Marysville was a planned community developed at the height of the industrial revolution when it was becoming not only fashionable to provide industrial workers with better living accommodations, but also proven to be more economically efficient and profitable. Industrialists were finally realizing that providing workers with better housing resulted in more productivity from them. Alexander “Boss” Gibson planned the community so that his mansion was the epicentre of the community and was located on the west side of the Nashwaak River overlooking the cotton mill on the east side of the river. The cotton mill workers all lived in 58 duplex brick tenements beside the cotton mill. There were a number of local names to describe certain areas of the community like Brick Hill, Mud Alley, Punkin Centre, Front Row, etc. The managers, including Gibson, lived on the west side of the Nashwaak in a long row of houses locally known as Nob Hill.
Marysville is situated on both sides of the beautiful Nashwaak River. The former rail line, built by Gibson to move products to and from his production lines, has been converted into walking/bike trails that are used extensively by the community. For such a small community, Marysville has more than six religious denominations represented. A longstanding and active Scouting movement is now open to both boys and girls. Gibson also provided public space in his community with a large park in front of his home and established one of the first large baseball fields in the province, which still exists today. During ball season, there are three ball fields that are in constant use with the Fredericton Royals holding their home games on Marysville’s Baseball Hill. Other summer activities include tennis, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming at the community pool. In the winter, there are several great sliding hills, an outdoor rink, and the trails are great for cross-country skiing.
Along with the aforementioned churches and sporting activities, Marysville has several community-based organizations. Over the years, The Heritage Committee has assisted in the development and creation of special entry signs such as the “Welcome to Historic Marysville, Canada's Only Intact 19th Century Mill Town, National Historic District”. It has also created a series of fifteen information pods scattered throughout Marysville on both sides of the Nashwaak River, and applied for and received the national designation of Alexander “Boss” Gibson as a Person of National Historic Significance. The Heritage Committee has an ongoing oral history project that captures the stories of days gone by and preserves them in the Provincial Archives for future reference and research, publishes a yearly Heritage Journal, participates in regional exhibits and lectures to retell the history of this unique community, and holds the annual Dr. Murray Young Award Dinner.
The Marysville Days Committee holds a yearly celebration for the community that includes such activities as a parade, dances for young and old, community BBQ and supper, as well as a community church service with proceeds going to charity. One of the most popular events hosted by this group is the Amazing Heritage Race. This activity is held for youth who are sent on a tour of the town with designated points where they learn traditional activities from their past. Activities include churning butter, rolling a skein of yarn, log rolling, snap apple and playing marbles.
The Marysville Y’s Men were established in 1985, and are involved in the community in numerous ways. This group provides scholarships to local students, most notable, the “Chris Bubba MacPherson” scholarship, which is awarded to an outstanding athletic student who best exemplifies Chris’s involvement in local sporting activities. They also donate to the breakfast, reading, and library programs in the local school (Alexander Gibson Memorial School), South Devon Boys’ and Girls’ Club, and seniors’ homes in the community. The Y’s Men hold a community breakfast 10 months of the year to help raise funds for these activities and build community spirit.
The blueprints for the cotton mill were drafted by the Boston Architechual firm Lockwood and Green.
As an intact mill town, Marysville allows citizens and visitors alike to have a peek back in time, with the massive cotton mill and the row housing still in place. Today there are 100 buildings still standing and in use since the founding of the community. Along with the designation of Alexander “Boss” Gibson as a Person of National Significance, the community is recognized as the 6th National Historic District in the country and the mill is recognized as a National Historic Site, by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Some residents have generations of family that have lived in Marysville and welcome newcomers with their rich history. This year marks the 150th year since Alexander “Boss” Gibson set foot on the Nashwaak. A combined committee of the various community groups has been formed and is actively planning several large community events to celebrate this occasion.