The communities of Birchy Head and Shoal Brook take their names from geographical features, while the community of Glenburnie is a tribute to the Scottish origins of the first settlers. The two smaller communities of Silverton and Silver Point have been incorporated into these three communities
These communities are "enclave" communities in Gros Morne National Park. These communities are not in the park, but are closely tied to the development of park facilities and tourism.
The community of Glenburnie was not settled until the late 1880s. The first settler is believed to have been Hugh McKenzie from New Brunswick. He came to the area to cut wood, but realised the potential of farming in the area.
The early settlers of Shoal Brook were the Anderson, Bailey, Brake, Burden, Curnell, McCauley, and Matthews families who came to the area to fish. Birchy Head was not claimed by any fishermen because of the area steep cliffs.
The land was claimed by the Church of England, Alfred White, Dr. George Prebble and Simon Avery. Most of the residents of the area were involved in farming and fishing. They fished mainly for cod, salmon, and lobster and farmed hay, oats, root crops, potatoes, and raised livestock.
In the 1930s woods operations by Bowaters became another important source of income for the area, and in the 1950s some residents found seasonal employment at the United States Air Force Base in Stephenville. Most of the farmland had gone to hay or pasture land. The communities were incorporated as one town in 1978