Where Gumbo Was #342
Gumbo was found at McAdam Station in New Brunswick, Canada Congratuations, in order of correct guesses received, goes to PortMoresby and George G!
The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) began construction of this station/hotel in 1900 from local granite in the Chateau style. There was an addition put on in 1910. It was a train station with a 20 room hotel, dining room ,huge lunch counter, customs, dormitories and a CPR jail.
It was commissioned by the President of the CPR, Sir William Van Horne, as a way to cater to wealthy passengers that were changing trains for the resort town of St Andrews. They often were going tot CPR's hotel, The Algonquin. Van Horne also had an estate in St Andrews at Minister's Island.
During the early 20th Century,McAdam was the principal junction for trains traveling east and west between Montreal and the Maritimes and north and south from St Stephen to Edmundston. It also moved people in and out the US's Eastern Seaborn States. Lots of troops going to war went through McAdam.
16 passenger trains went through and up to 2000 people a day ate at the lunch counter at the stations peak. And because of the steam engines, all trains stopped at McAdam to be serviced with the stations man made pond. And being the first stop into Canada from the US, people went through customs too.
The station slowly lost its passenger trains when trains became diesel and the last passenger train ran in the 1990's. Now you only get freight trains running through.
McAdam is an architectural gem but what makes the station incredible is the history and the stories of what happened there and the surrounding area.
Just a few:
A German spy, Werner Horn attempted to blow up a bridge at Vanceboro, Maine in 2015 and was captured. It was a critical rail link. Canada supported the WW1 war effort by sending troops and material through McAdam to Halifax and Saint John. He was jailed in the US and Canada for several years and sent back to Germany because Werner was declared insane.
In 1943 Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in McAdam and spotted by a local crowd coming through on a special train and addressed the crowd.
Celebrities and sport heroes like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Marilyn Monroe have all spent a little time at the station on there way to fishing trips and resorts in Canada.
The most interesting stories though are about the people that worked at the station. Young women were housed in the upper floor dormitories and they were the ones that took care of the lunch counter, dining room and hotel. They were supervised by a very strict manager and her assistant. Crawling through a secret passage in the wall was the only way they could go out at night. A passage you can see today. Also some great stories about how the young women asked the manager to go out to dances and the manager said they could if the dishes were done, which was near impossible. A few nights the women did get to go. They threw the dishes in the pond outside and unpacked new ones so the manager wouldn't know. A group of prisoners traveling through on a train descovered the broken dishes when they were allowed to swim in the pond on a hot day.
The Canadian show, "Still Standing" did a excellent episode on McAdam and is really worth watching before you go. The tours of McAdam Station are only from July through September so check the website to make sure the station is open .Tours take like 2 hours and you can easily spend 3 hours there listening to all the stories. Food now is only served on special occasions.