Indian Orchard Mill Workers (2)

Another scene showing young mill workers in Indian Orchard, Springfield, Massachusetts, in September 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.


The same building in 2014:


Like the photo in the previous post, the 1911 photo was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine of the National Child Labor Committee to document working conditions of children in the United States and bring about social reform.  Hine’s caption on this photo reads:

Group in front of Indian Orchard Mfg. Co. Everyone in public was working, (see previous lists of names). Location: Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.

I’m not sure which “previous list” he is referring to, but it is probably the one from this photo from the Library of Congress, with a caption that reads:

“Group of workers from Indian Orchard Mfg. Co. including following names and others: Mose Fournier, 297 Worcester St.; in Mr. Karnes’ room. Wilfred Croteau lives on Worcester St., in front of Police Station. Doffer in Mr. Baker’s twisting room. Paul Phaneuf, 189 Franklin St., in Mr. Karnes’ spinning room. Leo La Francis, 12 Quebec St. In beaming room.] Location: Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.”

Indian Orchard Mill Workers (1)

Workers in front of the Indian Orchard Manufacturing Company in Springfield, Massachusetts, in September 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.


The scene in 2014:


The 1911 photo was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine as part of his effort to document child labor conditions around the country.  Here, a group of young boys are posing outside their place of employment at the textile mills of the Indian Orchard Manufacturing Company.  The caption from Hine reads:

Group in front of Indian Orchard Mfg. Co. Everyone in photo was working. Boy not photographed. Hector Dubois, 24 Water St. Doffer in Indian Orchard; crushed finger in pump. Location: Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.”

Although many of them are likely not even teenagers at this point, they were likely finished with school, and were working full time in the factory.  Notice how many are smoking either a pipe or cigarettes, including the boy in the front row just to the left of center, proudly displaying his pack of cigarettes to the camera.

The location hasn’t changed much in the past 103 years; the building still looks much the same as it did in 1911, and even the railroad tracks are still there.  The company is long gone, though, and it is highly unlikely that any of the workers are still alive.  However, photos such as these helped to bring about calls for social reform that would eventually lead to laws against child labor practices in the United States

Brattleboro, Vermont (3)

Looking north from the corner of Main & Canal Streets in Brattleboro, Vermont, around 1917. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.


The scene in 2014:


Taken from across the street from the photos in this post, the 1917 scene shows some of the industrial development along the Whetstone Brook near its confluence with the Connecticut River just to the east (right) of this scene. Many of the buildings still exist, with the oldest one in this scene being the 1850 Van Doorn/Culver Block, in the foreground with the tall gabled roof.

The top photo is part of a panoramic view; the other parts can be viewed here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

Paper Mills, Holyoke Mass

A view of some of the paper mills in Holyoke, Mass, around 1900-1906.  Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The same view in 2014:


It’s a common scene in New England – a once prosperous mill town that fell on hard times once the manufacturing jobs left. Holyoke Massachusetts is a prime example of this; it is located along the Hadley Falls on the Connecticut River, which made it an ideal location for water-powered mills. In 1849, a system of power canals was built parallel to the river, and this section of Holyoke was developed as an industrial center. The city became home to a number of paper mills, giving rise to its nickname as the “Paper City.”  One such paper company, the American Pad & Paper Company, was founded in Holyoke in 1888, and is now one of the world’s largest paper manufacturers, Ampad.

This particular view looks down one of the canals from Gatehouse Road, with several mill buildings visible to the left and center of the photo. The building in the distance in left-center is identified in the first photo as the Valley Paper Company, and although I don’t know what became of the company, their building still exists today, along with many other, now-vacant brick factories in the city.

Smith & Wesson Factory, Springfield, Mass

The Smith & Wesson factory in Springfield, Mass., as it appeared around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:


Originally built in 1860, the Smith & Wesson factory on Stockbridge Street was its corporate headquarters for many years. The company is still headquartered in Springfield, although they have long since moved to their current location on Roosevelt Avenue. In 1972, Dwight Street was extended across much of the land that was once the factory, although I don’t know if the buildings were demolished at that point, or sometime before then.  The building in the background to the right in the 2014 photo was actually around when the first photo was taken; it was at the time the factory for Milton Bradley; it has since, along with several other former industrial buildings in the area, been converted into apartments. At least one of the former Smith & Wesson buildings still exists, just to the right and outside the frame of the 2014 photo, although it wasn’t built until after the 1908 photo was taken. It is also part of the apartment complex.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (6)

Tony Soccha, employee at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass, in November 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

137 1911-11 tony soccha loc

The scene in 2014:

137 2014-03 tony soccha

This young man was identified by photographer Lewis Hine as Tony Soccha, and he gave the following information about him in the caption:

Tony Soccha, 65 Exchange St., a bobbin boy in Room #7. Been there at work one year. Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.