Wanted: Your memories of mill life


Did you know 12 mills in Berkshire County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places?

Here they are:

n Windsor Print Works (since 1973) at 121 Union St., North Adams.

n Rising Paper Mill (1975) on Route 183 in Great Barrington.

n Renfrew Mill No. 2 (1982) at 217 Columbia St., Adams.

n Philips Woolen Mill (1982) at 71 Grove St., Adams.

n Norad Mill (1985) at 60 Roberts Drive, North Adams.

n Monument Mills (1983) at Park and Front streets, Great Barrington.

n Johnson Manufacturing Co. (1985) at 65 Brown St., North Adams.

n H.W. Clark Biscuit Co.(2009) at 179-191 Ashland St., North Adams.

n Blackinton Historic District, which has a mill, (1985) on Massachusetts Avenue, North Adams.

n Berkshire Mill No. 1 (1982) on Hoosac Street, Adams.

n Beaver Mill (1973) on Beaver Street, North Adams.

n Arnold Print Works (1985) at 87 Marshall St., North Adams.

Lots of these mills now have new identities. For example, the Norad Mill is now the home to Excelsior Printing, while Arnold Print Works is now Mass MoCA.

These mills and the many others that span the county’s landscape tell a fascinating history of the Berkshires from the Industrial Revolution to their modern re-uses (or lack thereof). That’s why we’re making the mills of the Berkshires into a special section for the annual Berkshire Business Outlook coming at the end of next month.

If you worked in a Berkshire County mill back in the day, we’d love to hear your story and share it in this special section. We may even select one of you to appear in our short-video documentary on life in the mills.

Here’s some of what we’re curious to know: What was life like in the mills? Did you quit grammar school to work in a mill? How long did you work there? What was the atmosphere like? How difficult was the work? What were the hours? What social life centered around the mills? How did mill work affect you? Do you have fond or difficult memories of the work? What did you make or assemble? What were your bosses like? How did work in the mills influence the rest of you life? What did it teach you? What was it like when the mill closed?

You can write The Eagle to share your story. Send letters to The Berkshire Eagle, c/o Kevin Moran, PO Box 1171, Pittsfield, MA 01202. If you’re emailing, send it to kmoran@berkshireeagle.com.

We hope to hear from many of you.


Rotarians step up: Celebrating 90 years of civic pride, the Pittsfield Rotary Club recently raised $55,000 to benefit area health, youth and cultural organizations.

The Rotarians annual "A Night at the Oscars Rotary Auction" held late last month at the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield will replenish the coffers of the club’s Benevolence Fund. The fund provides grants to Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield, Pittsfield Family YMCA, Berkshire Music School, Berkshire Humane Society, NAMI Berkshire County, United Cerebral Palsy and Berkshire Museum just to name a few, according to Rotary President Thomas Sherman.

"The club’s 60-plus members get behind this event because every member knows that the funds raised will go into supporting benevolent projects and programs that benefit our community," Sherman told County Fare.

In addition to hosting their largest fundraiser of the year, Pittsfield Rotary also collected money toward the purchase of more than 1,000 turkeys for the local churches "Thanksgiving Angel" program in November. Rotarians also raised $9,000 and 9,000 pounds of food for its own food drive.

For more information on the Pittsfield Rotary Club, go to rotarypittsfield.org or like them on Facebook to keep up to date on upcoming events.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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