~ Continued ~
24. Across the street
is a Federal Style residence constructed c1826 as a
boarding house for female employees of the Cotton Mill.
It has traditionally been known as Old Number 1
because it is the first house at the bottom of Factory
Hill. In 1836, Mr. and Mrs. Eben Swett and their son
John moved into the building as managers. John, later
the famous California educator, disliked "town life"and
was much relieved when the family returned to their farm
the following year. The commercial panic of 1837 had
rendered the business unprofitable because of the high
cost of food stuffs.
25. Crossing Main
Street you will come to the site where a five-story
woolen mill was erected during 1826. The following May
it burned to the ground under very suspicious
circumstances. The factory was much hated by farmers
whose daughters left their farms to work in the mill and
many attribute the loss to agrarian arsonists. Rebuilt
of bricks made near Webster's Mills, the new Cotton
Mill building survived until the tragic fire of
1995. At the time it was one of the oldest mills in
continuous use in N. H. The smoke stack, erected in 1883
of 100,000 bricks, as well as the lintel of the 1827
factory, survived the fire.
26. Crossing to Water
Street you will come to the site near where John
Cram constructed his dam and grist mill during
1768-69 and effectively founded the Town of Pittsfield.
The dam was constructed by chopping trees from both
sides of the river and filling in behind with brush,
stones and gravel. In 1826 James Joy, then owner of the
Cotton Mill, erected a new wooden dam. The next was
built in 1883 and during construction, human remains and
a long axe thought to be a tomahawk, were found. It is
believed that they were relics of an old Indian
settlement. The present dam was built in 1920 and still
generates electrical power which is sold to Public
Service of New Hampshire.
James Joy's Dam of 1826
27. Turning onto River
Road you will come to the location of one of
Pittsfield's earliest schools. When the Town granted Mr.
Joy the right to erect his dam in 1826, the mill pond
substantially increased in size causing the River
Schoolhouse to be relocated. One of the early
teachers in the school was Master Joseph Odiorne, who
also served as town clerk for 28 years. At the bottom of
his notes of the 1810 annual meeting he wrote that they
had been recorded "with a metallic pen," probably the
first used in Pittsfield. Among his students were two
individuals who would later gain national reputations,
educator John Swett and antiquarian Samuel G. Drake, who
helped found the New England Historic Genealogical
Samuel G. Drake
28. Further down River Road is the site of Mary's
Bridge, one of two covered bridges in Pittsfield
during the Nineteenth Century. Erected in 1874, it was
named after Mary Bodge, a 23 year old woman who had
drowned here the previous winter. Mr. Butman, who likely
lived in the house just across the river, and Captain
Towle, had removed the little foot bridge in order to
let ice pass underneath. The unsuspecting Mary,
returning from work in the dark of night, attempted to
cross where she had traversed earlier in the day. Her
screams were heard on both sides of the river and
people rushed to her aid, but to no avail.
Mary's Bridge 1874-1910
29. Further down
Bridge Street is the Parsonage House, erected
c1843. The building originally served as the parsonage
for the Free Will Baptist Church on Park Street. In 1907
it was sold to blacksmith George Emerson and moved to
Fayette Street. Its first occupant was veterinarian Dr.
A. E. Atwood. The building was later purchased by
industrialist Fritz Petig who, in 1950, decided to build
a new home on the site. The building was then sold to
Kenneth Garland and moved to its present location.
30. Passing a number
of ornate Nineteenth Century homes, you will come to the
first site of the Pittsfield Weaving Company.
The building was originally located on Depot Street and
housed a wheel wright shop and horse shoeing business.
It was moved here early in the Twentieth Century and for
a while was occupied by the short-lived Wilkinson Shoe
Company. In 1926 a trio of German immigrants led by
Fritz Petig, with capital supplied locally, began one of
the great American success stories. Their woven label
business increased steadily surviving the Great
Depression and by 1982 had outgrown its quarters. The
building was torn down that year and replaced with the
modern one across the street.
Pittsfield Weaving Company 1928
This trail data/booklet was prepared by Larry Berkson,
President of the Pittsfield Historical Society. Without
his diligence this material would not be available.
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