The Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre: An Overview of Our Permanent Exhibition

Agricultural objects from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre.

Upon arrival in Gaspésie, each family received land, farming tools (an axe, a hammer, a saw, a hoe, a spade, nails and a pair of hinges), seeds, provisions for three years, bedding and furniture, in order to begin a new life.
(Photo - Heritage New Carlisle) Agricultural objects from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre.

In spite of the British authorities, life in the new colony remained difficult. The greatest strength of the community resided in the resources of its inhabitants due to the great solidarity that developed amongst the colonists. The farmers and the fishermen furnished the food. In exchange, carpenters, weavers, shoemakers, coopers and masons supplied services to the community.
(Photo - Heritage New Carli Medicine Chest, 19th century.
Normand Desjardins Collection. 
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre. 

At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, in the absence of doctors and pharmacists, each family of colonists probably had a medicine chest in order to look after its family unit. This type of chest could also have been used by doctors. Certain families even grew their own medicinal herbs. The largest were used on boats, and the Captain had the responsibility of fillin First Court House, constructed around 1820. Post Card.  Heritage New Carlisle Collection. 
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre. 

Judicial administration, which installed in New Carlisle at the end of the 18th century, established its position more firmly with the opening of the first Court House in 1827; the annex included a jail. The Thompson House, constructed around 1838. 
Photograph. Normand Desjardins Collection. 
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre.

In 1893, the traveler Raoul Renault asserted that the sumptuous appearance of New Carlisle denoted the presence of people in better fortune than elsewhere in Gaspesia. He affirmed, "The main characteristic of this village is the neatness that is seen everywhere. All of the properties are surrounded by a nice trim fence; the residences and their surroundings are well m Kelly House, constructed between 1858 and 1864. 
Photograph. Heritage New Carlisle Collection. 
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre.

The Anglo-Saxon ancestry of the inhabitants of New Carlisle had a strong influence on the architecture of its houses. The modest dwellings from the beginning of colonization were gradually replaced or remodeled. The buildings were always in wood, but were more spacious and presented architectural characteristics that were encountered on land exploited by an Anglop Clothes and Textiles. 
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre. 
Our collections abound with objects characteristic of the middle class reality of New Carlisle during the Victorian era: clothes, cutlery, recreational objects, and so on.
(Photo - Heritage New Carlisle) Lunch box of W. Crozier. First half of 20th Century. 
Évariste Babin Collection. Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre. 

In 1876, at the moment when the railway line opened between Sainte-Flavie and Campbellton, Gaspesians found a lot of hope when their isolation lessened, through the development of a Gaspesian line connected to the inter-colonial. However, the construction of the Matapedia-Paspebiac section would become a veritable saga marked by the embezzlement of funds, strikes, bankruptcy of Women's skates, c.1900. Normand Desjardins Collection. Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre. 

The development of transport, more particularly with the arrival of the railroad, broke the isolation of Gaspesians. People had the advantage of access to consumer goods, thanks especially to the Eaton's catalogue, which delivered its products by train. Henceforth, New Carlislers could procure goods destined to leisure activities.

(Photo - Heritage New Carlisle) Hotel New Carlisle / The Carlisle Hotel, constructed in 1930. Photograph. Carol Beebe Gilker Collection. 
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre.

Earle L. Annett constructed The Carlisle Hotel in 1930. His daughter, Marguerite, hardly 16 years old without a driver's licence, was the first woman to drive taxi in Quebec. In order to bring tourists to New Carlisle when they did not want to take the train or bus to the end, she went to fetch them directly in Campbellton and drove them to the hotel. Telephone operators, first office of Quebec Telephone. St. Etienne Parish, Municipality of New Carlisle Collection.

On September 12, 1906, under the leadership of John Hall Kelly, the Bonaventure and Gaspe Telephone Company was founded. The switchboard was first installed in the residence of telephone operator Lillian Smollett, then in the call centre situated on Main Street. The Head Office and the telephone Central were located in New Carlisle and served Bonaventure and Paspebiac. The telephone Central Microphone, 1950. 
CHNC Collection. 
Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre. 

At the age of 14, René Lévesque was recommended to Charles Houde by his father, Dominique Lévesque, who was by that time, a lawyer in New Carlisle. He began an employment that would impassion him until the end of his days. Lévesque translated the dispatches from English to French, before reading them on the air. His Anglophone colleague, Stan Chapman, did the same for those dispatches arriving in French. Other well k

The Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre's permanent exhibition, through eight themes and more than 150 artefacts, retraces the history of New Carlisle, from the arrival of the loyalist pioneers up to and including World War II. During this diversified and original exhibition, visitors can take advantage of this little municipality's richness from the past and get a better sense of the local distinguishing features.

A New Beginning

New Carlisle is a Gaspesian village that is strongly marked by its cultural mix. This blend is expressed through linguistic and religious diversity, which holds firm to its origins right back to the establishment of the village. In July 1784, 315 loyalists, accompanied by 67 soldiers and Marines, arrived in Paspébiac by boat, after eight days of traveling from Québec. They settled in "Little Paspébiac ", later renamed Carlisle, and then New Carlisle. From the time of their arrival in Little Paspébiac, the new colonists had to begin the immense task of constructing their houses and reclaiming the land in order to farm. Several artefacts in our collection bear witness to this period, which hinges on the development of New Carlisle's identity.

The Victorian Era: Heritage Buildings and the Worldly Goods of the Middle Class

"In 1830, the navigator Joseph Barthe, from Carleton, declared, "...this site has become the largest village on the Bay of Chaleur, with 100 houses stretching the length of the Bay."
Jules Bélanger, Histoire de la Gaspésie, page 152

larger_nov1641.jpgAs of the beginning of the 19th century, a middle-class settled in New Carlisle. From a small farming village that had been founded by some hundred loyalists, the village rapidly became the Bonaventure County Seat and the administrative centre of Gaspésia, where some members of the elite came to settle. Its position as county administrative centre brought about the establishment of the administration of justice, which included lawyers, district attorneys, notaries and a sheriff. This middle-class bequeathed to New Carlisle a rich legacy of heritage buildings. These sumptuous houses, whose architecture is characteristic of the Victorian Era, can still be admired in the village. They stand witness to the predominance of New Carlisle during a certain era.

The Grand Era

With the arrival of the train, the construction of a wharf in deep water and the material progress that was characteristic of the beginning of the 20th century, the economy diversified and the municipality once again planted its leading position in the region.

This dynamism brought the coming of quite a few Acadians and French-Canadians, especially people from the Québec region who came to practice their trades. Their arrival contributed to the integration of Catholicism in the religious landscape of New Carlisle, which was already really diversified, due to the multiple Protestant denominations already coexisting in the community, since the arrival of the Loyalists.

The Grand Hotel Era

During the second half of the 19th century, numerous visitors went to Gaspesia by boat, in order to enjoy the beauty of the area, to take advantage of the many salmon rivers and to experience the virtues of the therapeutic sea baths and the salt air. The first tourists who arrived in the region were members of the middle class and the aristocracy and they travelled on ships and ferries. They were joined by numerous visitors, since the arrival of the train and when the roads became passable. As of 1850, sumptuous villas, such as the holiday resorts in New Carlisle, were observed being erected.

In order to respond to the greater and greater demands of visitors who were in transit or who had been lodging in New Carlisle since the beginning of the 20th century, new establishments opened their doors to welcome them: it was the era of the grand hotels. Our permanent exhibition includes several artefacts and photographs from this period. You can also enjoy this very dynamic era, which generated several very lively stories in the spirit of the people who experienced them.

larger_p1000501_0.jpgThe Development of Communications

This rapid economic and social growth favoured the development of the media. One whole section of our permanent exhibition is dedicated to the rapid growth of the different means of communication in New Carlisle, notably the arrival of one radio station in the village: CHNC (Charles Houde New Carlisle). The entry on the airwaves of station CHNC, in 1933, marked the second radio broadcast station to see the light of day in Québec, occurring not long after station CKAC in Montréal. We owe the advent of this radio to a Gaspesian communications pioneer - a dentist who was passionate about wireless telegraph: Charles Houde (1896 to 1979). In 1933, the "Doc", as he was known, collected $5,500 from the prominent citizens of the area, promising them a bilingual radio station. He bought a 100 Watt antenna, which was powerful enough to cover both the Gaspé and the Acadian coasts of the Bay of Chaleur. In 1946, Houde had station CHNC, whose powerful antenna delivered 5000 Watts: a station that was entirely Francophone. Then he founded channel CKNB in Campbellton, in order to serve the Anglophone listeners.

The Grand Story of a Little Municipality

Come to the Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre and learn more about the passionate story of New Carlisle, a veritable micro society situated as a backdrop to the Bay of Chaleur. New Carlisle will charm you with its originality and its local features. Thanks to our collection of artefacts, our archival documents and our photographs, you will enter a universe of people who have contributed to the creation of the great story of this little municipality.

Sophie Turbide