October 7, 2010 – Alexander Graham Bell Historic Museum and Louisbourg Fortress

We awoke to a warm wind and pouring rain and therefore took our time having breakfast.

Our first stop was less than a mile away at the Alexander Graham Bell Historic Museum.  Until today, all we knew about Bell was that he invented the telephone. However, it was his mothers deafness and father’s research into speech that set his life’s path.  He was one of Helen Keller’s early teachers.  Interestingly, he married one of his deaf students who also became his business partner and soul-mate.

Like many other great inventors, he was not a single-faceted person.  Bell helped pioneer aviation in Canada, developed hydrofoil technology (one of his boats recorded speeds of over 100 mph), created a method of making phonograph records on a wax disk, invented a metal detector (which helped locate the bullet which killed President Garfield), worked with sound for underwater sound detection (a forerunner to today’s sonar), invented a device for locating icebergs at sea, built a non-wired telephone using light as a medium, dabbled in animal husbandry, invented an iron lung, comemrcialized x-ray machines, opened a school for teachers of the blind in Boston and was a founder of the National Geographic Society … to name a few of his many and varied accomplishments.

After leaving Baddeck, we ran into another two work zones, but finally reached Sydney (where we would have made time to see the city if it hadn’t been raining) enroute to tour the Fortress of Louisbourg.

with the rain still coming down and the wind still howling …

Construction began in 1722-23; although it took 25 years to be finally completed.  The fortress was the “largest military garrisons in all of New France”.  Many battles were fought and lives lost here because of it.  The fort had the embrasures to mount one hundred and forty-eight guns; however, historians have estimated that only one hundred embrasures had cannons mounted. Disconnected from the main fort, yet still a part of Louisbourg, a small island in the harbor was also fortified. The walls on the island were ten feet high, and eight feet thick. Thirty-one twenty-four pound guns were mounted facing the harbor. The island itself was incredibly small, with room for only a few small ships to dock there, yet it provided the extra protection Louisbourg needed during the sieges of 1745 and 1758; when the British finally dislodged the French.

While most of the buildings are dark, and likely somewhat miserable to live in by today’s standards, the church was bright with large windows.
A long three hour drive brought us back to our campground.
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