Argentia and Marquise claims for Expropriated Property
In September 1940, a squad of American army and navy personnel arrived in Placentia Bay to investigate possible base sites. Impressed by the landlocked harbour, and level land that had the potential for airstrip construction, the group recommended building a naval air station at Argentia and an army base in the neighbouring village of Marquise.
The undertaking meant large-scale and long-lasting disruption for the area’s 750 residents. Over the course of a year, the entire populations of both Argentia and Marquise – alongside three cemeteries – had to be relocated.
The properties were expropriated by the Dept. of Public Utilities, Commission of Government, to provide sites for American military / naval bases and installations under the Leased Lands Agreement and American Bases Act (1941).
The process was documented and is now available at The Rooms Provincial Archives. This new online collection consists of 175 photographs (b&w) relating to claims for remuneration for expropriated property in the community of Argentia, and 78 photographs relating to claims in the nearby community of Marquise, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
The photographs document houses, fences, shops and warehouses, household items, hotels, farms, agriculture, vehicles, sheds and garages. These properties were eventually expropriated for military and defence during WWII.
Recommended Archival Collection: Department of Public Works Newfoundland Board of Arbitration records Expropriations claims: Photographs: GN 4.3, Series (Argentia) Click to view the photographs: http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/therooms_permalink.html?key=40866
Recommended Archival Collection: Department of Public Works Newfoundland Board of Arbitration records Expropriations claims: Photographs: GN 4.3, Series (Marquise) Click to view the photographs: http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/therooms_permalink.html?key=38235
Recommended Exhibit: From This Place: Our Lives on Land and Sea Where: Level 4, The Husky Energy Gallery, The Rooms. This exhibition showcases how the province’s peoples connected and are connected, and how different cultures shape this place. See in particular the exhibit cases “The Friendly Invasion.”
Recommended Reading: Houlihan, Eileen (Hunt). Uprooted! The Argentia Story. St. John’s: Creative Publishers, 1992.