Description of Historic Place
The West River Petroglyph Site consists of a number of petroglyphs or rock carvings found on sandstone outcrop faces and a freestanding boulder in a wooded area facing the West River located off the Green Road in Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island.
The West River Petroglyph Site is valued as the only known petroglyph site in the province.
The site, close to the former Crosby's Mill site, includes a number of petroglyphs or carvings incised or abraded by means of stone or metal tools dating from the late 19th to mid 20th century, found on four sandstone outcrops and one freestanding boulder near the West River.
These petroglyphs are a very rare occurrence, the only known such carvings in the province.
The site is historically important, located in Bonshaw, a community first settled in the early 1810-1820s. A shipyard was in operation in the area from 1839-1845 and again in the 1870s. Mills dating from the early 1820s were very significant to the development of this area for the commerce resulting from the lumber and grist mills. The Crosby family were settlers in the area since the 1820s and Crosby's Mill was in operation until 1955. As well, this area was a well-known and popular recreation area for fishing, camping and boating. Another historically important component in the area is a section of the former Old Tryon Road or Green Road, an early road between the settlements of Tryon and Charlottetown, which was established circa 1821 and is still visible in the landscape.
The West River Petroglyph Site, a rare and unique facet of Prince Edward Island's history, is located within the expanded Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park.
Source: Heritage Places files, Department of Education, Early Learning & Culture
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
File # : 4320-20/W3
The heritage value of the West River Petroglyph Site is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the location of the petroglyph site in a wooded area, overlooking the West River
- the four sandstone outcrops and one freestanding sandstone boulder with incised markings including the name "W.H.D. McEwen" which appears twice, the place name "Bonshaw" and date "1879", "Heath Crosby 1883", as well as numerous carvings including V shaped marks and tally marks
Other character-defining elements of the West River Petroglyph Site:
- the section of the former Old Tryon Road or Green Road, an early road between the settlements of Tryon and Charlottetown, established circa 1821, still visible in the wooded area