History: Murray River
Rural Municipality of Murray River, PEI
Incorporated 1955 | Population 337 (2021 Cencus)
The Murray River Pines is located by the MacLure dam. This elegant grove of red and white pines highlights one of PEI’s most beautiful settings. This natural area occupies four hectares (10 acres) on the east side of MacLure’s Pond, at the western side of the village of Murray River. Located on Provincial crown land, the stand is one of the best examples of old growth pine forest with some of the trees dating to pre-1870. The trail is approximately two km in length.
• In 1808 the MacLure dam was built to provide waterpower for the gristmill and sawmill. Some buildings are still standing around the dam. Today there is still a depression in the ground, which stretches right to the shore. This is where a shipyard was located which built the MacLure’s vessels before the turn of the century.
• Prior to the year 1940, there were no refrigerators; some households would have large blocks of ice cut out of the dam, which would then be stored in their icehouses. These blocks of ice would be completely covered with sawdust, which would keep the ice in a solid form until late in the summer. This was the only way to keep milk and other perishables as fresh as possible.
• Mussel Mud was also a business at the MacLure Dam. Over time, deep beds of shell and mud built up in the former estuary. These beds were called “mussel mud” and contained neutralizing shell and fertilizer for land, which had become acidic and nutrient poor through years of farming. Mussel mud was a valuable resource that was harvested and sold once the ice was strong.
Enterprising individuals would haul a digging frame equipped with a mud scoop onto the ice and using a horse powered capstan, winched in a rope that lifted a scoop of mud from the bottom to be sold to farmers waiting in line with their sleigh. The heavy ice only lasted a short time so farmers would often deposit the mud along the bank for later movement and get in line for another load.
Interim Chief Administrative Officer:
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Fridays, 9AM – 3PM