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Sackville Building stone

Mount Allison University in Sackville has been described as one of the most beautiful campuses in Canada. Many of the buildings are constructed with local red and grey sandstone. 

In the mid-1890s Charles Pickard found an outcrop of reddish sandstone on his farm. In 1898 the Pickard quarry opened and began quarrying the stone for buildings. The quarry incorporated as the Sackville Freestone Company three years later. Starting in 1899, stone from the Pickard quarry was used to construct buildings on the campus. This marked the beginning of a close relationship between the university and the quarry. The quarry was described in the trade journal The Canadian Architect and Builder: “The stone extends through 15 to 20 acres of Mr. Pickard’s farm at a depth of 3 to 15 feet below the surface. The beds which lie in a horizontal position are from 4 to 9 feet thick . . . The stone is a rich shade of light or reddish brown, which combines nicely with brick and will give a building a bright clean appearance. The stone has been pronounced first class in quality.”

The Sackville Freestone Company was a success. Buildings constructed with sandstone from the Pickard quarry included buildings on the Mount Allison campus and in Moncton, Saint John, Truro, Wolfville, and Halifax and in major building projects as far away as Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo. Precut stone for fireplaces was also shipped as far west as Vancouver. However by the 1920s the use of cement started to replace building stone and the company was no longer viable. The University decided to purchase the quarry, becoming one of very few universities to own its own quarry. Buildings on campus continued to be built using Pickard stone.