Poof -11/2/17- The Great Paper Mill III

Hello fellow Berlinites. I would like to finish the story of one of the greatest construction undertakings in this area, the Cascade Mill.

Scattered about the vicinity of the plant were huts of the Italian workmen, many of them curious works in the line of economy material. Yet, this was the temporary abode of the colony that dug and carried much of the material used in laying the foundations of this entire structure. Above the mills stood the Blodgett House, which was obliterated, as it was within the area to be flooded when the gates of the dam were closed.

Going down river a few miles to the third and by no means least of the extensive industrial systems was the lower dam. This dam was a concrete wall 300 feet in length, affording a 25-foot head when it was completed. By December of 1903, the gatehouse and a larger part of the dam were in place.

Leading from this dam on the eastern side of the river was a wide and deep canal 3,800 feet long. This canal can still be seen today, 2017. The passageway itself was unfinished and work was suspended until the spring of 1904. At the foot of this canal was a power house and the dam at the head of it held back sufficient water to give 3,000 hp, which was transmitted up river to the mills.

At this latter place, the main highway had been again altered, and in its place was the western end of the new dam. The new road, with electric car road, led over the hill and again came into the old road near what was then called the Peabody house.

This completed a survey of the new constructions that had been taking place during the past few months. Of those who were active as superintendents on this mammoth enterprise, a few words may not be out of place. The engineers of this work were well known here. The chief engineer was George Ferguson, the general superintendent of these plans. Another was George Lovett, upon whom fell the task of attending to the work in detail on the upper plants. His work of looking after the execution of the plans kept him hustling since the beginning of this project. He had assistance during the summer when the largest crews were employed, but not much of the work was his personally.

The engineering work of the lower dam was attended to by Mr. Doring, of the firm of Greenleaf and Doring, well-known contractors of Lewiston, Maine. The contract for the excavations was given to Ward Brothers of Biddeford, Maine, and Edward Ward of this firm personally superintended the work, which was completed in June of 1903. Since that time, he was employed by the Berlin Mills Company to superintend the construction work for which his long experience, in many places, in the construction of various plants had well fitted him. Work on the foundations of the main mills began on May 28, 1903, and the work was completed by March 1, 1904.

The steel work was done by Cambria Steel Company of Jamestown, Va., which sublet the work to Eastern Bridge Company of Worcester, Mass. C. T. Wright was the superintendent for this company in the work here and had nearly completed his labors on the two upper plants. The steel work on the main mill was completed and the crews were at work on the grinding mill at the upper dam in late 1903. The steel work at the powerhouse at the lower dam had not yet begun.

Now here is what was said about the material effect of this new plant upon our city. Since the first clearing was started, workmen from this city had been employed, and since early when large crews would be used advantageously, about 250 men found work here constantly.

In addition to these, about 50 teams had been used and the revenue thus coming into the city had been no small item, as many of the merchants agreed. In the work of excavation, Ward Brothers employed about 400 Italian laborers and most of these had been continued on to other work. The article said there were about 275 of these “Sons of Italy” doing manual labor on the works.

When completed, the mills would give employment to about 500 men. Of these, quite a percentage would be of the skilled class and would add a perceptible increase to the population of Berlin.

It was the present plan to have the mills so far advanced that they would be producing paper in April of 1904. In order to do this, one of the wheels in the main mill would be used for the generation of electricity and only a part of the mill would be in operation.

The entire plant was to be completed by August 1904 unless unforeseen difficulties arose. The company was now busy cutting a supply of raw material in its forest tracts to be used at these mills. A considerable quantity was being cut in Jericho and it would be brought down the Dead River and then to the mills via the Androscoggin River come spring of 1904.

The Berlin Mills Company (Brown Company) also anticipated the desire of prospective employees for comfortable and commodious homes, conveniently situated near the mills during the summer of 1904. Mr. G. P. Bickford (Bickford Lane), who had charge of this part of the plan, opened up for sale lots of the tract of land located on the west side of the Grand Trunk Railroad (Cascade Hill), which was then known as “Woodland Park.”

This spot was accessed by a highway that wound up the steep hill from the main road and crossed the railroad by an overhead bridge. The location itself was very desirable, being a short walk to the trolley line and the mills, yet affording a degree of retirement because of its higher situation and the intervening growth of trees. Besides the houses that were built by private purchases on these lots, the company erected several houses of its own, with the idea of selling them to future workmen who desired homes ready for occupancy.

Now, the Mason Land Company, though not as early in putting in its territory on the market as Bickford, opened up a parcel known as the Tinker Brook Park (Cascade Flats), named after the brook which still runs through here. This area had a quantity of excellent lots, favorably located and ready for sale. It was not improbable that they too, would soon erect homes on these lots and there was every prospect that a village would soon be underway in what was but woods and bushes in 1902.

Finally, the enterprising Berlin Mills Company had already done so much for the city of Berlin, and this latest move was just more evidence of its interest in the locality and of its enterprise in the business world. To the company, the village of Berlin Mills chiefly owed its existence and maintenance today (1903), while other parts of the city had felt the advantages from arising new mills, which was evidenced by the recent development up to now of unused real estate and the recent openings of new places of business.

The members of this company had already shown a warm interest in the city’s welfare and the present manager, Ortin B. Brown, whose residence was in Berlin, had for a long time been closely identified with the city’s interest, and for the past two years, also participated in the conduct of the school department, namely the school board.

Upon Mr. Brown fell the major portion of the work of launching the new industrial system and he personally superintended much of the activity on this construction. It was now (1903) safe to say that he had upon his hands one of the most significant commercial enterprise problems recently attempted by any businessman in the Granite State, as well as one of the largest.

When the Cascade Paper Mill was built, it was not only the finest paper mill in existence, but also the largest self-contained unit making both the raw pulps and the finished product at one plant. What a boon it was to the Berlin-Gorham area back then.

Questions or comments email <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>. Also, join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the previously posted weekly mystery pictures.

10 31 17 Poof Cascade Mill 1Cascade Mill 1



10 31 17 Poof Blodgett House CascadeBlodgett House Cascade




10 31 17 Poof Ortin B. BrownOrtin B. Brown


10 31 17 Poof G.P. BickfordG.P. Bickford


10-26-17 Poof The Great Paper Mill II


Hello fellow Berlinites. Continuing with the immense development by the Berlin Mills Company between Berlin and Gorham, after the first dam and then the railroad trestle, we came to the main plant, which was considered a mammoth structure of its kind.

It is situated on the western bank of the river on a comparatively level strip of the valley, which is wider at this point than further up. The sharp descent afforded the immense power that was being harnessed and the location offered many features that would aid in placement of the dam.

The point of land extending from the eastern shore and the large ledge at about the middle of the old channel afforded a good foundation upon which to rest the main dam and these were both utilized. The ledges that were formerly the chief features of the landscape were made over and distributed at various points in and around the buildings.

The dam itself, which was the first point of interest, was a high wall of concrete through which the water was now pouring by means of openings left for this purpose. In shape it is circular with the outer or longer surface facing up stream.

Its eastern end was founded on the point of land and culminated in an immense block of concrete. The center rests on the ledge mentioned above and its western termination was a gatehouse and gates, 13 in number. The gatehouse reached to a convenient knoll thus tying together in one, all three natural points of anchorage.

The dam is of different heights at different points, varying from 25 to 58 feet. It is 316 feet long and as it stood gave 8,000 horsepower. It was also arranged that, if at some time in the future, more power was required an addition may be readily made and power increased. This dam was created on Dec. 5, 1903.

Below the dam is an enclosure of some 3 acres surrounded by a concrete wall on the riverside, the gates at the head of the pent-stocks and the wall of the middle on the southern side, the wall of the boiler on the western side, and the gates of the dam on the northern side. This bay is fed from the gates of the dam and in turn supplied water to the wheels of the mill.

On the western side of the bay mentioned above, stands the boiler house. This is a commodious brick building with room for nine boilers, which would furnish 5,000 hp. By December of 1903, one of these was already in place and in operation. It was used to heat some of the rooms where work was taking place back then during the cold months.

There were six pent-stocks, which were situated on the north side of the building below the bay and their wheels would be put into position at this time. To start with, only four wheels were installed. One was already in place and the others were put in when it was convenient.

Beyond these buildings were the grinder and wood rooms. The former was 126×170 feet and the latter 106×170 feet. Both of these had commodious basements with tanks and other paraphernalia for the work carried on here.

The sulphite room was situated on the east side of the screen room and was the highest of the buildings. It had a capacity of 80 to 125 tons per day. I am sure that some of these places still exist, but no longer are operational. Someone who works all over this mill today could probably tell me.

The digester house was 40×84 feet and 100 feet high, and in addition to this there were four blow pits 68×84 feet. The screen rooms had three floors including a basement and were next in order. It afforded ample room for the disposing of the work to be done in this department.

Next to the screen room was the beater room and this was a grand and roomy area 72×155 feet. Like the screen room, it had three floors including the basement where the engines were located as well as the pumps for pumping the material into the machines above.

The machine room joined the beater room on the south and was the grand center of the plant. The surface here is 150×240 feet, the floor being in the hands of the concrete and mason people by December 1903. The floor was soon to be completed and then the machines put into place at once, as one was being put in during the end of 1903.

This room accommodated four machines each having a capacity of 32 tons of paper per day making the total production of the paper plant about 140 tons daily. These machines were of the Halley and Sewell type made in Watertown, New York.

Beyond the machine room came the finishing room, which measured 124×146 feet. Here, the product would be prepared for the market and the floor space afforded ample room for the work. This room was yet to be completed, but by the end of winter 1904 was ready for service.

On the far side of the finishing room was the storage room and this space was 124×145 feet. It was used for storing such stock as was made and not shipped immediately. Beyond the storage room was the repair shop, 121×124 feet. In this room, the carpenters were now at work using it as a workshop. By the end of December 1903, a considerable amount of machinery had already been installed and employed by the workmen.

In the southwest corner of this building was situated the main office of the mill. This room was about 30×124 feet. The superintendent’s office was also connected to this making everything convenient and well located.

This was the completion of the interior of the main mills and the outside presented little beyond what was seen about other similar plants. The large brick buildings with their steel skeletons gave the observer an impression of stability and power, which would only be more realized a few months later when the wheels began their ceaseless work and the great machines emitted the compact rolls of paper adding so much more to Berlin’s reputation as a “Paper City.”

Perhaps the most conspicuous feature of the exterior of this plant was the chimney, which towered from the roof of the boiler house. This was built during the summer of 1903 under the supervision of H. C. Rowell, who had meritoriously won a wide reputation along this line of work. This monument of brick, which is still there today (2017), stands 233 feet high above the ground with a diameter of 19 and one half feet at the base and 10 feet at the bottom. I wonder if there are any machines in this mill that were there from its inception? I do not know the answer to this question.

I will finish the story of this great undertaking 114 years ago in my next week’s writing.

Questions or comments email <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>. Also, join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the previously posted mystery pictures.


10 26 17 Cascade Mill 2017Cascade Mill 2017


10 26 17 Cascade Mill siteCascade Mill site


10 26 17 Cascade Mill BridgeCascade Mill Bridge

10 26 17 Cascade 1927Cascade 1927


John Gralenski: Much to my surprise, Zelda makes her own way home

Leadmine Brook starts way up on the mountainside out back. It comes through the gorge caused by the ore vein where the old mine used to be, and ripples down the valley to the Androscoggin. It isn't noted for big fish; in fact an eight-incher is considered a “lunker.” Still, it has a good supply of the sardine-sized trout that fry up just fine. Since the season was about over, I decided to make one last fishing trip up there. I loaded up my gear and my old beagle, Zelda, and headed out.
Zelda is getting on in years. She's a refugee from Katrina, the big storm that hit Louisiana a little over 10 years ago. She limps some, her eyes are getting cloudy, and she doesn't hear very well. Still, she loves to go fishing. She wanders around, gets her feet wet, and sniffs out all the activity in the area. She keeps checking on me and doesn't get too far away.
I've given up wading. I'm a little unsteady on my feet, and last season, trying to maneuver on the slippery rocks, I found myself sitting in the brook a few times. I limit my brook fishing to a few pools that have good banks where I can easily fish from shore.
At the first hole, I caught a couple, then the action died and it was time to move on. I looked around for Zelda, but she was not nearby. I called as I walked back to the car, but she was nowhere around. Well, I thought, she always comes back to the road to wait for me, so I drove the hundred yards up to the next hole, tooting the horn as I went.
I got a few more fish there, and decided to quit. Still no Zelda. I got in the car and drove back by the first fishing hole, going slow, tooting the horn all the time. No sign of the dog. I drove all the way to the North Road — she usually follows the road — without a trace of her.
Now I was getting worried. This was unusual. Perhaps she crossed the brook where there are camps on the other side. I drove up there, tooting as I went. No luck. I drove up and down the North Road to see if she'd wandered in either direction. Still nothing.
I kept thinking of the poor old dog. Maybe she got confused, turned the wrong way and was limping the 20-some miles toward Sunday River. I'll have to put out the word: lost dog.
I went back to the house after about an hour of searching. I was getting more worried. I started puttering in the kitchen. There was a banana skin on the counter. That would have to go to the compost pan on the back porch before it attracted a mess of fruit flies. As I stepped out on to the porch, guess who was curled up on her blanket? Zelda didn't even raise her head. She opened one eye and looked at me. "I want to rest a while," she said. "I'm kinda tired. I had to walk home, you know."
John Gralenski is a resident of Shelburne.

Jason Robie: Make your bathroom shine

While living in a tiny cabin (300 square feet) over in Lincoln, my bathroom was literally in between the living room and bedroom. Needless to say, privacy was not on the menu when I had visitors. Convenient escapes out to the kitchen (or my truck) offered a little more of a buffer and made the space tolerable. For the price I was paying, it was worth the hassle. Today, I have four bathrooms to clean and I’m (sort of) lamenting those simpler times.
While a bathroom is not the most prominent room in the house, there’s no reason it can’t stand out (in a good way). We've all had small, large, cramped and expansive bathrooms in our lives. Today I'd like to explore a few of the ways you can make your bathroom shine. There are ways to make it flow better (no pun intended), stand out a bit and even be more welcoming and have that “wow” factor. These tips are great whether you are selling or not.
Long ago I shared a story about painting my kitchen bold shades of blue and yellow. It was a bright look to the room and helped liven up the place a bit. It also happened to be the central room on that floor acting as the axle for the two bedrooms, bathroom and living room. I painted it those colors because there were (are) my favorites, but thankfully the tenants didn’t mind it one bit.
You can get creative (and bold) in your bathroom with colors since the space is usually not all that overwhelming in size. You may not want to go crazy with multiple variations in one room, but you could paint three walls one color and leave the fourth for a highlight wall. Many times the creative, bold colors will make the room feel larger and can even take the focus off the smaller space. Mostly, the bathroom is a great sized room to do some testing and get creative. Let your creative juices flow and give it a shot. The worst that will happen is you'll have to re-paint.
Along those lines of painting a highlight wall is the creative (but limited) use of wallpaper. Filling the whole room with some pattern could be very overwhelming and might even cause seizures! But if you have a fairly mellow tone of paint, don't be afraid to spice it up with a top border of wallpaper or (again) even target a single wall. Much like with the painting exercise before, if you hate it you can easily strip it off and start again. The task won't be nearly as daunting if you had done a whole bedroom with that pattern.
Lastly for the walls is artwork. Obviously the standard beach scene is a safe bet, but don't be afraid to be bold here as well. There are plenty of great deals at the thrift store that would make a perfect addition to your bathroom. Not only can they be conversation starters, but they will draw your eye away from the other “toilet-y” things in the room and add some creativity and life.
Something we incorrectly tend to shy away from in the bathroom is furniture. I'm not saying you should throw a love seat next to the toilet, but you can add some pieces in here to help the layout. Remember when you're staging a room; smaller furniture makes the space feel larger. Follow the same tenet in the bathroom and add a small bookcase or even a small chair to the area. It will break up the room, provide an additional place to put “stuff” and help keep you organized if you don't have a sizable vanity.
In small spaces and in dark places (like New Hampshire in the winter), lighting is key. The bathroom is no exception here, and lighting should be thought out well and experimented with a bit. So often we are tied to the same old notion that a couple of vanity lights or even an overhead light/fan combo is all we need. While that may be true, toss out those old notions and get a bit more creative.
“I always like the presence of lighting other than the standard wall sconces and vanity lights so ever-present in most bathrooms,” notes Badger Realty agent Susan Solar. “A lamp on a shelf or bookcase or even a simple hanging light can bring so much more taste and design to this small but important room,” she continued.
Lastly, don't be afraid to replace your hardware and allow it to coordinate with the theme you have created with all your new additions. The sink and tub are pretty prominent pieces in the bathroom, and, if you've gotten creative with the rest of the room, don't stop there. The variety available today is simply mind-blowing and you'll be able to put the finishing touches on your awesome bathroom to complete the look.
Have fun with your bathroom and your kids will look forward to bathing and brushing their teeth more. OK, maybe not, but at least you'll love one more room in your home!

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster: Friendship House expansion important step in opiod fight

In New Hampshire and across the country, we are facing a devastating opioid epidemic. Last year, opioid overdoses killed 65,000 Americans — more than car accidents, suicides and firearms combined. In New Hampshire, it’s likely that nearly 500 people died of overdoses in 2016, but we still don’t have the final number because of the large backlog of cases being analyzed. Our system is being overwhelmed at every level, especially in the North Country where resources are severely lacking. This is undeniably a public health crisis, and we need to be doing everything we can to strengthen prevention, treatment, and recovery services and strategies.

The expansion in progress at Bethlehem’s Friendship House is an important step forward in our fight to combat the opioid epidemic. Friendship House is the North Country’s only short-term residential and outpatient treatment center, and it provides critical counseling and support services to individuals who live in a traditionally underserved part of New Hampshire. Unfortunately, like many other treatment centers across the state, Friendship House is not always able to help every person who needs treatment due to a lack of available beds. This is one of the top concerns I hear from families across my district who have been impacted by the opioid crisis. In fact, New Hampshire’s per capita rate of addiction is among the worst in the country, yet our state ranks second to last in access to treatment. That is simply unacceptable, and potentially life threatening to those dealing with substance misuse. If we aren’t able to provide treatment to those struggling to get help and support, then more lives will be lost and more families will be shattered.

That’s why I am so thankful to Tri-County Community Action Program, North Country Health Consortium, and AHEAD, Inc. for coming together and setting up an arrangement to have AHEAD purchase Friendship House and lead the construction of a new building with 32 treatment beds. I’m also grateful to the Northern Border Regional Commission for providing $150,000 in funding to make this expansion possible, and proud to have written a letter in support of these funds last year. This project was truly a community effort, and it would not have become a reality were it not for many people and organizations stepping up to the plate to help.

The expansion will allow the Friendship House to treat more people who are in need of help and who otherwise may not have anywhere else to go. This not only is life changing (and potentially lifesaving) for the patients; it is life changing for their families, friends, colleagues, and communities as well. No one should have to suffer the pain of losing someone they care about to drug overdose, and when everyone is given the support they need to overcome adversity and live up to their potential, our communities and our economy are stronger and more productive as a result.

I am excited to witness the positive changes this re-development will bring to the North Country and New Hampshire as a whole, and proud to have supported the funding that made this possible. In addition to advocating for facilities like the Friendship House, I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this epidemic. Residents of the North Country and people across the Granite State and around the country who have felt the devastating impacts of this crisis deserve nothing less.

(U.S. Congresswoman Annie Kuster represents N.H. Congressional District 2.)