The quarrying of limestone has been an integral part of the history and development of the city of Saint John, New Brunswick. Burnt lime or quicklime was the essential ingredient in making mortar and mortar was the fundamental material in the construction industry for laying brick and stone masonry and for plastering the walls of buildings.
While it is likely that the French were the first to extract lime from this area in the early 1700’s, it is clear that James Simonds quarried and burned lime in Saint John shortly after the Seven Year War. From this beginning the burnt lime export industry in Saint John grew until the 1880’s when 19 quarries were operating in the city, at this time the lime businesses of W. Lawlor and Son, in Brookville and that of J.Hornbrook, in Torryburn had a large New Brunswick trade with their operations located conveniently close to the railway. Due to stiff trade tariffs placed upon Canadian products by the United States in the 1890’s, the industry was greatly diminished.
It was not until 1920 that prosperity returned to the lime business. In that year the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. J.F.Tweedale decided to make crushed limestone available to the farmers, for the purpose of sweetening their soil. He agreed to finance a limestone quarry and crushing plant with the condition that the private individual operating the business would repay the treasury at the rate of a few cents for each ton sold. In the summer of 1920 a crusher was installed at Brookville and that fall the farmers had for the first time an inexpensive source of ground limestone available.
From this beginning the Brookville Manufacturing Company grew until in the late 1940’s it was considered to be one of the largest manufacturers of crushed limestone in Canada with 90,000 tons being shipped in 1948 alone. The company was owned privately by the Adams family until 1972 when it was purchased by Moosehead Breweries. In 1995 Moosehead sold Brookville to the late Malcolm Hoar and Phil Blanchard.