Both sides of Minas Basin and Cobequid Bay are endowed with a rich supply of timber. The south side forests are comprised of black spruce, hemlock and fir suitable for lumber, laths and crib timbers.

The first sawmill in Walton was built on the Walton River by Francis Parker in 1837. It was operated by tidal power with a sluice-way through a dam turning a water wheel. John B. Campbell operated a sawmill in the Walton backwoods in 1894 The output from this mill was said to be 17,000 board feet of lumber per day or over 2 million board feet for the winter. The lumber was hauled out to Walton and shipped by vessel from there. A hemlock bark mill was located west of Walton on 1890. Tannin extracted from the bark was used in the leather tanning industry.

Nova Scotia Lumber Company saw mill, Walton 1902-15. (R. Clark collection)

Nova Scotia Lumber Company saw mill, Walton 1902-15. (R. Clark collection)

The Nova Scotia Lumber Company operated a large steam powered saw mill in Walton from 1902 to 1915. The business was comprised of a two saw mill operated by a steam boiler together with camps and cook houses in the woods. Trees were cut by woods crews and hauled to the saw mill in winter by oxen or horse and sled. The saw mill produced timber for wharf construction, lumber, laths and barrel stave wood. In addition to other vessels engaged in the lumber trade the Nova Scotia Lumber Company’s tern schooner Wandarian was a seasonal carrier in the lumber export business. Tern schooners also carried hemlock and spruce pilings to New York and Boston where they were used in wharf construction. Between six and nine hundred pieces of piling was a full cargo for a tern schooner. The mill was sold to Albert parsons who operated the business until the mill was destroyed by fire in 1924.

The Lincoln Pulp Company cut and exported a considerable amount of pulp wood to their mill in Maine in the early 1930’s The pulp wood was dumped into the river and loaded on ships by means of an overhead conveyor system over the highway on the seaward side of the aboiteau.

Saw mills located in Tennycape and Noel also shipped product over the Walton wharf. In August 1937 the four masted schooner, the Helen Barnet Gring loaded 1,001,000 board feet of lumber bound for England.

The last saw mill in Walton was operated by Ralph and Arthur Parsons from 1946 to1958. This mill was electric powered and served local markets.

Logging continues to this day in the area with saw logs and pulpwood shipped by truck to saw mills and pulp mills throughout Atlantic Canada.


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