Arthur House Article
Arthur House (1875-1954) was born Pool's Island, Bonavista Bay, NL on July 31, 1875 to Mary Jane (Kean) and Peter House. He was educated at Pool's Island and Bishop Feild College, St. John's. He studied to be an Anglican minister, but did not pursue that career, instead he taught school at Trinity, Bonavista Bay, for a few years. In 1898, he went to Cape Breton to work on the construction of DISCO's steel plant at Muggah's Creek, Sydney, with a company called Lowe and McManus. On June 17, 1899, he arrived at Bell Island to take the position of Mine Captain with the Dominion Company, who had just purchased part of the holdings of the Scotia Company. He married Johanna Connolly, who he met while teaching in Trinity; they married in St. John's in 1902. In July 1907, he was made Assistant Manager to Thomas Bown. House moved to Aguathuna on the Port au Port Peninsula in October 1910 to prospect and develop the limestone quarries there for the Dominion Company, who needed the limestone for the Sydney Steel Mill to be used as a flux in the smelting of the Wabana iron ore to purify it. Quarry operations began in 1913 and, from then until 1964 when the quarry closed, 1,500 pounds of limestone were used in the blast furnaces with each ton of Wabana ore. House remained as Manager of Aguathuna until his death there on November 30, 1954, at age 79, after 56 years of service with the Dominion Company. His wife had predeceased him by 7 months. They are buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Port au Port East.
Arthur House's "Early History of Bell Island Mines" article was published in the Daily News March 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, 1939. This is quite a long article that will likely take the best part of the summer to post, so please check back every week or so for the newest installment. Mr. House kept a diary of people and events during the years 1899 to 1910 and this article is based on his diaries. He has lots of great information on some of the early "company" people, and talks about early company housing, the fire at Dominion Pier, what that structure was like and how it was rebuilt, early mining methods, driving the underground slopes, the fossil he found and put together, why the mines were not profitable and the importance of Germany to the operation. He was inspired to write this article after reading F.F. Jardine's December 24, 1938 article, "Forty-Fourth Anniversary of Wabana Mines," in the Evening Telegram. You can read Mr. Jardine's article on this website, also under "Publications."