Cape Split Development Company

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Cape Split Development Company

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  • Graphic material
  • Technical drawing

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  • 1915-1957 (Creation)
    Cape Split Development Company
    Kings County (N.S.)

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8 cm of textual material
8 photographs : b&w ; 25 x 30 cm or smaller
8 pictures : b&w ; 13 x 14 cm or smaller
2 technical drawings : blueprints : 58 x 75 cm

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Administrative history

The Cape Split Development Company was created in 1916 with a four-fold purpose: to examine the economic viability of the development of a hydroelectric power plant at Cape Split; to obtain an engineer’s report; to carry out experimental work; and to raise the capital necessary to complete the project. After raising its initial capital by selling shares, the company hired the services of the New York consulting engineers Bogart and Pohl, whose report emphasized the growing need for hydroelectric power in the Maritimes and the suitability of the Cape Split site for the generation of said hydroelectric power. Also hired was the consulting engineer Charles M. Allen, who conducted experiments on the efficiency of the Clarkson Current Motor prototype, which the company hoped to use, and gave an extremely favorable report. All was ready for the
beginning of construction at the Cape Split site, except for the necessary capital. Unfortunately, the initial $31,000 raised through the selling of shares was the sum total of all of the company’s capital, so the project fell through. In 1928, the property was sold to Minas Basin Pulp and Paper, although the right to develop power on the property was retained by the company. This right was deeded to the Nova Scotia Power Commission in 1957. There is a very close connection between the Cape Split Development Company and Acadia University. George B. Cutten served as the President of both institutions, while the Vice President and Managing Director of the Cape Split Development Company, Ralph P. Clarkson, was an Acadia University professor of engineering. The Clarkson Current Motor, which the company hoped to use, was his invention. Finally, the Secretary of the company was William Laird Archibald, Principal of the Acadia Collegiate and Business Academy.

Custodial history

After the Cape Split Development Company became defunct all company documents were left in the care of William L. Archibald, the company Secretary. In 1942, he sent some of the records to Professor W. Abell of Acadia University, Wolfville, N. S. – the printed prospectus from which the shares were sold, a black covered book with engineering data, a progress report from August 1917, an article written by Archibald and published in Industrial Canada, the final 1929 letter to the shareholders, and “other material”. Archibald instructed that these records were to be placed with the Acadia University Library when Abell was finished using them. The date when this actually occurred has not been determined. In 1955, Morley Taylor of the Nova Scotia Power Commission expressed an interest in studying the company documentation with a view to reviving the project. Archibald had retained some documentation in his home and sent this to Taylor. There were twelve items: a deed; a copy of his article; two legal agreements; patent assignments; four photographs; a blueprint; a booklet; a copy of the final letter, 1929, to the shareholders; a copy of the engineering report; and two lists of company shareholders. At this time, Archibald also instructed the Acadia University Library to allow Taylor to remove the documentation that it held, with the promise that it would be returned at a later date. After analyzing the project, NSPC decided that it was not feasible; however, Taylor wished to keep the documentation in case circumstances changed. Archibald agreed to this on 24 July 1956. In February 1957, Archibald sent Taylor the deed to the
property along with still further documentation that he had not yet sent and on 4 March 1957, the rights inherent in the deed were legally transferred to NSPC. For the next thirty-years, the records were kept by various officials of the Nova Scotia Power Commission. They – both those that had been removed from the Acadia University Library in 1955 and the additional ones that Archibald had sent to Taylor - were finally all sent to the University Archives on 10 July 1989, by G. C. Baker of the NSPC. When returned, the NSPC did not include any records it created during the time it was restudying the project.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records created by the Cape Split Development Company beginning in the 1910s and continuing until the 1950s when the Company turned over its rights to produce hydroelectric power at the Cape Split site to the Nova Scotia Power Commission. At this time, the Company also turned over its records to Morley Taylor, Manager of NSPC.
The records of this fonds extend from 1915, just prior to the legal existence of the Cape Split Development Company, to the time of the acquisition of its rights by the Nova Scotia Power Commission in 1957. They have been divided into five series: Correspondence and Shareholder Lists, Reports, Legal Documents, Graphic Material and Technical Drawings, Publications.

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Associated materials

See also Alexander Moir fonds 1976.001
See also Ralph P. Clarkson fonds 1900.004
See also George Barton Cutten fonds (accession 1900.010, box 1) for a memoir, written by Dr. Cutten’s son William F. Cutten in 1981, which includes a brief description of G.B. Cutten’s involvement with the Cape Split Development Company.
See also the Acadia Bulletin, February 1916, Fall 1976, Summer 1977, Fall 1979, and Winter 1984 (best source) for articles about Fundy tidal power

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