The Depression Years

In the early half of 1929, the Levack mine was still going strong, but in the fall of that year, the rockhouse (where ore is sorted before being shipped to the smelter) burned down. With the onset of the Great Depression, life became difficult for the community, especially since the reconstruction of the rockhouse took many years and left a large number of men without work.

By 1931, it was obvious that the mine would not reopen any time soon and so former employees and their families started to leave the area. Some people chose to stay and through the help of the International Nickel Company (it merged with the Mond Nickel Company to form present-day INCO in 1928), they managed to survive the Depression.

In 1937, the townsfolk received word that the Levack mine was going to be reopened and soon people were being hired back on at the mine. However, the atmosphere of the workplace had changed significantly. Prior to the Depression, the mine was run by local managers and problems and decisions were settled on the spot. When INCO took over operations, the workers found that the friendly, "family" atmosphere had vanished. Management positions were filled by non-local people and the employees felt that there was no longer a sense of community. Despite the change, no one complained because there was work to be had and a fair wage to be earned.

A second mine shaft was sunk in Levack in 1937 and suddenly there was an inpouring of men looking for work. The bunkhouses filled to capacity and a new two-storey bunkhouse was built. "Tent town" was once again established and every abandoned log cabin was occupied.

By 1938, most homes had electricity and water lines provided clean water from Clear Lake to tap stations throughout the community. On December 14, 1938, the town was incorporated and the first public election was held (prior to this, town issues were resolved by company officials).


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