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:

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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.

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The scene in 2014:

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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.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (5)

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

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The scene in 2014:

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Taken at the same spot as Joseph Polchlopek, this photo shows a boy named Joseph Maslak, with the following information provided by photographer Lewis Hine:

Joseph Maslak (alone), 3 Depot St., or 34 Front St., (see 2637). Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Like Polchlopek, he was the son of Polish immigrants, and if the Ancestry.com information is correct, he was born in 1897, making him about 14 when the photo was taken.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (4)

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

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The scene in 2014:

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Lewis Hine provides the following information about this young man, working at the Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass:

Joseph Polchlopek (alone), 37 W. Front St. Says, “Been working here two years and a half.” (See #2638). Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Interestingly, I was able to use Ancestry.com to find out more about Joseph Polchlopek; he was born in 1896 to Polish immigrants (if the last name didn’t give it away), making him 15 when the photo was taken, which would mean that he started working there when he was 12.  According to the 1940 census, the highest grade that he completed was 8th grade, which is impressive if he had been working since he was 12.  In 1939, he worked as a laborer, making $1,100 per year.  He died in New Bedford in 1976, shortly before his 80th birthday.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (3)

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

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In 2014:

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Another photo from Lewis Hine’s documentation of child labor issues in the early 1900s, this one shows a group of young workers at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass.  Hine writes this in his caption:

Group of workers in Dwight Mfg. Co. Stanley Twarog (one of the smallest boys), 81 Park St. Works in spinning room. Tony Sccha [i.e., Soccha], (Shortest boy in front, overalls. Very young. 65 Exchange St. A bobbin Boy in Room 7; has been there a year. Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.
 
Today, all of the boys are (presumably) long-dead, but I’m sure many of their ancestors still live in Chicopee and the surrounding towns, probably unaware of their grandfather or great-grandfather’s role in changing child labor laws in the United States.  The buildings do remain, although the picket fence has been replaced by a far less picturesque chain link fence topped with barbed wire, and the railroad tracks in the foreground aren’t covered in the snow – they are long gone as well.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (2)

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

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In 2014:

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Taken in the same area as this photo, this photo shows a group of workers at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, in November, 1911. Photographing for the National Child Labor Committee, Lewis Hines writes this about the boy in the foreground:

A young boy, unable to speak a word of English. Working here. A boy said his name is John Krakowski. Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.