Terra Nova Sulphite Co. Mill in Glovertown
More commonly referred to as the Glovertown Pulp Mill, this enormous concrete structure rises above the tree line in the small community of Glovertown. It was built in 1921 by the Terra Nova Sulphite Company but after processing just one shipment of logs, financial trouble with its Norwegian investors forced the mill to shutdown. Since then, its equipment and components have been removed leaving behind just an empty concrete shell still towering over the banks of the Terra Nova River.
During the early 20th century pulp mills became very popular as the demand for pulp was high. The island had an abundance in black spruce trees which were considered ideal for pulp and paper making.
This led to the Terra Nova Sulphite Company to begin looking for investors for placing a pulp mill in Angle Brook (later amalgamated into the community of Glovertown),. A location was soon chosen along the Terra Nova River which would allow for the production of hydroelectricity, allow easy transportation of logs from upstream, and allow easy shipping via the nearby port in Glovertown.
In early 1921, the Newfoundland Government granted the company timber rights for the area around the Terra Nova River and the rights for a hydro plant which was to be built along side the mill. First construction began on Angle Brook Island, with an expected opening date in mid 1922. During construction, piers were laid for the wharves in Angle Brook, and with a high expectation for success, schools, houses, and a medical centre were set up nearby to service workers at the mill.
However, later that Fall construction was halted on the mill due to financial problems with the mills Norwegian investors caused by the falling Norwegian Krone (local currency). The mills owners brought the problem to the Newfoundland Government in hopes of being granted a loan to complete the mill, but it was quickly refused because of uncertainty with the viability of the project and the reliability of its investors.
The next year, in 1923 the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company (AND Co.) purchased the partially completed mill along with its timber and hydro rights for approximately two million dollars. The company then sent 1300 cords of wood to the mill in order to test its equipment and facilities. After the test it was determined the mill was too small and inefficient and its power source (the Terra Nova River) was to unpredictable to produce reliable power.
Many locals raised complaints at the decision because it was going to bring great amounts of work to people in the area. Letters and petitions were sent to both the AND Co and the government but it wasn't enough to put the mill into production. The machines and equipment inside were then dismantled and shipped to Bishops Falls and Grand Falls.
Today the approximately 35 meters tall, 400 meters long building towers in the forest behind Glovertown. When the mill closed it was not worth the money to tear down. The structure was built entirely of concrete and is in relatively good shape for being over 90 years old. Many signs in and around the building warn of falling debris and although it's in better shape than many abandoned places, the height of the building make falling debris much more of a hazard. The remains of a small dam are located on the Terra Nova River to the west of the mill.
Sources & Further Exploring
Higgins, J. (2007). Land-Based Industries of the Early 1900s. Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site. Found at https://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/economy/landbased-industries.php.
Major, K. ( 1983). Terra Nova National Park: Human history study. National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Parks Canada, Environment Canada. Retrieved from Memorial University of newfoundland and Labrador’s Library.
Mercer, N. (2020, June 7). Newfoundland’s abandoned structures could be tourism magnets for many towns. Saltwire Network, The Chronicle Herald. Found at https://www.saltwire.com/nova-scotia/business/newfoundlands-abandoned-structures-could-be-tourism-magnets-for-many-towns-459204/.
Smallwood, J. R., & Pitt, R. D. W. (1981). Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's, N.L.: Newfoundland Book Publishers. (Article: “Glovertown”. Available online through the Centre for Newfoundland Studies collections database)
Quebec Chronicle Newspaper Article- November 22, 1963