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Lunenburg History

The town is one of only two urban areas in Canada or the U.S. to be so honoured. Quebec City is the other.

 

   

1688

   

Census indicates there were 21people at Mirliguèche (ten Europeans and 11 Mi?kmaq), in one house and two wigwams, with half an acre under cultivation

1749

   

Governor Edward Cornwallis sent Commander White with troops in the 20-gun sloop Sphinx to Mirliguècheand had the village destroyed

1753

   

Britain founded Lunenburg as their first colonial outpost in Nova Scotia beyond Halifax. The town was populated mostly by Protestant German, Swiss and French colonists

1754

   

St. John's Anglican Church, the first church in the community, was established

1782

   

Sacking of Lunenburg by American privateers led by Captain Noah Stoddard and relieved by Captain Douglass with the HMS Chatham and 200 Hessians soldiers

1812

   

Privateer schooner Lunenburg launched to fight in the War of 1812 with the United States.

1880

   

Kaulbach House was built for the grandson of John Henry Kaulbach, the high sheriff.

1888

   

The town was incorporated

1921

   

Bluenose is launched at Lunenburg. Considered the queen of the schooner era.

1939

   

World War II - Lunenburg's small shipyards repaired many smaller warships. The Royal Norwegian Navy used Lunenburg as a base.

1960

   

A replica of HMS Bounty from 1787 was built and launched in Lunenburg for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1963

   

Bluenose II was built by Smith and Rhuland and launched in Lunenburg

1992

   

The Federal government propose Lunenburg Old Town to be a National Historic District

1995

   

Lunenburg added to the UNESCO World Heritage List (only the 2nd in North America)

Kaulbach House dates from 1880 but the town of Lunenburg has a much longer history. In 1753, the British founded Lunenburg as their first colonial outpost in Nova Scotia beyond Halifax. The first settlers arrived in June 1753. Mostly Protestant German, Swiss and French colonists, the settlers participated in a formal lottery, choosing cards to determine the plots of land upon which they would settle and build.

The settlers soon discovered that the land was poorly suited to farming. European farmers, faced with rocks, stumps and stubborn soil, became rugged North Atlantic seafarers within two generations. Through the nineteenth and well into the twentieth centuries, Lunenburg became famous for the quality of its schooners, which fishermen sailed to the fish-rich Grand Banks off Newfoundland and the Western Bank off Sable Island. The queen of the schooner era was the famous Bluenose, launched at Lunenburg in 1921.

So too have their descendants accepted and mastered, in the 250 years since then, the assorted card hands dealt to them by geography and nature, and the changing economic landscape

When the fish disappeared and the maritime-based economy foundered late in the twentieth century, Lunenburg re-invented itself yet again, this time diversifying into heritage tourism, capitalizing on its unique location and character, built heritage and cultural legacy

Lunenburg's authenticity is closely tied to its streetscape. Old Town still adheres closely to the grid laid down by colonial planners in the 1750s. There are some 400 major buildings within the old town, 70 percent of them from the 18th and 19th centuries, almost all of them wood, and many colourfully painted. When combined with the town's picturesque location and its brightly painted homes these factors give Lunenburg a unique charm.

In 1992, the federal government recognized Lunenburg's unique historical character by designating the Old Town a National Historic District. Three years later, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, added Lunenburg to its World Heritage List.