Local history: The Rocking Stone

The Rocking Stone. Photo: Nova Scotia Archives

An oversized but otherwise unremarkable looking rock, known to geologists as an “erratic,” was once one of Halifax’s most beloved natural wonders.                    

You can find the Rocking Stone in Kidston Lake park in Spryfield, a short stroll past through the Kidston Farm gate at the lower end of present-day Rockingstone Road. In the 1800s, summer adventurers would pack a picnic lunch and head to the site, enjoying a swaying adventure as they dined atop the rock.

By the time David Honeyman, a geologist and the first curator of the provincial museum, visited it in 1880, scientists understood that is was a glacier erratic, a stone transported by a glacier, randomly deposited when the ice receded. The Rocking Stone remained perched in its place for some 12,000 years.

It captivated Honeyman. “I was astonished by its imposing appearance,” he wrote. “Having reached its top by a ladder … I enjoyed a strange rock in this wonderful cradle.”

Sadly, the stone’s natural rocking has come and gone over the years. Reports have it that an “assault” by visiting sailors or the over-enthusiastic rocking of locals wore down its pivot, leaving the rock stationary. (Although some say that with a sturdy lever and a bit of determination, you can still budge it).

The Mainland South Heritage Society are keepers of the story of the Rocking Stone. Learn more on their Facebook page.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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