Historic stone archway collapses after locals spent years trying to save it

·2 min read
A stone culvert archway built back in the 1800s partially collapsed earlier this week, a disappointment to people who were pushing the province to save it. (Shane Fowler/CBC News - image credit)
A stone culvert archway built back in the 1800s partially collapsed earlier this week, a disappointment to people who were pushing the province to save it. (Shane Fowler/CBC News - image credit)

A stone culvert archway built back in the 1800s under a former railway partially collapsed earlier this week, disappointing many who were hoping the province would do something to prevent its destruction.

The structure of carved rock was originally built to allow a stream to flow under the Gibson rail-bed in Pembroke, near Woodstock.

In recent years the archway had become a favourite destination for hikers, photographers, and even wedding parties looking for a unique photographic background.

The granite archway in Pembroke, near Woodstock, was built in the 1800s under the former Gibson rail line that has since been converted into the Wolastoq Valley Trail.
The granite archway in Pembroke, near Woodstock, was built in the 1800s under the former Gibson rail line that has since been converted into the Wolastoq Valley Trail.(Shane Fowler/CBC News)

But after standing for more than a century, the arch was crumbling and locals pleaded with the province to take steps to restore it.

"It makes me feel really sad and disappointed in the fact that there was hope there in getting it done," said Tammy McLean, an amateur historian. "But now the hope is gone."

Local historian Tammy McLean says she's sad and disappointed nothing was done to save the structure.
Local historian Tammy McLean says she's sad and disappointed nothing was done to save the structure.(Shane Fowler/CBC News)

Less than 24-hours after part of the archway caved in, construction crews were on the scene digging up the culvert under the supervision of the Department of Natural Resources.

The collapse resulted in the closure of the Wolastoq Valley walking trail while excavators and dump trucks began work.

"The Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development is aware of the washout near the Northampton Culvert," said department spokesperson Nick Brown in a statement to CBC News. "Staff have been on the scene to ensure that the area is safe and secure. We will continue to monitor the situation closely."

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The province hasn't said what plans it has to replace the archway, but McLean says construction crews told her they're digging out the old granite stones and will put in a regular steel culvert.

McLean, who was taking photos of the construction, hopes to be able to take home one of the stones for herself to preserve the memory of the arch.

"It's a sad scene because I try to preserve history," said McLean. "Because if you don't preserve history, you have nothing."