which included years of work in developing and beautifying his own beautiful property.—St. John Globe, Sept 14.
The Late Sir William Van Horne. An Appreciation
R. E. Armstrong
To the Editor of the Globe.
Sir:--As one who for over twenty years enjoyed the very great privilege of an intimate, personal acquaintance with Sir William Van Horne, will you permit me to pay a brief tribute of regard to his memory.
It was in the early 90’s that Sir William Van Horne paid his first visit to St. Andrews. He went there at the suggestion of Mr. F. W. Cram, one of the promoters of the St. Andrews Land Company, who was desirous of securing his personal interest in the place. The first visit was fruitless. The weather was bad, the place did not look as attractive as it had been pictured to him, and he declined to take hold. Another visit was arranged. this time it was typical St. Andrews weather. The sun shone on a glorious picture of bay and river and island. Sir William was enchanted with the scene and surrendered at once. Without loss of time he purchased from Mr. Marshall Andrews the western end of Minister’s Island,, and began the erection of a summer home. It was a rough, barren spot when Sir William took hold of it, but he recognized its possibilities, and before long he made it one of the most attractive and beautiful localities in Canada. He built a magnificent summer home of natural sandstone,, erected mammoth barns, greenhouses and vineries, laid out a splendid road system, planted fruit trees and flowers, and then invited the public to come and share with him the enjoyment of Nature’s beautiful gifts. Thousands of visitors from all parts of the North American continent took advantage of this offer, and the fame of his beautiful grounds became known from ocean to ocean.
Sir William took a keen personal delight in the development of his summer property. he liked to have men working around him. He loved his splendid Clydesdale horses, his well bred cattle, his beautiful bowers and grounds. It was the keenest satisfaction to him to know that the public appreciated the beautiful things in Nature that he had provided as much for their delectation as for his own.
Personally, Sir William Van Horne was one of the most versatile of men. Indeed, it is doubtful if there exists in Canada today one who possesses the varied natural talents and the genius which Sir William Van Horne possessed in such a marked degree. He was an empire-builder of the most pronounced type; his great mind contemplated stupendous things in railroad development; he was one of the best artists in Canada, his painting possessing artistic qualities of the highest order; he could talk art, literature, agriculture, political and financial economy, and talk them well and intelligently. There was scarcely a subject that he was not familiar with. He was s royal entertainer, and during the years that the resided in St. Andrews many distinguished people enjoyed his almost boundless hospitality.
To those who did not know him well, Sir William Van Horne presented a somewhat gruff exterior, but behind this brusqueness there beat a warm and tender heart, a heart intensely human. His domestic relations were singularly happy. He loved children and was never happier than when in their company. To see him romp and play with his favorite grandson was a most delightful sight.
Sir William Van Horne dabbled a little in politics, but he had no personal liking for the game. he was fond of saying that the only time he ever made a political speech in his life was during the late Federal campaign, when reciprocity with the United States was the chief issue. This he relentlessly opposed. he was somewhat disappointed with some of the subsequent turns and twists in party politics and did not hesitate to give expression to his feelings.
Sir William Van Horne manifested a deep interest in the material future of SA, and was ever ready to extend assistance and advice when called upon. The financial assistance which he extended toward the erection of the mammoth sardine works at Chamcook was as much for the purpose of benefiting the locality and the local fishermen as for his own enrichment. It was a matter of deepest regret to him that his hopes in this respect had not been fulfilled in their entirety.”
Canada and the British Empire are the poorer today for the death of Sir William Van Horne. he filled a large place in Canadian and Imperial affairs, and he filled it well. The work of his hands is indelibly stamped upon the face of Canada from one end to the other. Knowing him and his work as well as I do, I feel confident that nowhere will he be more greatly missed and nowhere will be more sincerely mourned than at the little town of SA, where for over twenty years he made his summer home, and where he was esteemed by rich and poor alike. The heartiest sympathy will go out of Lady Van Horne, to his son and daughter, and to the others members of his bereaved family.
Copy of telegram From Mr. R. B. Van Horne
Montreal, Sept 13, 1915
To G. K. Greenlaw, Mayor
St. Andrews, NB
Lady Van Horne, family and I send our sincere thanks to you and the Aldermen of St. Andrews for the kind sympathy and sentiments expressed in your message on the occasion of our great loss.
(signed) R. B. Van Horne