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|Vanished Industries||The Evaporator|
|MacIntyre's Wool Mill||The Demonstration Building|
|Sawmills||Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests|
|Butter and Cheese Company||Box Factory|
Eighty years ago the village was a hive of industry. There was a furniture factory or cabinet maker's shop, a tannery, a boot and shoe manufacturing establishment, a saddlery or harness maker's shop, a hatter who made felt and beaver hats, two lumber yards and a brickyard where bricks were hand moulded. There was also a grist or flour mill, a carding mill and several sawmills. The carding and sawmills were always busy, the latter running a day and a night shift in the spring and early summer. The light provided for nightwork was from tallow candles in perforated tin lanterns. There were blacksmith shops and six general stores. The lighting in houses and churches depended upon tallow candles prepared by almost every housekeeper. Many hundreds of dipped tallow candles were made each year as well as symmetrical ones manufactured in tin moulds. Spinning weaving and knitting and the braiding and sewing of straw hats [called "cow's breakfasts"] were sufficient household duties for the women, whose work was as valuable as the men's.
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OLD MACINTYRE'S WOOL MILL
More than 80 years ago on the bank of the Phinney Brook which flowed across a pasture situated 200 yards south of Highway 201, there stood an old water-powered mill. The farmers from the surrounding countryside came to this mill to have their wool carded. The sheep were shorn in the spring and the clipping was done by hand. The fleeces were thoroughly washed by the women in lukewarm water. They were spread on the grass to dry during the day and were then taken in at night. Then came the cleaning. Every lock of wool was picked apart by hand. After many days the wool was ready for the mill. The wool was wrapped in clean cloth and sewn securely to avoid mishaps on the way to the mill.
The miller, John MacIntyre was an old man and he lived alone in his small house beside the mill. He was a man of few words. He was stern and sour with no intimate friends. As he grew older he became even more crusty and withdrawn from his fellowmen. One night his house burned to the ground. The neighbours found what remained of his body but no trace was ever found of his hidden money. Since the money consisted entirely of coins the fire could not have destroyed it. It was concluded that Mr. MacIntyre had been attacked in the night by persons unknown who beat him up, took the money and set fire to the building. His death marked the end of wool carding in this part of the province.
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The next sawmill to open Lawrencetown after John Lunn began his mill was owned and operated by Ernest Whitman and Miner Daniels. This mill was situated just above the falls on the brook and the machinery from the mill was later set up further downstream, near the home of Mrs.Gerald Slauenwhite, where they began a new mill. The mill was sold to Ernest Balcom around the year 1913. In November, 1913, Mr. Balcom began to use his mill to generate electricity for Lawrencetown. This was the first time Lawrencetown had had any electric power. It was later produced by a power house erected on the north end of the dam built across the river, just below the bridge. There was a government-built fishway on the south end of the dam. Ernest Balcom eventually sold the mill to Mr. Owen Naugler. Mr. W.A Hills was the last person to operate this mill.
Mr.Andres Rosengreen also had a mill on Phinney Brook. His mill was closer to the river and was begun in 1893, when he moved from Halifax to Lawrencetown. In addition, Mr.Rosengreen had a mill on the bank of the river west of the south end of the bridge.
These mills were operated during the spring, summer and fall months. The power for the mill was provided by water from Phinney Brook. A dam was built near Clyde Steadman's house. A sluice way to the north of the dam channelled the flow to the mill's large water wheel. When Mr.Rosengreen first moved here he established a barrel making industry at the river mill. Logs were cut into planks at the mill and then made into staves. The barrels manufactured from these staves were stored in the upstairs part of the mill until they were ready to be sold to the farmers. Farmers used the barrels for shipping apples. Andres Rosengreen sold his mill in 1905 and he later moved to Bridgewater. A few years later the government purchased the mill and around 1920 demolished it.
There was also a grist and sawmill on the Annapolis River to the south-east of the old survey school which was in operation during the late 1800's.This was own by John Brown.
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THE LAWRENCETOWN BUTTER AND CHEESE MANUFACTURING COMPANY
In the late 1800's a cheese factory was built by the farmers of the Lawrencetown area. The one storey building, which was 40 feet wide and 60 feet long, was situated where the Texaco garage now stands. In 1916 the Lawrencetown Butter and Cheese Manufacturing Company was producing 60,000 to 70,000 pounds of butter per year. When Mr. A.W. Clark arrived in Lawrencetown in 1916 his job was to take over the factory because the previous manager, Mr. Hawksworth, was going to retire. In the early 1900's all the cheese was made by Mr. Hawksworth while the butter was made by a young man named Mr. Bill A.L. Crosbey. After Mr. Hawksworth retired cheese production ceased. When Mr. Clark arrived in the early spring of 1916, he took over the butter making from Mr. Crosbey. Mr. Clark continued to make butter until 1933. In March, 1916, Mr. Hawksworth died and full management of the plant was turned over to Mr. Fred W. Bishop of Paradise, who was the president of the creamery. Mr. Edgar Schaffner was vice-president and Mr. J.B. Jefferson was secretary and treasurer. The creamery had four directors: Mr. Arthur Phinney of Paradise, Mr. Allen Morse, Mr. Morse Balcom, and Mr. Stanley Hall. Some of the products of this factory were shipped to Mr. R.B. Caldwell in Halifax, and some went to Wolfville, where they were used at the college. The butter was sold in two pound packages called flats and in bulk cases of five pounds. The cost of the butter was from forty-five to sixty cents for two pounds.
The cream was brought to the creamery by horse and wagon. It was gathered three times a week and the men who collected it had different routes: Clarence, Paradise, South Williamston, and Bridgetown. Among the drivers were: Mr. Elden Marshall of Clarence, Mr. Byron Morse of South Williamston and Ernie Foster of Bridgetown. West Paradise had various drivers. The people who lived on the mountains brought their own cream to the plant. Once the cream arrived at the plant, it was dumped in big vats because there was not any pasturization in those days. Mr.Clark graded the cream for the percentage of butter fat and the farmers were paid accordingly. The factory had a cold storage area which was not very efficient. Ice was put in tubs to keep the butter cold and was obtained from the Annapolis River. The factory had an ice house and during the winter months it was filled with 900 pounds of ice to be used during the hot summer months. The milk had to set from 6 a.m. until noon to get the cream. The drivers were paid no less than $3.00 per trip. Mr.Clark arrived at the factory at 4 a.m. in order to get things started, such as firing the boiler, filling the tubs with ice, cleaning the boiler and preparing the churn. The latter was six feet in diameter and was driven by a steam engine. The butter was wrapped in parchment with the name on it. They used 3/4 oz. of salt to every pound of butter and a little butter colouring was added. In 1923 the factory was sold to Mr. J.D. MacKenzie. Mr MacKenzie tore it down because it was taking a lot of business from his Middleton factory. There was another creamery in South Williamston where Mr. Harry Bishop lived, now the home of Mr.Savary. This factory was much like the one Mr. Hawksworth ran in Lawrencetown.
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THE APPLE WAREHOUSES
In the early 1900's there were five large apple warehouses in Lawrencetown. One warehouse was where Mr. Leon Fiske's machine shop stands and was managed by Mr. Frank Longley. A warehouse was located on the site of the old Fire Department building. East of the old Fire hall were three warehouses, two presently used by the Beaver Fruit Co-Operative and one that burned.
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Apples which had fallen off the trees were taken in bags to the evaporator situated where the old fire station is. They were dumped out of the bags outside the building and were shoveled into bushel boxes with a forklike instrument which had dull tongs. About twenty full boxes were put on a trolley which was pushed by hand into the evaporator. Inside there were about 15 motored powered paring machines that were operated by men and women. The workers put the apples on the forks of the paring machines which then peeled, cored, and "kicked off" the apple. The apples were kicked into a wooden trough and they idled onto an endless belt. Six or seven women removed any remaining skin from the apples. The apples rolled into a slicer where they were sliced from the top to the bottom like a pineapple. The slices went onto a conveyor belt and passed up to the second floor of the three storey building. Here the apples were bleached with sulphur. Then a man with a specially designed fork spread them over the entire floor space, four layers deep. This was a kiln, with a furnace below it. During the night the heat was turned on in the kilns and when the bottom apples were dried, a man turned them over with a fork. Once the slices were dried they were put in boxes and either shipped to England or sold in the Annapolis Valley. The evaporator was in operation during the fall and winter months. About 5 cords of wood were used to keep the furnace going during the night. Ezekiel Acker cut and delivered most of the wood which the farmers supplied for the evaporator. The apple evaporator burned down about 1935.
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THE BIRTH OF THE DEMONSTRATION BUILDING
For sometime the Federal Government had been planning the erection of an Agricultural Demonstration Building. Three contenders - Bridgetown, Lawrencetown and Middleton - vied for the honour of having this building within their domains. Following much hard work and many meetings with Dr. Melville Cummings of the Nova Scoita Agriculture College, ably assisted by Mr. J. Elvin Shaffner [father of Miss Ethel Shaffner], Mr. Leonard, Mr. W. Elliott, Dr. J.B. Hall and several other interested citizens, the Lawrencetown site was chosen. The late Mr. Edmund Slauenwhite did the leveling, drainage and ditching for the building. It was completed during World War One and immediately thereafter the Department of Agriculture offered short courses to farmers on various aspects of farming. The Women's Institute also held short courses on cooking and related subjects.
Here, too, in an especially designed room, which included beautiful wood paneling, book lined shelves and a fireplace with brass andirons, the Literary Club members would present skits. One of the best remembered of these was "The Wives of Henry VIII". The Literary Society's collection formed the nucleus of what is now the Lawrencetown Library. It is regrettable that in enlarging the buildings to their present size, those who did not appreciate beauty chose to destroy the Society's room with its beautiful interior by converting it into a furnace room. By 1967 the grounds contained over a dozen buildings. The Federal Civil Service maintains a staff in the northern portion of the Demonstration Building. Their work is carried on in close association with the farmers in the area. The auditorium of the Demostration Building has been used extensively by the town for plays, concerts, dances, political meetings and even school closings until the new high school was opened. For about six years (1941-47) it sheltered grades one and two due to the over-crowded conditions at the school.
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THE NOVA SCOTIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY NURSERY
The nursery got its start in 1926 when a Dane, Mr. A.M.O. Gold established it in the field of the Harry Muir property south of the Gielfeldt lot. The original nursery was 100 feet long by 20 feet wide. Trees were grown from seed which had been prepared in seed beds. Spruce, pine of many varieties, hemlock, walnut, ash and several other types were grown. Later the nursery was expanded to cover an area of 500 yards by 100 yards. There was also a beautiful rock garden. In 1949-50 the nursery was expanded to include its present location, on a farm east of the Margeson Brook. The first forester in Nova Scotia was Otto Schierbeck, a good friend of Mr. Gold. The nursery employed five men and during shipping season, April 15 to May 15, about twenty men were employed. Three year old trees were sent all over Nova Scotia for reforestation purposes. The only charge was for freight or express. In 1952 Mr.Gold transferred control of the nursery to the Nova Scotia Provincial Government and it then came under the direction of R.K. Allen who was the District Forester at that time. In 1957 Mr. Allen entered the field of reforestation on a full time basis and since then production has increased continuously. In 1964 the million tree mark was reached in annual production. Between 1927 and 1967 , 12.5 million trees were raised and distributed and of these, 5.4 million were produced between 1957 and 1967.
The permanent staff of the nursery has increased from three to four since 1967 while the casual staff has increased from thirty to sixty-five. The production has tripled from one million to three million seedlings and transplants annually. Since being transferred to the provincial government a satellite nursery has been started at West Paradise. Between the two nurseries they expect to produce eight million seedlings by 1980.The production of landscape shrubbery and stock for provincial parks has expanded in both numbers and species. Three green houses operate as needed to supplement production from the nursery seed beds and for experimental purposes.The budget has increased to $330,000 annually, $ 224,000 of which is for salaries. The nursery owns 100 acres of cleared land which is used for nursery purposes only and controls an additional 800 acres of cleared land and woodlot. The seedlings are used throughout Nova Scotia for crown land planting and private use. There are 430 acres of land in Paradise, know as the the Morse Arboretum, which are under the direct control of nursery personnel for the growing of trees for both educational and scientific purposes through the Forest Tree Improvement Project. In the fall of 1966 the seed extraction plant, formerly at Shubenacadie, was moved to Lawrencetown nursery location to better facilitate control over the collection and storage of seed. The main species of seeds extracted here are :red spruce, white spruce, Norway spruce, red pine, white pine, and balsam fur. Buildings have been expanded and new buildings erected and the old dam across Margeson's Brook, which was originally constructed under Captain Gold's direction, has been replaced.
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BOX FACTORY IN LAWRENCETOWN
In March 1965, a box factory was established in Lawrencetown. Mr.Allison Ogilvie was employed by Pacel Baltzer of Aylesford in his fruit box factory until Mr Baltzer decided to go in for extensive farming.Mr.Ogilvie purchased the Baltzer machinery and set up his business on the Station Road in Lawrencetown. Just any type of wood would not do for the veneer boxes. Scouting located stands of choice poplar needed for the veener which comprised the boxes. These poplar trees were cut down and the logs put through the veneer lather and on the stitcher. Mrs.Ogilvie then spread the boxes in the sun to dry. The strawberry boxes were shipped to local and other markets. During the first year orders called for delivery in excess of 400,000 boxes and 20,000 flats. After berry season small fruit boxes were made. Mr.Ogilvie eventually sold his business and it later burned down.
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A monument industry was begun in Lawrencetown in 1960 by Mr. Boyd Gehue near the home of his brother, Mr. Clyde Gehue. In 1963 Boyd sold the plant to his brother due to poor health. The monument industry ended in 1969 because of lack of experienced help. Grey granite was acquired from the Nictaux quarry while black granite was shipped from Quebec or Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The plant employed four men and perhaps one or two extra men during the summer months. It was closed for at least three months during the winter, usually January, February and March.
The granite was quarried in the "rough" and it was transported to Lawrencetown in blocks by trucks. The block of granite was first moulded into the required shape by a machine called a surfacer. Another machine polished the areas which were to be smooth. Next the letters and designs were cut into the stone. Part of this was done by hand and part by machine. To do the lettering a rubber coating was placed over the surface of the monument. The letters were drawn on by hand; a stencil was used for the designs and larger letters but the smaller letters were done free hand. Then the lettering was sand blasted. Very fine sand was blown into the areas where the rubber coating had been removed. The sand was under tremendous pressure and it cut the specified letters into the stone. The man who ran the machine knew just how deep the lettering was supposed to be. Finally the the rubber coating was removed, and a base made on which the perpendicular part of the monument would rest. The monuments which where produced at the Lawrencetown plant were shipped all over Nova Scotia. Today most of the lettering in the monument industry is done by machine. The nearest monument industry to Lawrencetown is in Nictaux Falls and was run by the Nixon brothers.