Blackville, New Brunswick
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into History of Miramichi Valley. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2014.|
The first post office opened in the area in 1842, under the community name "Decantillon's"; the area known as The Forks was also serviced by this post office. In 1847, these areas collectively became known as Blackville, as the area was the largest population centre in the Parish of Blackville. The parish, created in 1830 when it was partitioned from the Parish of Ludlow, had been named in honour of William Black, the acting governor of the colony of New Brunswick from 1829 to 1831.
Historical population of Blackville:
Since its incorporation in 1966, Blackville had been serviced by a municipal government consisting of a mayor and four at-large councillors. In May 2012, the number of council positions was reduced from four to three. The current mayor is Andrew Hawkes, a former electrical engineer who has held office since November 2013. He succeeded the retiring Harold "Hal" Muck, who had been serving since May 2012.
The village is within the federal electoral district of Miramichi, represented by MP Tilly O'Neill-Gordon of the Conservative Party of Canada. Blackville is within the provincial electoral district of Southwest Miramichi, and is represented by MLA Jake Stewart of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick.
Blackville's economy was once tied to the forest industry. A large sawmill that employed 200 workers had been operated in the village by industrial conglomerate UPM Kymmene, but it closed in 2007 as a result of economic pressures.
Blackville has a median income of $19,846 for individuals, and $40,207 for households. Blackville's unemployment rate stands at 27%.
Blackville is home to a single financial institution, Blackville Credit Union, the oldest of its kind in New Brunswick.
Tourism and accommodations
There are numerous privately owned fishing lodges in the Blackville area, where anglers can purchase accommodations and the services of a fishing guide. Several notable figures, including the Prince of Wales and baseball legend Ted Williams, have spent fishing trips in Blackville. The village also hosts a municipal park, located on the site of the village's first sawmill, and is an access point to an extensive snowmobile trail system.
Popular local watering holes include Nine Pines, where one can find local live entertainment on Thursday nights; and Burke's, a traditional diner where one can find classic-style fish and chips and an array of home-cooked meal options. Two pizza chains, Trio Pizza and Pizza Twice, also call Blackville home.
Cellular service is available in the village to anyone subscribed to a Bell Canada affiliate.
Blackville is considered the Salmon Capital of the Miramichi. It boasts plenty of excellent fishing pools, and New Brunswick yields tens of thousands of fish every year for anglers. Atlantic salmon fishing in North America is restricted to fly fishing only and there are strict seasons, catch limits and other restrictions. Non-residents of New Brunswick are required to hire a licensed guide to fish for Atlantic salmon. Guides are available locally and one can be hired to serve up to three anglers. The Main Southwest Miramichi is also one of only a few remaining rivers in which the fishing rights are still privately owned in North America and fishing access can be difficult unless arranged through a commercial sporting camp or outfitter. Numerous salmon flies were credited as invented in the Blackville area, including the Blackville Special, Reliable and Oriole. The Miramichi River produces nearly fifty percent of all the rod-caught salmon in North America.
The Dungarvon Whooper is a tale told all throughout New Brunswick, which occurred along the Dungarvon River, which runs near Blackville, along with the Bartholomew River. The tale is a terrifying one, involving a young man working as a cook in a lumber camp who was murdered. According to the tale, the man's ghost makes a loud whooping and yelling noise each night in the forest where he was murdered. Any young person from Blackville, or the surrounding area is likely to have been told the story, either to simply scare them or perhaps to scare them away from going deep into the dense forests that surround Blackville, for their own safety.
The old passenger express steam train that ran from the Southwest Miramichi Valley to the area now known as the city of Miramichi was called the "Dungarvon Whooper," in honour of the legend. A wood carving of the Dungarvon Whooper was erected in the Blackville Municipal Park in 2007.
Blackville School, grades K - 12, is a public school in the New Brunswick school board's District 16. This is the only grade school in Blackville, with students occasionally transporting to other Miramichi schools instead (Such as Miramichi Valley High School - also in District 16). Currently, the Principal of Blackville School is Mrs. Trudy Brophy. According to the school website, Blackville School's motto is "No success without labour."
The school's mascot, the golden eagle is displayed proudly throughout the school, as well as on the school's website. In addition to various common school services, the school also provides a breakfast program for Blackville students. This includes toast with jam, or cheese whiz, along with milk, kept running by volunteer support and donations.
The current school, located on MacLaggan Drive on property donated by the MacLaggan family, is not the original location. The original Blackville School was located on Alcorn Drive, near the present-day skating rink; the school burned down in the early 1970s. The current location features up-to-date technology, including SMARTBOARDS in every classroom in the school, as well as at least 1 computer with internet access per classroom.