The Coldspring: A Refreshing Way to Enjoy History
By Bria Stokesbury
Water so cold, clean, and refreshing. In Canada an abundance of clean water is one of our greatest national resources. One important source is spring water, which in certain spots flows to the earth’s surface from underground sources through an aquifer.
Historically natural springs have been important places for humans as sources of life-giving sustenance, for the pursuit of health (“taking the waters”), and as the basis for natural and cultural inspiration.
On Highway 12 between Kentville and Chester, one such natural spring can be found, and like so many others around the world there is much history tied it. This history is explained in a new historical plaque located near the spring by the Friends of the Coldspring:
“Generations of travellers, both human and animal, have stopped to enjoy this Coldspring. The original trough was wooden, but was replaced in the late 1920s by a concrete trough, which once found its home on the Bishop property in Greenwich Corner. The trough was declared surplus by then-Provincial Superintendent of Highways, Fred Vaughan, and relocated for use here on Route 12. George H. Gates, owner of a livery and tracking business in Port Williams, with the help of his assistant, moved the concrete trough some 40 kilometres, and with the help of Thomas McGarry, it was set up. Almost a century has passed and time has taken a toll on the old trough so it was reconstructed. Our hope for the next generation is to enjoy this spot just as our ancestors did.”
In addition to restoring the trough, and adding the historical narrative, the Friends of the Coldspring also added a bench for quiet contemplation, which was placed there in memory of Truman Edwin Costley by his grandson Carmen O. Legge.
So the next time you are travelling along this stretch of highway and approach Forest Home, why not pull over for a few moments and enjoy a cold drink of water from this spring which has been a source of refreshment for generations of travellers? Take time to reflect on those volunteers who cared enough about this historic spot to save this local piece of history for future generations.
Pictured: Friends of the Coldspring (left to right): Joanne Bezanson, Carmen Legge, Vincent Reid, Harold Redden, and Ron Bezanson.