Gammon and Weir

Gammon and Weir, a significant construction firm in New Glasgow’s history, ran an historical sandstone quarry on Merigomish Road in the Linacy area.

At the time of a 1914 report, the quarry was on a 23-acre property and had an opening of 200 feet along the face of a 40-foot-high escarpment.

A rock crushing plant had been installed onsite and most of the quarry’s production was crushed to prepare it for use in concrete. However, the quarry also produced some blocks of building stone. Three hundred cubic yards of building stone were extracted in 1910. Blocks as large as 3-4 feet square and 10-15 feet long were quarried.

The building stone was valued at $3.00-$3.50 per yard delivered to New Glasgow.

The quarry had one steam derrick and one steam drill and it employed eight men.

When provincial government geologists visited the site in the 1980s, the former quarry had become a residential property. Part of it had been backfilled and part had become a fishpond. A rock outcrop 6-9 feet high remained.

Gammon and Weir built the Forbes Lake Dam in 1912 and much of New Glasgow’s water and sewage system. They also reconstructed the Trenton reservoir by placing a concrete bottom in it. They graded the sides of the reservoir and placed rip rap (rock) on it to prevent erosion. The company employed about 100 men in 1916.

J. W. Wright operated a quarry adjacent to the Gammon and Weir quarry to the west. The Wright quarry had a 200-foot opening along the same escarpment.

Today it is still common for construction companies like roadbuilders to operate their own aggregate quarries because aggregate is in virtually all infrastructure, including homes, roads, schools and hospitals. Aggregate makes up about 80% of concrete and 94% of asphalt.

To keep construction costs down, companies establish a lot of small quarries widely dispersed throughout the province, especially in areas where construction projects are planned, so aggregate can be sourced relatively close to construction sites. This reduces the amount of fuel used in trucking the aggregate, which reduces cost and lowers emissions from fuel consumption.

Keeping costs down means more paving can be done and reduces the financial burden on taxpayers. This model is the only economic way to build and maintain our roads and highways, and to keep our infrastructure safe for Nova Scotians.

The network of small quarries means aggregate quarried in a community is generally used in the community to improve the local road system and make it safer for residents.