The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

May 9, 2007

May 9, 2007 – Early Builders

Two brothers, J.A. and Clem McLellan, from Spencer’s Island, moved here in 1904 and opened the Springhill Manufacturing Company on Junction Road.

There was a warehouse in a large 2 story building which held lime, cement, etc on the first floor while the second floor was used for the storage of furniture which the company made. There was a dry house for the kiln dried wood. The mill, which was heated by steam was run by a 50 horsepower engine and used a private reservoir of water as well as town water. The mill was furnished with all the up to date machinery including flooring and matching machines, sandpaper, surface and buzz planers, sheathing and clapboard machines, trimmer casing and moulding machines as well as boring and mitering machines.

Daniel Rogers and A.W. Gilroy of Springhill were also members of the Springhill Manufacturing Company as well as A.H. Milner. Later on Clem’s son Frank joined the business.

The McLellan Brothers built many buildings in town including the YMCA, new High School on the corner of Church Street and Clarence Street in 1910, the Nurses Annex of the old Cottage Hospital, old Baptist Annex and St. Andrews Wesley United Church and the second Elgin Street School in 1924. The house that Clem McLellan built for himself is still standing at the corner of Junction Road and North Street.

The business continued into the 1920’s but when Clem McLellan died the business was closed and the remainder of the family moved to Ontario.


Another family of builders in Springhill was the Mattinson Brothers who were born in East Hansford and at different times moved to Springhill.

Dan Mattinson was born in 1845 and later moved to Springhill where he had a lumber company. He bought a large section of land on lower Mechanic Street and built houses there. One of the houses he built for himself. The land on which the house sat extended west to Pioneer Street and held a large carpentry shop for the lumber and machinery.

One building that was built by Dan Mattinson was the Masonic Hall. The Knights of Pythias used this building from 1896 until their own building was built in 1915.

Ben Mattinson had a business in Thomson Station until it burned in the 1880’s. After that he went out west for a while. Later he returned to Nova Scotia and came to Springhill to go in partnership with his brother Dan. Ben had a store which sold groceries and supplies to his workmen and also to the public. He later sold the store to A.B. Wilson and Company.

Ben had no middle name so in order to distinguish himself from the other Bens in town he added an initial N. When asked what it stood for he said nothing.

The Mattinsons supplied the lumber for the building of All Saints Anglican Church and All Saints Cottage Hospital. The also built the West End School in 1891.

When they contracted to build something they cut down their own trees and finished the lumber. In the plants logs were sawed and planed, they made their own stair post, doors and windows and cedar shingles. They also did a lot of gingerbread cut-outs as seen on the home that Ben N. Mattinson built for himself on Drummond Street.

When Pugwash started to boom the Mattinson Brothers moved there and set up business along the lines of what they did in Springhill. Dan Mattinson died in Pugwash in 1921 and Ben N. died in 1926.

A third brother William also came to Springhill and established a limited system of using a pipe to deliver to a number of customers in his neighbourhood.