Clarenville Economy (History)

The Town of Clarenville has a consistently strong and vibrant economy. It all started in 1892 when the railway was constructed and the communities of Dark Hole, Brook Cove, Broad Cove, and Red Beach combined to form Clarenceville. The railway, built by Robert T. Reid and G. H. Middleton, provided steady employment to many in the area. The first passenger train arrived in the summer of 1892 with Mrs. M. Pitcher, its first passenger on board. Later that year, Prime Minister Sir William Whiteway arrived to inspect the Clarenceville Station and visit the town. The station was a small wooden building with Miss Jennie Tilley acting as the station agent, telegraph operator and later became the postmistress.

The branch line to Bonavista was completed in 1911. A large new station was built close to the present sight of Shriners Railway Museum. Later a roundhouse, freight shed, water tank and sand storage shed were built. Lumberjacks of the early 1900's

By 1901 the population was 229 and there were two schools, a customs officer and an engineer here. Some people worked with the railway; others were involved with lumbering, and fishing. Family farming was important and sheep and poultry were popular. Some trapping was also done as records show that 65 furs, with a value of $88.00 were sold.

Around 1916, Philip and Arthur Stanley acquired a fox farm from Steers Limited.

By 1921 the population was 354. A lot of people worked with the railway.

Then in 1933, General Italo Balbo and his flotilla of twenty four seaplanes, were returning from the Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition, en route to Italy and they stopped in Random Sound. Admiral Drax and a special train load of dignitaries arrived from St. John's. They stayed for two weeks. They rented 53 motor boats and reportedly spent $10,000.


Light and Power Company

First Electricity to Clarenville and area In 1933 electric lights were installed in Clarenville for the first time. Edgar Stanley ( left ) decided to start a light and power company. He later sold it to Union Electric Light and Power Company ( currently Newfoundland Power).

In 1935 an asphalt plant was built here by Coles Road Ltd. of Toronto. It supplied asphalt to pave the airport that was being built in Gander. In 1941, it became Flintkote of Canada. In 1955, Newfoundland Hardwoods took over the plant and used it to creasote poles and railway ties.

In 1942, during the second world war, the government commissioned 10 vessels to be built. They were built of local wood at the shipyard in Clarenville and became known as "the splinter fleet."

Today Clarenville is the service center for about fifty communities with a combined population of 40,000 people. Businesses such as Wal-Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Radio Shack, and Jeans Experts attract consumers from outlying areas. In addition, restaurants like McDonald's, Tim Horton's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Pizza Delight provide food services . Other industries include various government services, Terra Nova Fisheries, and Newfoundland Hardwoods.

We're also in the midst of mega industrial development. The Hibernia project created more than 5000 jobs for the construction of the rig. Today over 1000 jobs are needed to manage and maintain the oil flow. The Come By Chance Oil Refinery opened in 1973 and still continues to be a driving force in Clarenville's economy. Today the Whiffen Head Trans-Shipment Facility located near Come By Chance provides many jobs for Clarenville residents. In the future, the Terra Nova oil drilling project will provide many jobs.

Light & Power Photograph: Courtesy Geneva Cholock