The Chester Municipal Heritage Society

Chester Train Station

The Chester Municipal Heritage Society was established in 1981 to promote and cultivate awareness of the unique heritage of the Municipality of the District of Chester for the enjoyment and benefit of present and future generations through the preservation of historically significant properties and the delivery of educational programming.

the Explore oak Island Display Entrance

Explore Oak Island Display

The Explore Oak Island Display is open by appointment or during posted hours for the Station 20 Shoppe and Museum.

The Curator is available for private tours for small groups, call 902-275-3718 or email: for additional information and availability.

Chester Train Station, 20 Smith Road, Chester, Nova Scotia.

Explore Oak Island Display

A collection of stories, artifacts, maps, art, photos and so much more depicting the treasure hunt at Oak Island.

Picture of the oak tree and pulley first 
                        discovered on Oak Island.

From the Beginings...

Templar knights?
Picture of the oak tree and pulley first discovered on 
                    Oak Island.
Inside display area of the Explore Oak Island Display.

So much to see

The dedication plaque.
Picture of the dedication plaque.
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Condensed History of Oak Island

1795 The treasure hunt begins around 1795 or so when Donald Daniel McInnis is credited with starting it. He and two others, John Smith and Anthony Vaughan dug to a depth of 30 feet. They reportedly discovered oak log platforms at 10, 20 and 30 feet the pit became known as the Money Pit.
1804 Next attempt was the Onslow Company 1804. They dug to 90+ feet and found layers of charcoal, putty and coconut fiber. At 90- feet or so, they found a stone with strange markings on it. The pit flooded and they could not pump it out.
1849 1849 the Truro Company starts to dig. Discovered the water in the Money Pit was salt water and seemed to rise and fall with the tide. They discovered the first flood tunnel at Smith’s Cove, and tons of coconut fiber under the beach. Drilled into what seemed to be a treasure chamber, witnessed the Money Put collapse.
1861 1861, first death happens when a boiler exploded, several scalded, one dead.
1897 1897 the Oak Island Treasure Company finds the “other end” of the flood tunnel ion the Money Pit. Describes as being 4 feet high, 2.5 feet wide, stuffed with beach stones, they tried to block it to no avail. Later while drilling deep in the Money Pit area, they discovered a small piece of parchment at 154 feet, then a metal barrier at 171 feet.
1897 1897 second death occurs, Maynard Kaizer dies when he falls to his death from a hoist.
1909 1909 Henry Bowdoin arrives on scene with a young Franklin Roosevelt, future President of the United States in tow. Controversy ensues.
1936 1936 Gilbert Heddon takes up the challenge, makes many discoveries. Re - discovers the south shore Triangle of Stones that points at the Money Pit 210 feet away. Digs a very deep shaft, discovers broken stones on beach with strange markings.
1959 1959 Robert Restall, motorcycle daredevil and inventor arrives with family in tow. They live in a spartan shack with no electricity, no running water for 6 years. Explores older working, examines the old flood tunnel drains feels he is close to a discovery.
1965 August 17 1965 Robert Restall, his son Bobby, Karl Graeser and Cyril Hiltz overcome by fumes, drown in a shallow shaft on the beach at Smith’s Cove.
1965 October 1965 Robert Dunfield from California tries his luck. He builds the 600 foot long causeway to Oak Island, digs major holes, finds some tantalizing clues.
1967 1967 A new syndicate is formed, Triton Alliance. They do seismic work and deep drilling to discover possible man made voids in the bedrock, over 200 feet deep. Discover many artifacts that point toward a Spanish involvement. One deep shaft (235'), Borehole 10X gives up TV images of what appear to be tools, support beams, a treasure chest and human remains.
1971 1971 Wooden structure under the beach in Smith’s Cove examined. No one knows what it is for or who put it there or. It is named the “U” Shaped Log Structure.
1973 1973 Borehole 10X collapses almost trapping Triton partner Dan Blankenship. 10X is eventually re-opened and enlarged from 27 inches to eight feet in diameter, re - excavated to 181 feet. Partnership sours and 10X goes into moth balls.
2001 2001 Oak Island Tourism Society is founded by John Chattaway. Idea is to re-invigorate the interest in Oak Island and have a major tourism attraction. the “go to” Oak Island web site goes on-line.
2003 2003 Norwegian historical detective Petter Amundsen searches for clues to a new theory. Digs up unusual stones at the end of huge Christian style cross earlier discovered by treasure hunter Fred Nolan.
2005 2005 Oak Island Tourism Society hosts first tours of Oak Island in ten years. A new festival, Explore Oak Island Days receives international attention and is becoming very relevant in the tourism sector.
2006 2006 Dan Blankenship and long time partner David Tobias part company, Dan finds four new partners from Traverse City Michigan.
2006 2006 Fred Nolan does some drilling on his property, results unknown.
2008 March 2008, some drilling resumes on the island with the new consortium, Oak Island Tours Inc. Some holes drilled to as deep as 300 feet, results unknown.
2009 2009 Oak Island Tourism Society folds. Mandate is not attainable.
2010 2010 A new group made up of the treasure hunters, friends and family take over tours.
2011 2011 Oak Island Tours Inc. conducts new seismic work, results unknown. Early Treasure Trove Act repealed, group now works under the Oak Island Treasure Act. Borehole 10X being worked on, new drilling around the Money Pit. Another heart shaped stone found.
2011 Explore Oak Island Display created in 2011 at the Chester Train Station.
2012 2012 EOID enjoys it’s official opening, June 23rd.
2012 2012 Oak Island Tours Inc. Gets a five year treasure hunting license. Some drilling done in the Money Pit area, result are unknown.
2013 2013 Treasure hunting continues. Film producers (Prometheus Entertainment) from Los Angeles head for Oak Island to create a six part series for History TV. Much work being done on Island. Swamp drained, Borehole 10X cleaned up and investigated. Exploration continues. Explore Oak Island Display was used in the pilot.
2014 2014 Bill 68 introduced by the NDP. Treasure hunting may be restricted even more.
2014 2014 The Curse of Oak Island released in January to the public from Prometheus Entertainment as a five part series.
2015 2015 The Curse of Oak Island show continues as do walking tours.
2016 2016 Walking tours continue, treasure hunting continues.
2017 2017 Walking tours continue, popularity is very high, treasure hunting continues as does the TV show that now can boast the highest ratings in the USA for that time slot. Season five (the last) is a go (not the last season at all!!)
2017 2017 Swedish treasure hunter Daniel Ronnstam continues to explore an area away from Oak Island for possible deposit site, he finds tantalizing clues. Interest is growing.
2018 2018 Season six of The Curse of Oak Island continues.
2019 2019 Season seven of the Curse is under development, many new discoveries made. Explore Oak Island Display enjoys new additions; George Bates charts, Tourism poster and tickets, large OI map mounted and on display in Station 20 gift shop, more to come. Swedish treasure hunter still in area, new scans being done.
2020 2020 COVID interferes but treasure hunting resumes. Many new discoveries. New display added, “Treasure Hunter’s Desk.
2021 2021 Late start to treasure hunting. COVID stops a lot of activity.
2022 2022 EOID open all the time. Many visitors enioy our Display. New displays set up, the old Vaughan musket and recognition of our American visitors and treasure hunters.
New Treasure hunting with Daniel Ronnstam, some drilling and metal detecting done. Curse of Oak Island TV show enters it’s tenth season.
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