Maynard Historical Society Podcast #9

20092-263-0548In this podcast Dave Griffin discusses one of the more significant historical books in the collection: a 1930 appraisal of the properties held by the American Woolen Company.

Maynard Historical Society Podcast #9

While the Mill and the town were founded by Amory Maynard, as Amory grew older and infirm a new management scheme for the mill was required. In 1862 the ownership of the Maynard Mill complex moved from the Maynard family ownership to a corporation called the “Assabet Manufacturing Company”  (of which Amory Maynard, was listed as the “agent”). This corporation lasted through the Civil War.

Assabet Manufacturing Company ran until poor business conditions drove it to insolvency on Dec 31, 1898. It stayed operating under receivership until May 1, 1899 when it was purchased by the American Woolen Company for $400,000.  The American Woolen Company was a conglomerate of textile mills in New England and at the time the Maynard Mill was the largest woolen mill in the country with 350 looms.

By the early 1920’s the American Woolen Company had 27 mills, 7,200 looms, and clothed an estimated one in six men in the United States (the cloth was used primarily for men’s suits).  By that time, despite its size and expansion to nearly 800 looms and 2,500 people the Maynard Mill was no longer one of the major mills in the company.

The appraisal of the 267 non-mill properties owned by the American Woolen Company provide an insight into what it was like to live in “company town” back then, the living conditions of the mill workers and the town in general.  For those people who currently live in one of the properties listed, it provides a unique slice of history about their home.
Here are a few pages from the book:
As part of the digitization of the collection, the entire 209 page appraisal is available for download from the Society’s web site.   The file format is Adobe PDF. Please note that this is a relatively large file (90MB), so you don’t want to download it unless you have a reasonably high-speed connection.

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