Keith Paper Company – 1872
Turners Falls, Massachusetts
This Deep Zoom exhibit is of the Keith Paper Company and was the third industry to be built at Alvah Crocker’s new “manufacturing city”, at Turner’s Falls (1872). This sensational view was just discovered and was previously unknown to us!
Turners Falls is a natural waterfall on the Connecticut River, and has existed for centuries. Early America depended on it’s major rivers as highways for the transportation of everything we expect today of our highways and rail lines. By 1798, a barge and canal system was incorporated to facilitate the freight moving North beyond Turners Falls. By the end of the American Civil War (1865), railroads had replaced rivers as highways and “The Proprietors of the Upper Locks and Canals in Connecticut River” still existed on paper, but basically had no business.
Alvah Crocker was a Fitchburg Massachusetts native who constructed his first mills on the Nashua River in the 1830s. He discovered Turners Falls as part of a team charged with laying a railroad route westward to the new Hoosac Tunnel and west to New York State. Crocker must have understood the opportunity Turners Falls offered for America’s new demand for industrial hydro-power and formed the Turners Falls Company. By purchasing the old barge canal company, Crocker obtained all of the water rights at the Turners Falls dam and old canal system. This gave this new company all it needed to re-tool the system to serve the increasing demand for industrial energy.
The newly formed Turners Falls Company sold sites along the canal, deepening and expanding it for hydro-power, as industries joined the new community.
This photo web exhibit is the inaugural picture of Keith Paper Company, of 1872. John Keith, President and Treasurer, was a man of modest means and lived in Greenfield.
Our proud Keith Paper archive also includes some older publisher information
, and especially important is or letter archive of John Keith’s personal and professional correspondence, between 1875 until his death in 1886. These letters reveal insights of the man’s personality and his dealings with his 19th century business world. Please view and explore more than 400 of John Keith’s letters: