At the annual general meeting on the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia held at the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill on January 17, 2009, Art and Marguerite Hodgson of Wyvern, Cumberland County were inducted into the Nova Scotia Maple Hall of Fame.
Arthur Clyde Hodgson was born on March 25, 1930. He grew up making maple. Art’s forefathers made maple syrup in the late 1800s. Families from Wyvern and Farmington congregated in a community encampment in what became known as Hodgsons’ woods. There they would make the year’s supply of maple sugar for their domestic use. Blackened stones and ashes from the old fire pit can still be found in the woods.
The Hodgson maple operation commenced in 1902. Art’s grandfather (Aaron) had acquired title to the property. Together with his son (Art’s father True), they built a maple camp and a retail operation. Business flourished. Horses and bob-sleds were used to collect the sap and the operation grew to 5,000 kettles with two teams and 10 men.
A new camp was built in 1940 on the site of the old camp. In 1960, a modern 5’×16’ Grimm evaporator was installed.
Marguerite came on the scene in 1958 and she quickly became an active partner.
It was during the early 1960s that the famous maple sugar stirring apparatus was developed. It consisted of a wooded framework placed over a large tub of cooked sugar. It had a beater with a number of wooded blades and was rotated by turning hand cranks on each side of the apparatus.
In 1976, a new camp was built beside the house in Wyvern. The sap had to be moved from the sugar bush to the new camp, so tubing was installed in the woods and two mainlines were erected to carry the sap from 6,000 taps over one mile, all downhill, to the camp.
This move to roadside where there was electricity prompted Art to update the sugar stirring apparatus. He used the rear-end differential from a 1930s pick-up truck and converted it to run on electricity. He also adapted an old dairy butter churn to stir maple butter and added a pre-heater hood to the evaporator. A reverse osmosis machine was purchased in 1981. It was one of the first reverse osmosis machines used in Nova Scotia.
Art’s son Michael took over the operation in 2000 and still taps some or all of the woods when he is able.
Throughout his life, Art was a keen supported of the maple industry in Nova Scotia. He rarely missed a field day or an annual meeting, and he made many friends in the maple industry. He served as a MPANS director. He was an early adopter of new technology in his maple operation.
Arthur Hodgson passed away on April 19, 2005 and is missed within the industry and his community.
Members of the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia are very pleased to induct Art and Marguerite Hodgson into the Nova Scotia Maple Industry Hall of Fame.