The Village of Fredericton Junction was originally named Hartt’s Mills for Thomas Hartt, who established a mill in 1804.
It was renamed in 1869 when the European and North American Railway (Western Extension) was opened between Saint John and Vanceboro, Maine, meeting the Fredericton Branch Railway which ran from this junction into Fredericton.
Fredericton Junction has a rich history that dates back to the War of 1812. The Americans had planned to invade New Brunswick using the long-established trade route from St. Andrews to Fredericton. Their objective was to assault the British military stronghold in Fredericton, which also housed the seat of government. The invasion plan had been formulated by the Americans two years before the war was declared. However, the British, with superior intelligence, devised a counterstrategy to thwart the invasion.
The British established a naval blockade to prevent any potential invasion by sea. They hastily constructed the Great Military Road in 1812, stretching from Fredericton to Fredericton Junction and continuing to St. Andrews.
Three new blockhouses were built along the route: the first in Fredericton Junction, the second at the confluence of the Magaguadavic River and Piskahegan Stream, and the third in St. Andrews. The 104th Regiment manned these blockhouses to safeguard New Brunswick residents from invasion, and the Military Road was significantly upgraded.
The Fredericton garrison could now easily march to the American border, and the route served as the primary communication link between the military forces from Fredericton to St. Andrews. The British, renowned for their strategic planning, set up a courier service to keep their intelligence up-to-date. These couriers were specially trained soldiers with remarkable endurance, able to cover long distances by running or walking.
The blockhouse forts also functioned as way stations for the couriers. A defensive battle plan was developed, with the first line of defense at St. Andrews, equipped with large cannons and a substantial number of troops. The second line of defense was the blockhouse on the Magaguadavic River, strategically positioned to spot and defend against an invasion. Similarly, the third line of defense was the blockhouse located on the high ridge bluff on the North Oromocto River at Fredericton Junction. The strategic Great Military Road proved to be highly effective, as the Americans abandoned their plan to invade Canada, starting with New Brunswick.
Instead, the Americans shifted their focus to Upper Canada, believing that the British would struggle to defend it due to the challenges posed by defending Canada from Britain. As history reveals, the colony made incredible efforts to protect itself. The same soldiers who had served to defend New Brunswick from invasion trekked from Fredericton to Kingston (Upper Canada) during the harsh winter of 1813.
British strategy combined with the well trained British soldiers and well trained colonial soldiers, partnered with the First Nation Warriors, not only stopped the invasion, but soundly defeated the Americans.
Some interesting facts:
- The First Nations Trade Route from the Saint John River via the North Branch of the Oromocto River to Passamaquody Bay was in existence for over 5000 years.
- European settlements used this trade route and built the old St. Andrews Road, portions of which still exist today.
- Thomas Carleton Governor of the day, had selected Fredericton Junction as the new garrison location due to the importance on this trade route. British Command overturned this decision and chose to locate the Garrison in Fredericton.
- The upgrade and fortification of this route in 1812 prevented the American Invasion of Canada through New Brunswick.
As time passed the village flourished. In 1898 Fredericton Junction was a bustling community with a post office, 6 stores, 2 hotels, 1 sawmill, 1 grist mill, 2 churches and a population of 200.
Other things to see in the Junction include Currie House Museum, Fredericton Junction’s local history museum. Filled with artifacts from members of the community and surrounding region the house captures the way life used to be for the people in this area. The buildings and grounds are historical landmarks with rich histories of their own. The grounds are home to the house, barn, picnic area and Robin Hanson’s “ART IN THE PARK” – sculptures that are scattered among the trails between and behind the house and river.
Take a break and relax in Currie Park which is open all year around. Within the park you will find the White Rapids Adventure Trails. You can walk through one of New Brunswick’s greatest white pine forests. Easy walking trails with approximately twenty sculptures carved out of pine trees. Or fish the rapids.
Believe it or not… elephants swam and bathed in the Oromocto River. The years was 1912. The Barnum And Bailey Circus train came to Fredericton Junction. They stayed for two days and put on a full circus program. When the “Greatest Show On Earth” was over, the elephants were marched down to the North Oromocto River by Peterson’s Rock where they washed and watered. The elephant statue in Currie Park commemorates that day.
Fredericton Junction is a small, friendly community situated along the banks of the Oromocto river. It has all of the modern amenities needed for everyday living while still maintaining that small-town charm.
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