do you remember

Feb 23, 2012

During the 2010 Gander Schools Reunion Clyde Burt headed up a tour of old town Gander. We visited the various sites that were in use  prior to building of the new town. Maps were handed out and recently while reviewing those maps, I noted that there was a place labeled “The Hennery”. I asked Clyde about it and got this response…

Faye, it was very interesting for me that the old hennery on Myles Road should come up as a potential place of interest for your readers.  As an eleven or twelve year old, I had, as they say, a love/hate relationship with that place. Post WWII, my family owned and operated it for several years.

But, first. a little history; the building which housed our “operation” was one of several which the Atlas Construction Company had built and used during their time in Gander.  This particular building was used by them as some kind of workshop.

My step-father, who was a carpenter with the R.C.A.F. during the war and with the Department of Transport afterwards, renovated one wing of the building to accommodate several hundred laying hens. Wire for the yard in which the hens roamed (free ranging chickens!) was procured from one of the WWII anti-aircraft sites, of which there were several around the airport.  (Large quantities if chicken wire, interlaced with camouflage material were used to cover and thus, hide, strategic parts of those sites.)  We prepared the wire by stripping the material from it (one of my above-mentioned hate relationships!) and then rolling the wire into bundles and trucking it home to use for the yard.

The hens were bought from a poultry farmer on Prince Edward Island, and arrived to us by train as crates of tiny, yellow chicks. The sight of dozens of tiny beaks poking out between the laths which covered the crates was a sight to behold. Little did I realize then how much exercise they would provide for me in just a few weeks!

The eggs were collected daily, washed, graded, packaged and delivered to customers all around the airport. I was involved in all aspects of the operation at some time or another, depending on what needed to be done at any particular time, but my full-time job was delivering all those eggs.

I used my bike for this.  With baskets fastened to the handlebars and the read mud guard I could carry several dozen eggs on each trip. My delivery route took me from the “barn” on the Ferry Command (old terminal) side, through the Canadian Side, and on to the American Side. If only I had a dollar for every egg delivered!        

I hope this short tale of my foray into the poultry business is of interest.
Clyde Burt   HMA ‘53


 Hi Faye;
Reference Clyde’s article on the hennery, I thought you might be interested in a recollection of mine.

Like all children, we had shortcuts leading to many destinations around town.  From the Army Side to our school on Foss Avenue there was a trail through the woods which came out by the hennery.  This quickly became a rest stop where we would linger to watch the chickens and sometimes play tricks.  One trick I remember was to take a stick and run the length of the fence pulling it across the wire; thus, creating a loud noise that startled the chickens and sent them scurrying in all directions.  Since then, I’ve wondered how many fewer eggs did these birds lay that day?   Does anyone else want to ‘fess up?!

Jumping ahead a few years, that young fellow who bicycled around Gander selling those eggs became my husband, who loved fried eggs.  One morning after he came off the midnight shift, I cooked thirteen eggs for his breakfast!

Isn’t it amazing the twists and turns life takes!

Hope someone else has a confession of guilt.       
 Betty Burt  HMA ‘55


I remember the hennery and that Clyde's family ran it, but I have no experience snooping around there, although we would pass it about 4 times a day walking to and from school. via the back road to the Army Side.
 Jim Butler, GA Class of 1959

Oh yeah - we used to call that the "back road" - remember that quite well - Bob Warren and I spent many hours on that road with the girls - Mary and Ina - used to walk them home from school that way - would meet them to go to the old rink on Foss Ave for skating and hockey games - oh yeah, could tell more but my lips are sealed. :-)
Didn't know that there was a hennery on it, though - that must have been before my teen years when I wasn't allowed out of sight of Bldg. 50.
Ron Mosher, GA Class of 1959

I asked Ron Mosher about Morley’s comment during the tour of how the ‘boys from the Canadian side used to come over to the Army side and steal our girls”.
Faye Raynard, GA Class of 1959

In relation to the living areas – Morley (Smith) and Jim (Butler) lived on the Army side – so did Ina (Snook) and Mary (Osmond).  Bob and I lived on the Canadian side – more like the middle of the whole community – on the far east end was the RAF side – that was where the terminal was at that time and where the present terminal is was the American side. 

There wasn’t a whole lot of mixing of kids, other than in school, from areas when we were small simply because the distances between were considered too great for our parents.  But, when we became teens there were no limits.  We grew up differently than teens in most other communities in NL – other than Stephenville, Argentia and possibly parts of St. John’s – because of the influence of military bases which brought in families from other parts of Canada and the rest of the world.  I never realized this as much as when I went to university and started meeting teens from other parts of the province and hearing their stories.  We were more influenced by American and Canadian media and culture than kids who were not in same milieu – even kids in Grand Falls and Corner Brook didn’t have the broad experience that we did because their towns were company owned and so were more closed and controlled.

Great memories!
Ron Mosher, GA Class of 1959

As always, thanks to the Burts and others who responded to this topic of discussion. So much to talk about…keep the comments and suggestions and photos coming…we enjoy them all. You can contact me, Faye at brfr1@verizon with information and feedback. 



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