History of Pictou 1900 - 1993
This chronological list of events was compiled by local historian Ron Wallis.
1900: The "Pictou Canadian" began publication by R.S. Hamilton.
1901: The General Hospital became pressed for more room and moved to the west wing of the Mariners Hospital.
1903: The lighthouse at the entrance of Pictou Harbour burnt.
1903: This was an unusual winter for severe ice in the Northumberland Strait. On January 15th, the cargo laden ship, the "Stanley", also carrying passengers enroute from Charlottetown to Pictou, became jammed in heavy ice for twenty-seven days before the ferry "Minto", was dispatched to carry much-needed coal to the stricken "Stanley." The "Minto's" propeller shattered in the ice and both ships were trapped. The passengers were taken off the "Stanley" in small boats which were pulled over the ice and rowed to Pictou Island. Both ships were freed from the ice with the use of dynamite and arrived in Pictou on March 16th, with the "Stanley" towing the "Minto", the "Stanley" having been locked in ice for 66 days.
1905: Fire destroyed the Revere Hotel on February 18th, at a loss of $30,000.
1905: A new Intercolonial Railway Station and roundhouse was built.
1906: Pictou Cottage Hospital was officially opened on December 6th.
1906: Alan A. Ferguson purchased a foundry and developed the Pictou Foundary and Machine Shop.
1910: Maritime Packers was established by Samuel Brody at River John and later purchased National Sea Products (1965).
1910: The first car in Pictou was owned by J.H. MacKenzie.
1911: A brick plant promoted by Canada Consolidated Clay Company and locally financed with directors, S.G. Robertson, J.W. Priest, D.F. Morrison and J.W. MacDonald, was built and lasted only two years.
1918: The Knox and the Prince Street Presbyterian Churches merged to form the First Presbyterian Church.
1918: Norway House was purchased by the Grand Lodge of Oddfellows.
1919: A residence for male students attending Pictou Academy was built on Beeches Road. The building is now a part of the Fisheries Training School.
1923: The one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the landing of the Hector at Norway Point was held. For two days in July, thousands of visitors joined in the merriment. Included was the Governor General of the day, "Lord Byng".
1924: The Victorian Order of Nurses was established in Pictou.
1928: Sutherland Memorial Hospital opened on June 27th on the site of the Cottage Hospital.
1930: The Central School was constructed this year and opened in October at the cost of $65,000.
1930: In this year, Sheriff Harris lifted finger prints from a pane of glass which matched those of an accused man. This was the first employment of fingerprint evidence by the Crown in a criminal case in Nova Scotia.
1932: The original Pictou Academy on Church Street was demolished.
1937: The United Church of Canada bought the old John Knox Free Church and dedicated it on August 1st.
1938: The third Pictou Academy was destroyed by fire on June 3rd.
1940: The fourth Pictou Academy was built.
1940: The first auto ferry, the "Prince Nova", began service between Caribou and Woods Island.
1942: The building of a new school at Victory Heights began.
1942: Battery Hill was bulldozed away to create more room for the enlarging of Ferguson Industries.
1942: War Time Housing commenced building prefabricated homes at Victory Heights, to accommodate the influx of men and their families arriving in Pictou to work at the shipyards. The homes were prefabricated by Eastern Woodworkers in New Glasgow, and brought to Pictou by truck. Only the shipyard workers could rent these homes. At the height of the shipbuilding, there were 400 families living in Victory Heights.
1942: The "Victoria Park" was launched this year and completed the following April. This was the first of twenty four park ships to be built in Pictou.
1943: The Victory Heights School for grades 1 to 6 was completed and opened in February.
1943: A second Post Office for the town is to be located at the intersection of Cedar and Denoon street and will be known as "East Pictou".
1944: A nurses residence, adjacent to the Sutherland Memorial Hospital, opened on June 1st.
1946: Fire destroys Pictou waterfront docking facilities, with loss estimated to be $1,000,000.
1948: Pictou Cutlery Ltd. began in March, by Rudolph Grohmann.
1948: J. Vernon and James Stright formed "Stright-MacKay", building fishing and pleasure boats.
1950: Ferguson Industries was incorporated.
1954: Hurricane Edna hit in the fall of this year and did extensive damage to all parts of the town. Most noticeable was the damage done to the St. James Anglican Church steeple, which was broken off.
1955: MacDonald School was built for the Stella Maris parish and opened in November.
1955: The corner stone for the Pictou Federal Building was placed on August 30th.
1956: The "Lord Selkirk" was launched at Fergusons yard. Its addition would greatly speed up the service to PEI.
1959: Fire again destroys the Pictou docks on July 6th, at a loss valued at $4,000,000. Part of Ferguson Industries was destroyed as well as the supply depot for the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
1959: Maritime Telegraph and Telephone renovated their building at the corner of Coleraine and Water Streets.
1960: On August 19th, fire destroyed a block on Water Street valued at $250,000.
1960: A fire on December 4th destroys the Wetmore Building and T. Mansours at a loss of $500,000.
1960: Irish moss plant established under the ownership of Murray MacPherson and Russell Logan.
1964: The new Pictou United Church was opened and dedicated on June 28th.
1966: The old Knox Church was demolished.
1966: Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital opened on June 1st.
1967: Scott Maritime Pulp Mill opened this year.
1968: The causeway from near Brown's Point to Abercrombie was opened in this year. It later became known as Harvey A. Veniot Causeway.
1968: G.H. Hamilton biscuit factory closed.
1972: The "Prince Edward" was launched at Fergusons yard. The ship was a passenger auto ferry designed to run between Caribou and Wood Island.
1974: The old CN station was partially destroyed by fire on April 3rd.
1982: The deCoste Entertainment Centre officially opened in November.
1986: The new Pictou County Court House was opened.
1993: Pictou Waterfront Development completes the waterfront area in the Market Wharf area as a tourist attraction, including a marina and interpretation centre. The area has become a "people place".