Desperately seeking Bob R. — Fredericton’s 50-year-old graffiti mystery
Some Fredericton residents are trying to get to the bottom of a mystery hidden in plain sight in the St. John River.
A small wooden structure in the water next to the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge bears this 50-year-old graffitied message: May 4 73 FHS.
Fredericton resident David McKinley said he’s always wondered who wrote that date, and why.
“I bike to work every summer … I pass it a lot of times,” said McKinley.
The structure itself isn’t a mystery, a remnant of the times when the walking bridge was actually a railway bridge that would swing open to let tall ships pass through.
The graffiti is written high up on the structure, which may partly be explained by the record floods the city suffered in 1973.
“I took a photo of it on May 2, 2018, when the water was just about the same level as it was in 1973,” said McKinley.
“I knew right then they didn’t have to climb it, because the water was almost on top of it.”
There are a couple of clues to go on.
WATCH | Who did this… and how?
Some graffiti doesn’t last very long. But there is graffiti that spans half a century in New Brunswick’s capital city.
While not a guarantee, it could be assumed that whoever tagged it attended Fredericton High School in 1973. And there is also a name: Bob R.
McKinley managed to track down at least one man by that name and initial.
Unfortunately, “it was not him,” said McKinley.
The post laying out the mystery has had plenty of traction on several local Facebook groups, and some enterprising Frederictonians have even started searching through old yearbooks for a student fitting those initial.
“I don’t have any yearbooks, but fortunately there are people in the community that have been going through them. So they’re doing the legwork for me,” said McKinley.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the FHS Class of ’73, so maybe their upcoming reunion may shed light on this mystery.