The Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society
While the Farm Museum is certainly the largest and most visible of the Society’s projects, it is not the only one. The Society’s first project, in 1973, was to take on the task of preserving the former Methodist Chapel at the top of Long Hill. Details of its history gradually emerged through many years of dedicated research. Some restoration work has been attempted but basic maintenance consumes most of the funds raised. The interior has been restored, in part, to an 1870s period when it underwent its first renovation. Less is known about its original 1830s appearance.
The building, now known as the Cole Harbour Meeting House, has been designated a provincial heritage property. This was largely based on information showing it to be one of the most important remaining sites in the history of Methodism in the Maritimes. It was the site of the recreation of an early 19th century service during the 1998 national Methodist Historical Society conference.
It is used occasionally for ecumenical services such as the annual Harvest Service, exhibits, and special events. It is also available for small weddings and other appropriate uses.
One of the Society’s most demanding roles continues to be its efforts to protect and raise awareness of the natural history of the Cole Harbour area. Beginning with the view from Long Hill, it has actively advocated protection of the saltmarsh and surrounding lands, views, watercourses, and wildlife habitat. Education and promotion are backed by research and recording.
Over a quarter century of information gathering, public education and enthusiastic advocacy, beginning in the early 1970’s, was in large part the catalyst for acquisition of large tracts of land by the province for the Cole Harbour/Lawrencetown Coastal Heritage Park System. The newest addition to this park system is the Cole Harbour Heritage Park on Bisset Road. The Society maintains an active role in promoting limited and careful use of this and other sensitive lands in and around the saltmarsh.