A museum in a heritage building
Museum in the time of prohibition...
House of Maxime Albert
The house of 1895 was the family residence of Maxime Albert. It is a good example of vernacular architecture from the Maritimes during this period. Maxime Albert is said to have been at the head of a major alcohol smuggling network. At that time, Maxime Albert would have even dealt with famous characters such as Al Capone and Sam Bronfman. Being a very influential businessman, Maxime Albert was very generous to his community. He donated land for the construction of the presbytery and is also said to have contributed financially to the construction of the village church.
This house represents the unusual history of the village of Saint-Hilaire. It is a true symbol of the golden age of its community. In 1979, the municipality of Saint-Hilaire acquired the site in order to ensure its conservation. Renovations were carried out, respecting vintage building practices between 1980 and 1985. The Maxime-Albert complex was the site of municipal meetings in the 1980s.
The village of Saint-Hilaire invested with New Brunswick Heritage more than $ 50 000 in the restoration of the house in 2016. During the construction, the workers encountered numerous complexities with the exterior walls. These walls had guarded selfishly a secret that only thorough scrutiny was able to divulge. However, these olden walls gave an account of the original construction; a memoire that revealed how the insulation was fashioned with birch bark and old handmade nails, made to last a lifetime. The unconventional structure, bearing a resemblance to a barn with its enormous beams and old wooden pegs, would furthermore give a sense to this entire story. The unique customs of this period, as intriguing and bizarre as it sounds was, for example, to leave a little shoe of a girl within the walls to rid the house of evil spirit. The everyday habits that included little packs of seven cigarettes that looked nothing like what we know today, or even the consumption habits of either the tasty and very old JONH DE KUYPER & SON gin or a little cognac from Paris. Drinking "Sanka" coffee in the morning while reading the news of the latest death of the honorable Sir John McDonald, the old Madawaska paper, or a publication printed by J. D. Gaudet was part of the morning routines. Each of these slight historical accounts merge as one to only compose a miniature section of the entire history of Maxime Albert. The Historical Society will attempt, over the next period of time, to thoroughly comprehend each and every artifact and bestow the true identity of this house.
Until then, an abundance of work remains to be completed, but it is with great pride that this house, being over a hundred years old, is taking back its rightful place amongst our past, present, and our future.
Artifacts found in the walls of the Maxime Albert complex
Sir Fred Lévesque and Sir
from Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Out of season :
by phone at 733-1525
Museum open all summer with exhibition under the theme: