In 1891, a reporter in Gilead had thrown down a
“journalistic” gauntlet when he wrote – “Gilead Booms – She will get ahead of
Rumford Falls -A big lumber mill going
up and eight miles of railroad will be built.”
Up and down the AndroscogginRiver valley,
the people knew about what was being planned and reported from Rumford at the
falls.In 1892, at RumfordFalls
serious excavation, building construction and railroad track laying
gave physical form to what had been months before only newspaper talk.As the year went on, Gilead’s
logging, mill building and railroad expansion began more and more to look like
a drop in the bucket compared to work in progress 20 miles east of Bethel.Two men, Hugh
Chisholm, designer and creator of modern RumfordFalls also
labeled an entrepreneurial “venturer”, and George Bisbee, president of the
Rumford Falls Power Co., were names mentioned often in 1892 news columns.
In 1892, the “new
city” being built at RumfordFalls
attracted the attention of Bethel mill
men and builders as well as the curious populace.
June 14, 1892
conversion of the old RumfordFalls and
Buckfield Railroad bonds due in 1896 and Receiver’s Certificates due in 1893
and 1895 for the new first mortgage bonds recently issued by the Portland and
Rumford Falls Railway is making rapid progress under the direction of Messrs.
Fred E Richards & Co. Over one third are reported to have been exchanged.
June 28, 1892:
RumfordFalls – railroad and road building progress:The depot is nearly completed. It is a very
pretty building 20 by 120 feet with a freight station in one end and the
passenger station in the other. It is painted orange with red trimmings and
looks very much like some of the Maine Central stations.
Work on foundations for the
roundhouse resumed once more after a suspension of a few days.
Mr. Willis who had the
contract for the station also has the roundhouse contract. The work on this
will be done by the day - materials furnished by the railroad company.
Bids will be received until July 2, 1892 for
building the roads according to the plan approved by the county commissioners.
Road specifications are available at the Rumford Falls Power Company office and
at the residences of Henry Abbott and J.H. Howe.
July 5, 1892
James L. Chapman and Charles P. Bartlett plan to erect a mill on SwiftRiver, at
Gammon’s Falls for the manufacture of birch. Building
the mill will begin soon. Mr. Chapman says he intends to put in 1,200 cords of
birch for next year’s sawing. Products of the mill will be shipped out on cars
of the RumfordFalls
railroad. This is one of the many enterprises which the recent developments at RumfordFalls have
July 19, 1892
RumfordFalls:On July 14th, the first brick in the construction of the
paper mill was laid. The foundations are nearly done. A.B.Tower, an eminent engineer and architect
of Holyoke prepared the plans for this mill.
Mr. Hardy S. Ferguson, a graduate of the Thayer School of Civil Engineering, is
the resident engineer in charge of the paper company’s plant. The directors of
the Rumford Falls Paper Company held
a meeting here last week.President:
Daniel Emery; Manager: Garret Schenck and Treasurer: Col. E.H. Haskell.
Ethan Willis will build a round house and an extensive car
shed for the railway company. The contract to build the abutments for the
highway bridge was let to the Maxwells of Phillips. The Portland and Rumford Falls Railway has
decided to extend the line along the south side of the middle canal to Hartford Street where a fine and commodious
passenger station will be erected.
Contractors Spofford & Mitchell have already started
to grade this line. J.H. Wardwell has received his post office commission and
by next week mail should be at the new post office.
August 2, 1892
Regular passenger train service over the RumfordFalls
extension of the Portland and
Rumford Falls Railway began August 1st.“The early train left the new
city at ten-minutes past four and
was followed during the day by three other trains each way.” According to the
correspondent the new service actually began on July 30th when
regular trains passed through to RumfordFalls to
be ready for Monday’s schedule.
The regular afternoon
passenger (Conductor Moore’s train) was the first to arrive and that reached RumfordFalls a
few minutes before . This train was made up of a combination mail
and baggage car, and two new passenger coaches and made a very pretty
appearance as it wound its way up the river bank through the fertile intervale
farms of the Androscoggin
valley.At Dixfield Station, opposite
the village, the train was met by a large audience accompanied by the Dixfield
Brass Band, and given a rousing greeting with band music and cheering.
Contractors Mitchell &
Spofford still have much work to do on the line including grading and
completing sidings. “Their gravel train is still busily at work putting the
finishing touches on to the finest new line of railway in Maine.”
August 9, 1982
RumfordFalls – The New Railroad:Business has been brisk over the Portland and
Rumford Falls Railway since the opening of the extension to RumfordFalls.One excursion trip carried a large SabbathSchool
picnic group of 800 persons to picnic grounds at LakeAnasagunticook. The
reporter wrote that the road is equipped in a manner second to none in the
state. Two passenger trains run each way daily and on Monday and Saturday a
third train is added to the schedule.
train leaves RumfordFalls each
morning at ,
reaching Dixfield at , Canton at , and Buckfield at , and arrives at MechanicFalls at . It makes connection
with Grand Trunk trains. The return train leaves MechanicFalls at , the Buckfield at , Canton at , Dixfield at and it arrives in RumfordFalls at .
Conductor Arthur Allen’s
train leaves MechanicFalls each
morning at ,
connecting with the early train on the Grand Trunk Railway for Portland,
etc.There is a Saturday train that
leaves MechanicFalls for
Rumford at and
arrives at RumfordFalls at .
The arrangements (of these
trains) are first class for the accommodations of the public and the public can
take advantage of the excursion rate during August to visit RumfordFalls –
the Niagara (Falls) of New England.
RumfordFalls: Construction progress: W.F. Putnam
has the hotel (Harris) up and the walls about closed in. The building is 75 by
72 feet, three stories high, six stores on the first floor and a hotel on the
second and third stories. Completion is expected in December. S.H. Rogers has a
crew of masons building chimneys in the hotel.
At the mill, Wm Allen &
Sons have three of the large penstocks in place. S.S. Ordway has about fifty
men at work on the foundations for the ChemicalAssociationBuilding.J.S. Smith & Co. has a crew putting in
the masonry for the head gates in front of the Paper Co. works.
summary of building progress: It was just two years ago when the Rumford Falls
Power Company started work here. Since then a dam has been built across the Androscoggin,
head gates and a masonry wall 200 feet long near the dam, a canal excavated
1500 feet.Work commenced on one of the
largest pulp and paper mills in the State; chemical mill for the manufacture of
bleaching powders, etc, 15 or 20 dwelling houses and stores erected, numerous
streets graded, commencement of another dam at the head of the falls,
commencement of lower level canal, railroad built from Canton, fifteen miles,
branch tracks and every facility for handling freight from the mills. No boom
but steady growth.
September 6, 1892
RumfordFalls:Fred Howe of Bethel has
nearly finished a house for J.E. Stephens.
H.J. Chisholm and George
Bisbee, president of the Rumford Falls Power Company were in town last week.
Mitchell & Spofford have
started laying the branch track along the south side of the middle level
canal.About 85 men are building the
upper dam.Contractor J.A. Greenleaf of Lewiston was
here to check progress on paper mill construction. Work will start soon on the
electric light, power station and the water system.
Real Estate Transfers:Bethel, 4
transfers; Greenwood, 1; Rumford:
Rumford Falls Power Co., 12 transfers, plus four other
RumfordFalls:A Jefferson N.H., man, Joseph Labreque, is
building a three story structure – first story for a store and the other two
for tenements. Work has started on the waste-way near the entrance to the MiddleLevelCanal. The
paper mill is slowly assuming shape with the roof of the finishing room nearly
completed and the walls of the machine room finished in about a week. Four of
the large nine feet in diameter penstocks are in place and the headgate masonry is
underway. Contract has been let by the paper company for 12 houses in the
residence section – contractor is Mr. Summers of Portland.The Power Company has streets in the business
section under construction and will start soon on streets for the residence
section. The Power Co is receiving bids for the superstructure of the Hartford
Street canal bridge. Maxwell Bros.
have two thirds of the east side bridge abutment completed and have started
laying stones on the west side. Prominent visitors this week included: George
d. Bisbee, Hugh J. Chisholm, Daniel F. Emery, M.G. Shaw, T.R. Simonton, C.D.
Brown and E.H. Haskell.
September 20, 1892:
RumfordFalls:Business parties from Portland and Auburn
visit.Eight new buildings were going up
in the business district, five on Congress
Street, two on Canal
Street and one on River
Street.Two men, Coulombe and Bake are preparing a
large building’s foundation on Congress
Street. Work on the mills and
October 4, 1892
Special Column reprinted in
the Oxford Democrat by C.E. Ludden who wrote the original article for the New England Farmer.
not Boom Maine?
veritable Western Boom has Descended on the PineTreeState.
Article describes the boom
times that occurred in the RumfordFalls area.
Some main points are: The Androscoggin valley is noted for its fine intervales.
A few miles from Canton,
capitalists are putting a new city
together where only a year ago a howling wilderness existed. Millions of
dollars will be laid out here this year. A new railroad has been built into the
town, one of the world’s largest pulp mills will be operating in the fall of
1892. Boarding houses, stores, dwellings and buildings are going up on every
hand.Click here to read the complete
October 11, 1892:
business: Bryant & Lander of Kingfield, Maine are
to open a hardware store in the Shaw block and they have bought a lot from J.C.
Fogg and are at work on the foundation for a large building. J.A. Badger has
sold a corner lot on Congress and Bridge Streets to a party from Vassalboro.William Coulombe of BerlinFalls is
building a large boarding house on River
Engineers from Massachusetts
Electric Engineering Co. were here regarding the site for the light station.
The hotel is expected to be completed this month.
Power Co. has let the contract for the approaches to the west end of the bridge
to James McGregor. There will be 10,000 yards if earth and rock excavations.
October 18, 1892
buildings- Corner of Exchange and Canal Streets A.
E. Bartlett is building a foundation forJoseph Hall of Gorham, NH. Franklin
Street – Edward Francis of Bath, Maine is
building two houses for Granby, Vt.
Parties. Knox Street –
Everson of Everson & Liddle Contractors has bought ten lots in the
residence section, plans building on six lots this fall. Hancock
Street – one house by Howard &
Babb. Congress and Bridge Streets – three story
building by J.A. Badger. Congress
Street – a store, Baron & Baker. Houses for the Paper Co. are going up.
River Street: A. Cote new house.
Paper Company mill: The
boiler makers are putting up a large smoke stack five feet in diameter and 165
feet high – not guyed.
Water system: Pipe is here;
C.W. Talcott of Woonsocket, Rhode
Island is expected to start
October 25, 1892
Rumford Falls: New Corporation formed to manufacture
Sulphite pulp. George Fletcher – principal stockholder – claims mill will be
one of largest in Maine, and
will be built this winter.
The Paper Co. is distributing
16 inch cast iron pipe from the upper dam to the mill.Machinery is expected soon.
Rumford Falls Railway: due to increased amount of freight a new engine has been
ordered. “It is a daisy and I think outrivals the other big freight engine.”
Maxwell Bros. have finished
the abutment on the east side of the river and have put an extra force on the
other side of the river quarrying and laying a base. Another derrick has been
set up.“A bridge seems to be the
greatest necessity here at present.”
C.W. Talcott and a crew of 40
Italians will start work on the sewers here soon.
A Mr. Field of Exeter, NH,
came to look over opening a furniture store here. W.V. Lander (from Kingfield)
is doing a good business in stoves, hardware, etc.
Among the visitors this week:
Judge Wilson, Daniel Emery, Jr., George Fletcher, Hugh J. Chisholm and C.W.
We notice a sign on the Shaw
Block, “Hotel Rumford”, and shall be glad when the hotel is opened.
November 1, 1892
A new RumfordFalls enterprise has been organized to carry
on a local publishing and general printing business. Officers of the Rumford
Falls Publishing Company were: President, Waldo Pettengill, Rumford Falls;
Treasurer, E.N. Carver, Canton; Clerk, George Noyes, Portland; Directors, Waldo
Pettengill, E.N. Carver, Harry A Lane, Auburn, A.K. Morrison, Rumford Falls,
and A.D. Park, Hartford.
The company has purchased the plant and business of the
Canton Telephone, Dixfield Citizen and Rumford Falls Echo, previously published
at Canton.Mr. Carver of Canton was editor and manager.Mr. Lane of Auburn was experienced in printing and
will run the job printing office. A new office was to be located at RumfordFalls.
Rumford Falls.A new corporation organized in Portland has the charter to manufacture
Sulphite pulp and fiber here. Capital stock was valued at $200,000. President
was Allan W. Fletcher, Detroit, Michigan; Treasurer, Hugh F. Chisholm, Portland. Bids were opened for the
contract of setting in foundations for the mill but the appointed contractor’s
name was not yet announced.
New buildings: Atwood & Lowe, grain dealers, will
operate from a new three story building equipped with electric motors for
grinding corn, oats, etc. Foster & Weymouth have leased a lot for a mill to
manufacture doors, sash, blinds, etc. The mill will be two stories and 40 by 80
feet. Joseph Hall of Gorham, NH, has a store going up on the corner of Exchange
and Canal Streets. The Shaw Block’s stores were all leased.
Portland and Rumford Falls Railway: To
build the MechanicFalls to Danville Junction extension
was on the week’s agenda. Six bids were opened.They were all rejected because of a change in route plans. Bidders were
given an extension of time.
Water system: C.W. Talcott started laying pipe just above
the mill and the excavation for pipe installation at the upper dam has started.
Forty Italians have arrived here to work for the Light and Water Company
Dam: Work on the last section has begun. The water level
has already risen 18 – 20 inches above the falls.
November 8, 1892
RumfordFalls: The water is flowing over the
upper dam.The river level has been
raised 20 feet there and at RumfordCenter – five miles up the river about
four feet. Ethan Willis – contractor for the light station – has started work.
Fred Carroll is foreman for the Light and Water Co. Work has started on
trenches for the water and sewer lines near the corner of Hartford and Congress Streets.There is an advertisement out for 100
workers, pay $1.75 per day.The bridge
abutments are done and now the contractor is waiting for delivery of the iron
November 15, 1892
RumfordFalls: Digging water and sewer trenches
creates a sight: 125 men throwing up large mounds of earth and stone. The sewer
pipes will be laid 11 feet deep.Many
inhabitants of the Island will put water into their houses this fall.Light and Water Co will put 15 arc lights in
the business section this fall. Incandescent lights
will be put into most of the stores, the hotel, railroad station and many
private residences.Dr. Cameron from Lubec, Maine has started medical practice
here.A drug store will open in the
corner store of the Shaw Block when the building is finished.Babbitt Bros., of Lewiston will open a first class
clothier’s shop next to the post office. Lots on Congress Street sell for $525 to $575, last June
they were going for $400.
December 13, 1892
RumfordFalls: One car load of ironwork for the
bridge has arrived.Furniture is being
set up in the Hotel Rumford; water and sewer pipes have been connected to the
Chase and Gilbert of North New Portland have leased on of
the corner stores in the Shaw Block and intend to stock it with a nice line of
Everson & Liddle have finished one of the abutments of
the Hartford Streetbridge.
Grading for the new depot grounds (vicinity of the end of Hartford Streetbridge)
is almost completed but work on the station will not be started until spring.
Greenleaf & Merrill are rushing their work on the new
December 27, 1892
RumfordFalls: The Chemical Association has
completed their mill and will start up as soon as water is let into the canal.
All of their machinery is of the latest and improved patterns. It has the
largest dynamo ever built by the Thompson-Houghton Company. They will
manufacture caustic soda and bleaching powders.They expect to produce about 3 ½ tons per day this winter and increase
to 40 tons per day.