History of Falconbridge

The history of the Town of Falconbridge is largely connected to the history of the Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited.

The Township of Falconbridge was named for William Glenholm Falconbridge, the Justice of the High Court of Ontario and the Chief Justice in 1900. The area began as a lumber camp in the late 1800's with most of the timber being shipped to the United States for the rebuilding of Chicago homes after the great fire. By the early 1900's, the mining era was about to begin.

In 1901, Thomas Edison traveled to the Sudbury area in search of nickel and cobalt deposits for use in his electronic equipment. Upon his arrival, he began to survey the area using an electronic dip needle that would detect the presence of minerals. In 1902, he discovered a large body of ore in the Falconbridge area and attempted to sink the first mine shaft, but was defeated by a layer of quicksand. Throughout 1902 and 1903, he tried numerous times to sink his mine shaft, but failed in each attempt. Unable to reach the mineral deposits, he abandoned his mining claim and returned to New Jersey.

By 1911, the former Edison claim had reverted back to Crown Land and was rediscovered by the Longyear Diamond Drilling Company. This company merged with several other mining enterprises in the area to form Falconbridge Mines Limited. However, it wasn't until 1928 that the mining industry in Falconbridge truly emerged.

In 1928, Thayer Lindsley came to Falconbridge and purchased the land surrounding the Falconbridge Mines Limited claims. Not long after, he bought out the Falconbridge company and with Ventures as the parent corporation, he established Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited. The purchase price of $2,500,000 was the most anyone had ever paid for a mine in the Sudbury area.

With the Falconbridge company secured, Lindsley began the task of sinking the first mine shaft in the township. By October of 1929, the Number One mine shaft was sunk without incident. Strangely enough, the company did not encounter the quicksand that had plagued Edison's earlier attempts, even though the shaft was set up only 100 feet (300 meters) from Edison's location.

Soon, the company was building bunkhouses for their employees near the No. 1 shaft and as operations continued to expand, the Town of Falconbridge grew to include a general store, a post office, and a one-room schoolhouse; all of which were centralized in the vicinity of the mine shaft.


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