Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
A circle of trees is all that is left to mark the Rose farm. Located on a height of land overlooking the city of St John’s, the farm was expropriated by the government in 1956 to make way for the new Confederation Building. The Rose family had worked this farm for more than 70 years. At the time when their farm was handed over to the province, the Rose dairy farm had about 25 head of cattle, and the Rose family was making a good living selling milk and vegetables door to door in St. John’s. “They didn’t think much of the government at the time,” says Gary Rose, sipping tea at his kitchen table. A fourth generation farmer, he says, “There were not good feelings over it.” Today, opposite the Confederation Building, facing it on the Prince Philip Parkway, is a statue of the Portuguese explorer, Gaspar Corte Real. Where that statue stands, was where the Rose farm house stood, at the top of Gooseberry Lane. The circle of trees which surrounded the farm house is still there. The Confederation Building and the College of the North Atlantic stand on what was the Rose farm. Faced with expropriation, the Rose family did not give up farming. They moved their farm to Cadigan’s Road in Logy Bay and have continued farming ever since, through two more generations. And they received a Century Farm Award in 2007 to acknowledge their family’s determination to continue farming across five generations. William Rose, age 25, arrived in St. John’s from Scotland in 1883. He purchased a parcel of land on Mahon’s Lane (Gooseberry Lane today), off Portugal Cove Road, on the outskirts of the city. There, he kept cattle and grew vegetables. He made a living selling milk and vegetables door to door in St. John’s. Throughout the generations, William’s son Leo joined the farm, as did his son in turn, R. Paul Rose. For five years, the three generations of Rose men worked the farm together, until William’s death in 1948. Eight years later, in 1956, when R. Paul had a young family himself, the Rose dairy farm on Gooseberry Lane came to an end through expropriation. In the 1950s, the Rose families became aware of possible expropriation. Looking to the future, they began buying land in Logy Bay near St. John’s. Two years before they were required to leave their farm on Gooseberry Lane, the Rose’s had already acquired enough land to relocate their enterprise. The Rose’s 80-acre farm on Cadigan’s Road in Logy Bay is a prosperous business. The dairy herd has grown to 150 head of cattle. The Rose’s still sell their milk in St. John’s – no longer door to door by the bottle – but to a large processor. Gary and his twenty-three year old son Matthew now work the farm together and Gary’s two daughters help out with the milking every second weekend as well. His wife Marjorie helps keep the books, outside her own full-time job. These are the fourth and fifth generations on the farm. The Rose farm is truly a family farm, blessed with perseverance to keep a farm in operation even in the face of expropriation. Gary Rose was only a baby when his family moved to Logy Bay, but he knows why the Roses continued farming, when other families perhaps would not have done so. “I suppose it was in their blood,” he says. “It was their livelihood, it was what they were used to.” All content and images copyright Agricultural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Agricultural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is mandated to collect and honour the history of agriculture in this province and to raise public awareness of agriculture as a theme in the story of the province. In 2005 the Society created the Century Farm Award which is meant to identify, recognize and honour any farm family who have continuously farmed the same land for one hundred years or more and who continue to farm it at the present time. This award represents the pioneering agricultural history of the province: some farms supplied the growing town of St. John’s with milk, produce, meat and forage for livery stables; other farms supplied vegetables and butter to fishing communities by coastal boat; and others sent produce and dressed poultry by rail to the new resource towns, such as Grand Falls. Some of the early farmers came directly from the British Isles and others came to Newfoundland from earlier settlements in Nova Scotia. From their early beginnings these farms have survived as productive agricultural businesses by adapting successfully to changing market demands and changing economic circumstances and by adopting innovative technology. They have kept their land in good heart through as many as half a dozen generations. The Century Farm families have earned the Century Farm Award in recognition for their contribution to the history of our province and for their commitment to agriculture in the province’s future.
Location and History
Not specified (Newfoundland)