As we celebrate the community’s pithy history, exceptional snowclearing, and elevator,
it is interesting to note how few Pearlburghers can locate the mound that gives the
municipality its name. And how many know that the promontory has yet to be scaled?
The first recorded attempt to “mount the Pearl” was by an expeditionary party of Sir
Dudley Wigglingham, a widely despised contemporary of the more generally loathed
Sir Humphry Gilbert – both uncles and cousins to the Queen and slayers of Irishmen.
Arriving in St. John’s harbour on the Bark Auld Slut Sir Dudley, mad from knotty chromosomes
and ergot rye mould in the ship’s provisions, said he would claim the high land to the west
in the name of Nancy. The remains of the crew, showing all the indications of having
been cannibalized while still living, are buried beneath the tennis courts in Bowring Park.
More than a century passed before the pioneer adventurer, showman, and self-styled
Western Bayman Xavier King Cocksauce next attempted the hill. Given to fits of paranoia
and a committed kleptomanian, the buckskin clad King Cocksauce slipped away from
camp under cover of darkness with all his team’s horses. Those left behind stayed where
they were to and established Goobies. King Cocksauce was forced to eat all of his mounts
but one, Bess, which he married, never getting any closer to Mount Pearl than Paddy’s Pond
where his descendants still keep a barn.
Elwood MacPherson, the private secretary to Sir Richard Squires, was headed to Mount Pearl
with incriminating documents and a two year supply of whiskey after fleeing the
St. John’s riot of April 5, 1932. Frequently disoriented, feeble-minded, and only in
office as a favour to his domineering father, the notorious bagman Boner MacPherson,
Elwood got as far as a friend’s countryplace in Topsail where, over an emotional long
weekend of full-contact cronyism, he was put in various patronage positions.
During the Second World War, the United States Air Force was to use Mount Pearl as a
practice bombing target, even deeming it, in jest, Mount Pearl Harbour. The project was
scrapped after the base commander at Fort Pepperrell absentmindedly doodled some
racist cartoons of Newfoundlanders and African-American servicemen on the back
of the top secret planning document.
The Lithuanian Inventor and static electricity visionary Paavo Lepmets was awarded seven
million dollars by the Smallwood government in the hope of erecting a massive lint accumulation
tower on the highest point of Mount Pearl. Fully charged the great shaft was to have made the
entire northeast Avalon the only fully lint free jurisdiction in the world. But after cash payment
for the project was delivered to a Munich address, Lepmets disappeared.
Persons wishing to climb it are urged to exercise extreme caution and to contact the
City of St. John’s for the appropriate permits for, as with most things interesting about
Mount Pearl, the hill itself is actually within the boundaries of the capital city.
By Ed Riche