• Erik.W. Tofsrud

Manchester, NH

Entering Smithers

The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company was incorporated in the 1820s and by the mid 19th century, Manchester had become site of the largest cotton mill in the world. The owners learned from the cotton mills in Manchester, England how they had developed their mills.

The mills were constructed on both sides of the Merrimack River and the company flourished for a century. It operated 64 mills that covered a mile and a half of ground.

Since 2000 New Hampshire investors have invested more than 100 million in rehabilitation projects that qualified for tax credits. These buildings are now all occupied and converted to apartments, university buildings, manufacturing sites, and stores. It is an impressive and attractive site and the city insisted that the original design and appearance remain intact .

At the peak of the operation of the mills there were 700,000 spindles and 23,000 looms, which turned out 300,000 yards of cloth each week. Until 1915, Amoskeag supplied all the XX denim used for Levi's 501. The rapid growth of the mills and city lead to a large influx of immigrant workers. Many of these workers were French Canadian and eventually a large percentage of the population was French Canadian. Many of these French Canadians settled on the West Side of the City, where even today some banks and stores still have signs in French. In fact yesterday when we were having a late lunch we saw two little old ladies having their tea while conversing in French. (The photo above is from Heddels)

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