Pollution started life as a "dirty word," but now usually connotates a "dirty world." Male masturbation was not considered nice in the fourteenth century when the word was first used. It derived from the Latin "pollutus,"to defile the soil ,"and one may recall a Biblical injunction against seeding the earth with semen. Later it was extended to mean any kind of "defilement" or "desecration." The meaning, "to contaminate the environment" went to print in 1954. In addition to soil, water and air can be harmed by pollutants, and more recently thermal, light and sound pollution have been added to a growing list.

So what is the contaminant in these delightful Pictou County scenes? Probably a glysophostphate spray used by Nova Scotia Power as a defoliation agent. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities has unsuccessfully lobbied the Province to desist in allowing businesses to poison the land and the air, noting that the chemical tends to blow on the wind beyond intended  spray areas. It is even more extensively used in forestry than other industries. For that story see http://stopthespray.com. Movie clip based on Raymond Briggs cartoon creation Fungus The Bogeyman. This imaginary character is a nihilist!

Here we have the other side of the coin, Nicholas C. Wyeth (1882-1945), a pre-eminent romanticist when Rod was a child. Geographer, William
M. Denevan at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says that, "The myth persists that in 1492 the Americas were a sparsely populated wilderness, a world of barely perceptible human disturbance. There is substantial evidence, however, that the Native American landscape of the early sixteenth century was a humanized landscape almost everywhere. Populations were large. Forest composition had been modified, grasslands had been created, wildlife disrupted, and erosion was severe in places. Earthworks, roads, fields, and settlements were ubiquitous. With Indian depopulation in the wake of Old World disease, the environment recovered in many areas. A good argument can be made that the human presence was less visible in 1750 than it was in 1492." Google: The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492.

"Agricultural clearing and burning had converted much of the forest into successional (fallow) growth and into semi-permanent grassy openings (meadows, barrens, plains, glades, savannas, prairies), often of considerable size.' Much of the mature forest was characterized by an open, herbaceous understory, reflecting frequent ground fires.'" The extent, frequency, and impact of Indian burning is not without controversy but researchers "Patterson and Sassaman  found that sedimentary charcoal accumulations were greatest where Indian populations were greatest...
forest disturbance increased herbaceous forage and edge effect, and hence the numbers of some animals . Indians created ideal habitats for a host of wildlife species . . . exactly those species whose abundance so impressed English colonists: elk, deer, beaver, hare, porcupine, turkey, quail, ruffed grouse, and so on."

"...most of our eyewitness descriptions of wilderness and empty lands come from a later time, particularly 1750-1850 when interior lands began to be explored and occupied by Europeans. By 1650, Indian populations in the hemisphere had been reduced by about 90 percent, while by 1750 European numbers were not yet substantial and settlement had only begun to expand. As a result, fields had been abandoned. while settlements vanished, forests recovered. and savannas retreated. The landscape did appear to be a sparsely populated wilderness. This is the image conveyed by Parkman in the nineteenth century, Bakeless in 1950, and Shetler as recently as 1991. There was some-European impact, of course, but it was localized."

"After...1850, populations greatly expanded, resources were more intensively exploited, and European modification of the
environment accelerated, continuing to the present. "In the colonial period, iron was produced in bloomery forges; a hearth in which raw iron ore was combined with charcoal and heated. "These forges never got hot enough to really melt the iron, which ended up as a black pasty substance called a 'bloom,' hence the name of the forge. The black color also gives us the name of blacksmith. The bloom was full of impurities which had to be pounded out by a blacksmith on an anvil." Blast furnaces followed and by the time of the American Revolution in 1776 there were as many of these in America as in Great Britain and they produced one-seventh of the world's iron.

Deep yesterday: For many people, the word technology conjures up images of large-scale industrialization, for example 19th century steel mills. It is s mistake to think that technology sprung full-blown with the Industrial Revolution. Simple tools lie at the base of the present industrial pyramid. The colonial period is sometimes described as the "Age of Wood and Water" and it was based on the four F's; furs, fish, farms, and forests. "In all of these areas technology played an important role. However, only a relatively small percentage of the colonists engaged in crafts and trades or artisanal work--perhaps 10 to 18% depending on the time period and the location. By far the largest percentage of Americans were involved in agriculture."

"There was usually a shortage of skilled labor in early America, however. This was due in large part to the abundance of cheap land. It was often easier and more profitable for a young man to go into agriculture than to learn a trade, especially in areas where the markets were small and unstable... The shortage of skilled labor also meant that crafts in general were slow to develop and the colonies generally imported about half of the manufactured goods they needed. The scale of production was also generally small. It is also important to remember that not all craft work was necessarily good. A lot of artisans made inferior items..."

"English mercantile theory viewed the colonies as sources of raw materials to be used by craftsmen in England. They, in turn, would provide finished goods for markets in the colonies. Thus, English legislation passed to regulate the economy of the colonies did not encourage manufacturing there and often prohibited it because it would have prompted unwelcome competition. For example, the colonies were prohibited from producing finished iron products but colonial furnaces were allowed to produce bar and pig iron (for export to England)." Textile production was similarly hampered.

"The First Maine Fisherman" by Wyeth. "Fish weirs are also recorded in several locations in North America. The oldest appears to be the Sabasticook Fish Weir in central Maine, where a stake returned a radiocarbon date of 5080 RCYPB (5770 cal BP)." Colonial fishing and shipbuilding were of slower development locally than agriculture, and the
"Golden  Age of Sail" commenced about the year 1850. confluent with the beginnings of heavy industrialization and pollution.

Wyeth was an illustrator not an editorial cartoonist, and everybody likes his romanticized version of life in America. At the height of Victorian enthusiasm over growth and expansion and profit, the following camp-song emerged: "Give yourself a pat on the back, a pat on the back, a pat on the back. And say to yourself, you've jolly good health, you've had a good day today." By the "Dirty Thirties" of the last century, the tone had shifted to the dark side: "O, it ain't gonna rain no more, no more. It ain't gonna rain no more.
How in the heck can I wash my neck if it ain't gonna rain no more... Rich girl uses silverware, poor girl uses tin
My girl uses her fingertips to shove those hot dogs in. Rich girl rides a Cadillac. Poor girl rides a train. My girl rides an old gray mule and gets there just the same." That was the decade into which I was born and 1940s, although better economically, were not better!

The late start for wholesale industrialization in America in 1850 did save it from accidents like this and large scale pollution. During World War II when things went wrong they were never reported for fear of creating a negative attitude toward the war effort. The effects of soil, water and air pollution were not even being researched. The motto of that time was "Ever upward and onward!" The attitude was expressed in John F. Kennedy's, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" This illustration by Wyeth probably predated that war.

Heinrich Kley (1863 - 1945) was a German illustrator, editorial illustrator and painter. His early works were conventional portraits, landscapes, still lifes, city scenes and historical paintings. In1892 he gained a reputation as an "industry artist", painting manufacturing scenes in oils and watercolors. Then he tipped over into editorial comment and became notorious for the above work and darkly humorous pen drawings, published in the magazines Jugend and Simplicissimus. In 1937 the new Coronet Magazine in the United States published Kley's drawings in three consecutive issues, and he became popular with American audiences. Three years later his work inspired the Disney artists who created the film Fantasia.

 As for Wyeth, in this time, he even managed to romanticize middle class urban life. Truth is, there never was an art loving time or nation, and there never has been a perfect past worthy of deep nostalgia. In some ways "then" was "better," but remember that life expectancy when I was a child was hovering just above the age of 50. By the time the next decade had passed an entire North American population had been traumatized by a very long world war and the additional horror of two atomic bombs exploded above Japan. The trouble with most Trumpites is a lack of experience. If the world is to be better tomorrow fist cuffs will not trump negotiations and attempts to understand and appreciate different points of view.

Getting back to Pictou County and past the Wood and Water Age, the Age of Wood Ships, Iron Men and Dauntless Women, which commenced in 1850, roughly at the opening of the Victorian Era. Lumber was needed to build ships. River drives of logs filled rivers with bark scraps which over the long term blanketed the bottom and created a medium for the development of pollutants. When power saw-mills appeared sawdust and wood chips were added to the mix in settling basins near the mouths of rivers. Sunken logs and mill rubbish. Of all these sawdust is potentially the most dangerous for living water plants and animals. It had the habit of compacting on river beds, forming "a compact mass of pollution, which destroyed marine habitats and hence life. It was only in 1889, that the federal Department of Fisheries took note of this "stuff of death." Lumber of substantial size was much reduced in the early 20th Century, but the pollution problem remained in place for many decades. Remediation only came to some streams in this century.

The American chestnut is a large, tree of the beech family native to eastern North America. A fungal disease was discovered afflicting it in 1904, and after  that, between 3 and 4 billion trees were destroyed by  blight in the first half of the 20th century. It had been  one of the most important forest trees throughout its range which included southern Maine. It was found to have been devastated when an infected Asiatic Chestnut tree imported to the Bronx Zoo passed on the disease. "Spread by the wind and birds, the blight causes a canker that girdles the trunk and causes a slow death by constricting the flow of a tree's life-giving sap to everything above the point of infection.

This photo indicates their mature size which explains why they had great economic significance. " The presence of these trees in Nova Scotia is often associated with the United Empire Loyalists who came here following the War of Independence. Parts of Nova Scotia share a climate with Maine and so far these refugees have escaped contamination, but with Global Warming... In the last century, our native American Elm was similarly afflicted by another species of fungus creating Dutch Elm Disease in these trees. Again this was catastrophic but 1 in 100,000 trees were found resistant to the disease. The litany of unfortunate events is not at an end for all of Maritime Canada. There is the continuing  case of the continuing Spruce Budworm infestation, which first appeared in the Annaplois Valley in the 1980s.

Allison Nelson's photos and notes.The Golden Age of Sail commenced in the 1850s and pretty much ended in the 1920s. The change from wood to iron came slowly, in considerable part because the introduction of steam power required new techniques and experience in shipbuilding. James William Carmichael was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in 1819, the son of James Carmichael, the town's founder, and attended Pictou Academy. He began work in his father's shipping and retail business and became owner during the 1850s. He built ships and also transported goods by ship. He was also involved in coal mining, the timber trade, a tannery and an iron foundry. Although he originally built wooden sailing ships, he later built steamers and pioneered the use and building of iron and steel ships in Nova Scotia.

New Glasgow, Trenton, Stellarton, Westville and Pictou are all located in the Pictou Basin area, and all have been in some measure blue-collar, smoke stack-ridden towns. "Dirty Old Towns" by times. The first coughs came from coal burning homes and businesses. This was Tenton Works, a collection of factories on the lower East River below the larger Town of New Glasgow as seen in the 1950s when it was manufacturing rail cars and was alternately known as "The Car Works."
a large variety of industrial operations have done business here, ranging from steel making (the first steel plant in Canada back in 1882), rolling mills, forging and shipbuilding. In 1904 the Ferrona blast furnaces were closed and the last steel poured.

The following brief history is based on Wikipedia:

By the end of the decade, the last railway boom in Canada was underway with the simultaneous transcontinental railway expansions of the Canadian Northern Railway, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the National Transcontinental Railway. That said the reorganized SCOTIA made significant investments in its properties over a 3-year period, beginning with the Trenton steel mill which saw 2 rolling mills added in 1910. This was followed in 1911 when the Trenton plant saw a massive investment in equipment to manufacture and machine heavy forgings.
In 1912 SCOTIA established the Eastern Car Company and opened a massive factory to build railway cars on the Trenton site adjacent to the steel mill and forge operations, reputedly the largest factory under one roof in the Dominion of Canada.

The Eastern Car Company produced its first boxcar for the Grand Trunk Railway in August 1913, the first of a 2,000 car order. SCOTIA also established the Dominion Wheel Foundry in 1913 on an adjacent site to Eastern Car Company and the steel mill and forge operation. Dominion Wheel Foundry created cast iron railway wheels in support of its sister operation at the Eastern Car Company. Finally, 1913 the company established a bolt and rivet factory to the entire complex.

The arrival of World War I saw railway investment cease in Canada and those industries spiraled toward bankruptcy which resulted in the federal government nationalizing several insolvent companies to which it had lent financial support, resulting in the creation of the Canadian National Railways in 1918. Although a large part of SCOTIA's customer base was lost, the war had other opportunities and SCOTIA established a shipyard on part of its Trenton property fronting the East River of Pictou, constructing 6 steam-powered cargo ships as part of the war effort, totaling 10,395 tons. The factories were re-tooled and soon began producing artillery and naval shells.

At that war, railway construction in Canada ended and a syndicate of British investors led by Montreal, Quebec industrialist Roy M. Wolvin negotiated a takeover in 1919. These investors proposed a $500 million merger of Dominion Steel Corporation merged with the British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO).
  This company faced tremendous financial and organized labour problems through the 1920s and was dissolved in 1928, replaced by
a holding company, the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation (DOSCO). The complex at Trenton continued much as before, producing railway cars and wheels, as well as various steel products it was renamed Trenton Industries Ltd.

During World War II, management of the complex was taken over by the federal government and the plant produced naval gun mounts as well as artillery and naval shells, just as it had done during World War I. That explains this memorial at Trenton Park. Following the war, DOSCO closed the steel rolling mills and bolt and rivet factory at Trenton, focusing its steel production at the much larger plant at Sydney. Declines in the coal and steel industries during the 1950s saw the DOSCO conglomerate, once the largest private employer in the country, lose power, employment and prestige. DOSCO was purchased in 1957 by A.V. Roe Canada Co. Ltd. and made a subsidiary.
The Dominion Wheel Foundry was closed in 1961 and A.V. Roe was subsequently folded into Hawker Siddeley Canada in 1962.

In the 1989 assets were sold to Lavelin. which passed everything over to the Nova Scotia government in 1991. Talk about a series of unfortunate events? On March 9, 1995 with the majority interest major shares were taken up by Greenbrier Corporation of Lake Oswego, Oregon. The plant was renamed TrentonWorks Ltd.  There was a resurgence of railway car sales and the work force climbed to 1,300. However sales fell off and only 300 employees remained when Greenbrier announced that the plant would close in 2007. "Over the years, the plant became less competitive as the Canadian dollar climbed. It also had to compete with Greenbrier's rail car plant in Mexico, where wages are $3 an hour compared to $19 in Trenton."

You know Murphy's Law?  In 2010, Daewoo Shipbuilding of South Korea made an agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia to open the facility as a world class wind tower manufacturer. In September 2011, the first tower section rolled off the assembly line. The forge in Trenton burned in 2012, but this was not a major cause of their receivership in 2016.

In February 2016, Nova Scotia Finance Minister Mark Furey announced that the province has received word that DSME Trenton would be closing its doors permanently, leaving government on the hook for $56-million in loans.
"With the town's residential and commercial tax base in decline, finances are strained for maintaining existing services and it is believed that amalgamation with New Glasgow is inevitable."

Steel plants have been a big source of air pollution, and the death roll in Rod's immediate Pictou County family may be related. In almost every instance the cause of death was some form of canner. That Trenton plant was not alone in spewing out black clouds of coal smoke, some with a high sulpher contents. This complex in downtown New Glasgow on the bank of East River was the location of Maritime Steel & Foundaries Limited, which operated between the years 1902 and 2002.

Located at 379 Glasgow Street, they supplied high and low alloy steel casting for the rail, mining, earth engaging. Scotia Steel had its origin in 1872 as the Hope Iron Works marine, and industrial markets. The growing demand for forgings
created a new enterprise in 1874, the Nova Scotia Forge
Company. This also prospered until the inadequacy of New Glasgow's water supply forced the company to relocate, in 1878 to Smelt Brook (renamed Trenton in 1882). By the late 1880s, there were at least seven establishments with direct material linkages to Scotia. Robert Burns Cameron is often credited with creating Maritime Steel And Foundries following service as a army major during World War II. Brent Foxes' book suggests he took on proprietorship of a forge established by his dad when he died in 1947. That book is rare and brings $80 in the antiquarian market.

The late Anne Torey was one of three secretaries working in
one of these buildings in the years before marriage in 1958. The complex is now somewhat smaller than it was then. Cameron, born in 1919 attended Royal Military College just as war commenced. He went overseas and by the end of the Allied Forces campaign in Italy was a major with the Royal Canadian Engineers. After WW2 ended, Cameron started Cameron Publications but his main business was heavy construction using the products of Maritime Steel.
In an eulogy Peter Mackay says, "For a time he was president of Sydney Steel and the largest shareholder of the Royal Bank of Canada." He married a Scottish nurse in 1943 and they had eight children. He died in February 2000.

This red-nosed reindeer portrait is probably more accurate. The writer Harry Bruce described him as an "ill-mannered and intimidating tycoon" and noted that he, "came as close as anyone ever has to drinking me under the table. I'd heard Cameron was as pugnacious, big-fisted and blasphemous as any steelworker he ever employed." He was not disappointed! Frank Sobey later said, "Bob talks wild, but he decides right." "He was like that - the great intimidator," recalls D. R. Munroe, whose father and Cameron were friends, "but it was sort of a game. If you cowered before him, he'd just rub you to death, but if you told him where to get off - and my father did - he'd grin and put his arm around you, and say, 'You're not going to take any of my crap, are you?'" Anne did not find either Robert or his brother Clyde "endearing."

Before going with the unfolding of additional unfortunate events have a look at the development of the industrial landscape, which was not overly impressive in the earliest coal mining days.

Twenty years later and  Westville Coal was king with New Glasgow retired from production but notice how Trenton and New Glasgow ballooned in terms of manufactured products based on burning coal. Meanwhile Pictou Town had shrunk economically and in terms of population.

Forty years on, and Trenton. New Glasgow and Stellarton had become the power centres of industry.  After that, the Great Depression, wartime recovery and a series of unexpected events. 

One can hope that Junior is more civilized than his dad. Based in Halifax he was never the hands-on type of manager that Bob had been. His interests have been rumoured to to lie more in Scientology and chairmanship of the Halifax Hurricanes. He is also president of Cameron Incorporated, a very privately held company, which considered Maritime Steel as subsidiary. In sum, that means nobody knows squat about it!

I'm not always sure of the veracity of Frank magazine, but they have survived a lot of lawsuits.  More traditional news sources were no better placed to explain the untoward events leading to casting off 50 jobs in New Glasgow at Christmas, 2010. There had been a couple of hundred employees on payroll when Anne worked there long, long ago. In receivership, the total debt was given as about $23-million. Amongst secured creditors, $17,756,488 was said owed to Cameron Corporation Ltd. The company also had unsecured creditors. Earlier in December, Cameron et al had launched a lawsuit against insurers claiming they had  not fully reimbursed them for an accidental foundry fire in May 2009 which had done $2.3-million in damages. Oddly, they went ahead making full repairs before the cheques came in. There were of course environmental consequences, which were never reported.

Hope springs eternal...

Unbelievably, there were two other interested parties. Note that the town was unhappy with this sale "for environmental reasons."

Robert Burns Senior famously said that Frank Sobey had that "Outhouse Sense," and knew when to let go.  Fortunately Jafarnia bowed out of the game, but with fewer comforts and condolences than Junior. Of course, the endgame is still not upon Pictou County.

Empty buildings automatically become targets for puberty-stressed pyromaniacs.

Nothing is harmed but the air people breathe? This happened in the current year and this time a 19 year-old was charged with arson in incidents that occurred on January 3rd and 5th.

The roof of the pattern-house building collapsed under the weight of snow and was demolished.

After demolition.

We haven't even considered all the other abandoned industrial sites which are still point sources of pollution.

Here is one, mentioned just for fun. It still exists as a minor player relocated in New Town, Lunenburg as ABCO. Maritime Bridge of New Glasgow was once the largest in the region.

When stuff gets posted on line, it hangs around and pollutes public opinion indefinitely. Take note, there never was a "New Glasgow Steel Works," and Maritime Steel no longer exists.

Michelin Tire has a vastly reduced workforce having fled to other parts of Nova Scotia.  Open pit mining??? It was always underground In PIctou County. Not that hat was good!  Do not believe everything you read, especially when printed white on a dead black background.

Next? Sunshine sketches of another part of Nova Scotia.