And So It Goes

My random online scrapbook

Local History

From a Mill in Minetto

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Early Years
  3. Company & Country
  4. Company & Community
  5. Post World War II
  6. The Cleanup
  7. References

Introduction

Throughout our history, manufacturing and industrialization have led to the creation, as well as the destruction, of many small towns. The Town of Minetto, located in Central New York, is just such an example.

While researching the Crouch family history, I was exposed to The Minetto Shade Cloth Company. This is where my wife’s great grandfather, Harry Crouch, worked for many years. As a resident of the Minetto / Volney area for the majority of his life, virtually all of his family’s activities and employment opportunities were associated with this company in one way or another. Upon further research, it became very apparent that if you lived in the Minetto area, it was a good chance that you or your family had a connection to the plant.

The short essay that follows highlights the rise and fall of the company that gave birth to a town and died with the demise of an industry. Much thanks goes out to Cathy Mulcahey, Minetto Town Historian, for allowing me to use many of the images found within this piece and for her help in my research efforts.

The Early Years

Alanson Sumner Page (Churchill, J.C., Smith, H.P., & Child, W.S., 1895)

The model industrial community about which novelists and magazine writers and social economists have written so voluminously and eloquently is no Utopian dream or myth. Oswego has one at her very door. Minetto is the place and the big Shade Cloth Factory which gave the village its name, has made it so. In fact, there is nothing to Minetto but the factory, for without it the place would probably not be in existence. The church, the school, the stores, hotels and residences have all been made possible the existence of “the factory”. None of the workers or residents of Minetto think of calling it anything but “the factory” and they say it in a homey, personal way, much as you would speak of your own home.

The vision for the Minetto Shade Cloth Company can be attributed to Alanson Sumner Page. Mr. Page, a well educated man, decided to pursue his love for business over the ambitions of his practice of law. In 1850 he moved to Oswego and began a lumber business under the firm of Clark & Page (Churchill, J.C., Smith, H.P., & Child, W.S., 1895, p.11). In 1853, Clark & Page purchased the water power and an old saw mill from Bejamin Burt (p.12). From 1853 through 1879, Alanson Page would go on to achieve multiple successes working on various ventures in the lumber and distilling industries.

It was the 1870 invention of the wooden shade roller with a spring re-roll (Maclead, 1989, p.2) that would start to shape the future of Minetto.  With this invention, the window shade was now financially practical to market and a lucrative industry was born. In 1879, Mr. Page recognized the potential of this industry and believed he could compete for a share of its profits. The shade cloth business in Oswego, New York was enjoying financial success and at that time, the Oswego Shade Cloth Company was his only regional competition. So, in partnership with Cadwell B. Benson and Charles Tremain, he formed the Minetto Shade Cloth Company (pg.12).

1899 – Minetto Shade Cloth Company (Eben Page Collection, Town of Minetto)

The site of the old Burt saw mill was remodeled and a new building, 300′ x 40′ was constructed. With a work force of 25 people, the mill began operations (“Town of Minetto known”, 1976). Under Page’s management, the business grew, becoming “one of the largest industries in Northern New York” (Churchill, J.C., Smith, H.P., & Child, W.S., 1895, p.12). Additional buildings were erected, workman’s quarters were built and new processes evolved. By 1895, the mill was becoming nationally recognized, employed about 250-350 people and was distributing product across the United States (1976).

n.d. – Hand Painters (Eben Page Collection, Town of Minetto)

The lecture provided by A.H. McLead to the Washburn Historical Society in 1989 provides an outstanding account of the processes and materials used to produce shade cloth products in the early days (a transcript of this presentation is available at the Town Office in Minetto). One of the products mentioned is hand painted shade cloth. This product would be synonymous with quality associated with the company’s name for decades to come.

In 1896, the Minetto plant entered into an agreement with the Columbia Shade-Cloth Company to distribute goods from the Minetto Shade-Cloth Company and the Meriden Curtain Fixture Company (“Not afraid of the anti-trust law”, 1908, p.64). The Columbia Shade-Cloth Company was a very large selling agent and represented many shade cloth companies such as Opaque Shade Cloth Company of Chicago, Keystone Cloth Company of Philadelphia, The Pinney, Cassy & Lacky Company of New Jersey and Bay State Roller Company of Sommerville (Maclead, 1989, p.6). Unknown at the time, this relationship would be a keystone to the company’s longevity in the future. It would also prove to be very lucrative for the distribution of its current products. The Oswego Daily Times had noted the plant’s assessment in 1896 at $36,700 and in 1897 at $44,425 (“Minetto”, 1898).

1911 – Minetto Postcard

As the company grew, so did the community around it. For example, the Minetto Fire Department, known as the “A.S. Page Volunteer Hose Company of Minetto, New York” was organized in 1879 as a service to the Minetto Shade Cloth Company and would remain under its organization until its incorporation in 1938 (CNY Fire, http://www.cnyfire.net/minettofd/History/tabid/515/Default.aspx). One of its first major tests was a fire in the finishing building in February of 1900. Although completely demolished, the department managed to contain the blaze and the building was replaced by October of the same year (“Minetto Shade Cloth Plant”, 1907).

Upon the death of Mr. Page, around 1904, C.B. Benson took over the active management of company (“Minetto Shade Cloth Plant”, 1907). The postcard below depicts Benson Avenue. The house, as was the case with many of the residences provided by the factory, was awarded to families based on their position with the company. I also found this to be true with the less elaborate houses located on Crown Avenue, where the Crouch families used to live.

n.d. – Benson Avenue, Minetto (Postcard)

The picture (above) on your page of the Minetto web site was the home of Elwood Diment, General manager of Columbia Mills from the period about 1925 until his death in about 1940. He was succeeded by his son (Horace, I believe) who took up residence in the same house, as well as the General Manager position. I was a child of the same age as Elwood’s grandson, William Horace Diment, and played in the house many times“ there were many trap doors in the floors which local legend variously attributed to the storage of valuables or the hiding of escaped slaves ( a bit of a stretch, I think). The back of the building contained an ice house which was filled in the spring with ice blocks cut from the Columbial Mills’ pond by Mr. Wilbur, father of Fred Wilbur, a current contributor to the Oswego Palladium Times.

(http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyoswego/towns/minetto/index.html)

In 1905, under Benson’s direction, the plant withdrew its affiliation with the Columbia Shade-Cloth Company, opened a New York office at 41 Union Square, in the Hartford Building and began facilitating direct sales (“Minetto Shade-Cloth Company Will Now Sell Direct”, 1905, p.68). By this time, the company know occupied 23 buildings and had the capacity of turning out “daily anywhere from 22,000 to 25,000 mounted shades, irrespective of their shade roller or shade cloth output” (“Recently withdrawn from the big combine”, 1905, p.79).

The plant as a whole is operated by water-power, and at low-water mark they have an energy of some 4,000 horse-power … The buildings are lighted throughout with electricity and equipped with every device for protection against fire, including a most adequate sprinkler system. The company also owns a number of small residences adjacent to the mills, which are occupied by their operatives.

(The American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, 1905)

By 1907, the company had continued to expand and was now world renown. If adjusted for inflation, their annual plant output would be valued today at around $23,094,966. “The Minetto Shade Cloth Company has the largest plant of its kind in the world. It employs approximately 400 persons, about fifty of whom are women and girls. The weekly pay-roll is $3,000 per week or $150,000 per year; the buildings are twenty in number, thirteen being devoted to manufacturing purposes and seven storehouses, etc., and cover about twelve acres. Each of the groups of buildings are connected with materials and supplies are carried. The annual output of the plant is valued at $1,000,000, and to facilitate the disposal of this immense stock the company has branch offices in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco besides six experienced selling agents travelling from the home office.” (“Minetto Shade Cloth Plant”, 1907)

n.d. – Columbia Mills, Minetto (Eben Page Collection – Town of Minetto)

“In 1908, Minetto combined with the Meriden Curtain Fixture Company, Meriden Conneticut, to become the Minetto-Meriden Shade Company. It was felt that this [merger] would make a good combination and increase marketing capabilities” (Maclead, 1989, p.7). In 1912, Columbia acquired the Wyoming Valley Lace Mills of Wilkes Barre, PA and in 1914 they purchased the Minetto-Meriden Shade Company. Columbia Mills discontinued shade manufacturing at the Meriden location and invested heavily into the Minetto plant. New product lines included Venetian blinds, bookbinding, fabrics, tag and label cloths, sign and poster fabrics and surgical gauze. The main office was located in Syracuse, New York with sales offices around the country (“Columbia Mills grows business”, 1964, p.20). According to the Oswego Daily Times — “consideration [for the Minetto-Meriden Shade Company] said to be about $500,000” (“Minetto Shade Cloth plant passed”, 1908, p.1).

Columbia Mills Map (Sanborn Map Company, 1923)

Because of the growth and success of the mill, Minetto, formerly part of Oswego, became a town in 1916 (Mulcahey, 2012). By 1923, the Minetto mill was now employing 600 workers and making a name for itself with the new product lines (2012). Schematics for some of the patents acquired by either the Minetto Shade Cloth Company or Columbia Mills are displayed at the link below:

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Production from other plants was being diverted to the Minetto location as Columbia Mills continued to acquire and consolidate smaller companies, shuffling production from location to location. They purchased the Talbert-Whitsmore Shade Company in Los Angeles in 1928 and liquidated The O ‘Rieley Shade Roller Company, from Brooklyn, NY in 1931 (Maclead, 1989, p.7).

Company & Country

In an era that is plagued with wars, the meaning of sacrifice on behalf of the average civilian seems to have been lost. For the most part, the majority of use are no longer asked to contribute to the war effort. The patriotism I discovered, both on behalf of the residents of Minetto and by Columbia Mills, throughout the duration of World War II was inspirational.

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On July 5th, 1941, Columbia Mills President F.B. Reynolds appointed James S. Diment as plant manager for the Minetto location. Under his watch, the Minetto plant began producing products to support the war effort and supplement consumer production shortages due to the rationing of materials (“James S. Diment made manager”, 1941, p.3). Millions of yards of camouflage materials were processed for the Army and Navy, as well as an abundance of airplane and glider parts for dummy planes. Many of these goods were manufactured at little or no profit (Maclead, 1989, p.7) and Columbia Mills engaged all of its plants in war time production.

The highly specialized woodworking skills required for Venetian blinds were put to use in the manufacture of cases and special boxes for packing weapons and ordinances supplies. The plant’s sewing departments turned out huge quantities of head nets, mosquito [protection] other similar items

(“Columbia Mills grows business”, 1964, p.20).

The factory also made an effort to get its employees involved in the purchase of war bonds to support the country’s war effort. By November of 1942, the factory’s workforce, then totaling between 600-700 employees saw 98% of its employees pledging to buy war bonds through payroll deductions. This unified show of patriotism earned the factory a Minute Man Flag (“Factory has pledged 98 percent”, 1942). The flag was presented by E.W. Skinner of the Treasury Department and proudly flown alongside the Oswego River.

1942 – Minute Man Flag Raising (Eben Page Collection – Town of Minetto)

I’ve come across many instances of patriotism and support by Columbia Mills for the citizens of Minetto. For example, the mill encouraged employees to actively donate blood to the Red Cross. As an incentive to donate, two hour periods were blocked out of the working day so employees could donate blood (“Columbia Mills employees going to offer blood”, 1943).

Company & Community

What’s more, from all of my research, it appears that Columbia Mills really cared about its employees. I have to admit that when I found that the company owned the factory, the houses, the stores, well … almost the entire town, my curiosity was raised. Upton Sinclair’s masterpiece “The Jungle” graphically depicts a similar type of situation that plagued the big cities. Employees would work for a company, live in company houses, purchase goods in company stores and eventually discover that they were constantly sliding backward into debt, have no job security, lose their houses, lose their health and sometimes their lives. To my surprise I not only found nothing like that in my research, I found just the opposite.

One of the unique aspects of the Minetto Shade-Cloth Company was its symbiotic relationship with its workers. Unlike many of the city based manufacturers, most of their work force lived on farms and managed their farming duties after work. The mill allowed many of the workers to operate on piece work so that once their quota was achieved, they could return to the chores on their farms. The mill also provided a stable and wagon shed with accommodations for 40 horses and wagons for their workers.

Post WWI Baseball League (Eben Page Collection – Town of Minetto)

The mill invested in recreational opportunities for its employees and the community. They went as far as to sponsor parades, recreational sports leagues, even build a bowling alley.

Columbia Club House / Bowling Alley ( Courtesy of Harold Clark)
Company Houses on Crown Avenue (Courtesy of Town of Minetto Archives)

The Columbia Mills, where my dad [Harry Crouch] worked, was really a big mill.  They made window shades that pull up and down, you know.  Then they made Venetian blinds after that and paint after that.  The whole village grew up around that mill.  They had their own little restaurant and grocery store … two grocery stores … and a post office.  We had one doctor there, Dr. Wallace, and after he died there was Dr. Fata, I think the name was.  The school was there and only one gas station.

The train station in Minetto was on the far side of the town and it was in the woods.  I remember going up to the woods in the fall and gathering nuts.  There were walnuts and several different kinds of beach nuts.  That was quite a thing to go up there and get a basket full of nuts.

The fire department in Minetto was the mill.  It was a volunteer fire department and when the whistle blew, it meant everyone had to get out to go to the fire.  I don’t remember too many fires.  Then when the fire was out, they would then blow the whistle twice.  The whistles were to alert the workers in the mill, which almost everyone who lived there worked at the mill.

We moved into a mill house when my dad was working at Columbia Mills.  He was a foreman there and we were eligible to have one of the mill houses.  It was on, what they called, Crown Avenue, which is no longer.  There were four stucco houses, very nice houses, for the foreman there.  Ours was a two family one.  We first moved into the upstairs and then into the downstairs.

We had steamed heat, which was piped in from the mill.  You had all the heat you wanted.  In fact, if you wanted less, you opened the doors and let the hot air out.  We also had cockroaches that came through on the steam pipes.  They were the bane of my mother’s existence.  She spent her time fighting cockroaches.

We had an oil stove that we first cooked on.  It was a funny looking thing.  It had, like chimneys, on it and the oven you set on top of the stove to bake.  Sometimes, the oil would leak and it would run into a little pan under the burners.  And sometimes it caught fire and you grabbed the stove and ran outdoors with it.  Then we got an electric stove after that.

When my dad died, the mill was very good to my mother. They allowed to stay in the house six months before she decided to move in with us.

(K. Wheeler, Audio Autobiography, 1997)

Posted below is a link to a gallery of images selected from the Eben Page Photo Collection, housed in Town of Minetto office. They provide a glimpse of the factories and people of Columbia Mills.

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1893 - Original Minetto Shade Cloth Company Sizer - Eben Page Collection
Sample of hand painted illustrations offered by the mill.
1928 - Minetto Shade Cloth Company Office Staff - Eben Page Photo Collection
1942 - War Bonds - Eben Page Photo Collection
1942 - Flag Presentation - Eben Page Photo Collection
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1948 - Columbia Mill Product Display - Eben Page Photo Collection
1949 Christmas Party - Eben Page Photo Collection
1949 - Columbia Mills - Eben Page Photo Collection
1950 - Columbia Mills - Eben Page Photo Collection
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1939 - Columbia Mills Los Angeles - Eben Page Photo Collection
1966 - Cornwall - Eben Page Photo Collection
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Post World War II

At the conclusion of the war, consumer demand for mill products increased and the company began to juggle resources once again. Unwise lace mill improvements, unobtainable during the war, resulted in bank loans of $2,500,000 in 1947, escalating to $4,800,000 by the spring of 1948 (Columbia Mills, 1959, p.1). The roller operations division of the Minetto mill was moved to the west coast plants in July of 1949 (“Columbia Mills Dept. Will Be Shut July 11”, 1949) and the general offices were moved in 1948 from 225 5th Avenue, New York, New York to 408 South Warren Street, Syracuse, New York (“Columbia Mills general offices to Syracuse”,1948). The Chicago plant was sold in 1949 and their cloth division was moved to Minetto. The wood roller products were moved to Saginaw and the Venetian blind production in Minetto was moved to Los Angeles (Maclead, 1989, pp.7-8). Through these efforts, bank loans were reduced to $3,465,000 by the end of 1949 (Columbia Mills, 1959, p.2).

By the early 1950s, much of the cloth products were being produced and improved upon by companies like Johson & Johnson and Kodak. Additionally, the overall demand for roller shades was diminishing. As a result, “Losses continued in 1950 and 1951 during which years the Wilkes Barre lace mill was closed and sold and the electric generating station at Minetto sold, the proceeds being used to reduce bank loans. At December 31, 1951 these had been reduced to $2,475,000 but with little expectation on the part of the banks or the majority of the Board of Directors of improving the situation within the foreseeable future” (Columbia Mills, 1959, p.2).

Through the forced retirement of F.J. Holland, President of Columbia Mills, in 1952 and through the work of new committee and board members, sales rebounded substantially in 1953.  However, the company failed to see much of a future in the window shade products.

The substitution of paper and unsupported plastics in window shades so deteriorated the market for shade cloth, the company decided in 1953 to discontinue this product line and concentrate on its other cloth finishes.

(“Columbia Mills’ gross business”, 1964, p.20).

Utilizing the capital realized from product sales and the sale of assets, in December of 1953, the company purchased the assets of the Blackburn Products Company, which specialized in simulated leather (Columbia Mills, 1959, p.3). This business was then moved into the Minetto factory.

The following year, under the direction of Maurice Levin, Columbia Mills packaged up their intellectual property for the window shade and Venetian blind business and sold it off to Joanna-Western Mills of Chicago in 1954 (Maclead, 1989, p.8). Along with the sale, the real estate in Saginaw, Michigan was sold and the remaining screen plant moved back to Minetto (Columbia Mills, 1959, p.3). Sales continue to decline, however, and in July of 1955 Maurice Levin resigned as Chairman of the Board (p.3).

Note Signage (Eben Page Collection – Town of Minetto)

To fill the financial void, the company, now under the direction of Thomas L. Kaplin, focused on cloth products like book bindings, covering fabrics and automotive fabrics. By the spring of 1955, Columbia Mills had become one of the largest leading manufacturers of artificial leather, due in party from very large volumes of work going through Chrysler (“Columbia Mills’ gross business”, 1964, Columbia Mills, 1959, p.3).

However, employee numbers began to dwindle down in 1952. Machinery was becoming more and more automated leaving the company to need fewer operators. Demand for hard cover books was also beginning to dwindle and net sales fell to just above the $7 million mark by 1959 (Columbia Mills, 1959, p.4) where it would remain until 1964 (“Columbia Mills’ gross business”, 1964).

Once again in the 1960s, competition for cloth products stiffened and demand dropped. The mill ventured into another line of new products such as folding doors, window screens, aluminum doors, stud guns and storm windows (Maclead, 1989, p.8). Unfortunately, many of these product lines were just not efficient. The markets were not as flexible as anticipated and the overhead of the Minetto location began to take its toll. In an effort to increase international sales, the company purchased a small subsidiary firm in Canada around 1964 (“Columbia Mills’ gross business”, 1964).

Along with the changing times, the evolution our country’s social conscience began to assert prominence. Much more focus was being placed on the toll that manufacturing was having on our environment. Columbia Mills recognized this early on and appeared to be on the forefront of corporate environmental issues. In a ground breaking agreement in 1972, the company president, James A. Reynolds, signed a pollution pact, the first of its kind in New York State, to begin recycling solvent vapors used in the mills’ manufacturing processes (“2 firms sign pollution pact”, 1972). Under the pact, vapors would be captured and returned to their liquid state. The liquid would be shipped to recycling laboratories for processing and returned to Minetto for use in its manufacturing process.

Finally on May 27, 1977, Columbia Mills decided to close the Minetto mill, ending the jobs of the remaining 270 employees (“Columbia to close Minetto mill”, 1977, p.1) and leaving a hugely significant gap in revenues for the town. Officially, the company acknowledged the lack of profitability, excessive overhead costs and a shrinking market for the mill’s products as the reason for closure.

The Cleanup

In November of 1977, Columbia Mills abandoned the Minetto site (Robson, 1981). It remained the property of the Columbia Mills Company of Toledo, Ohio until around 1981, when the county took that land in lieu of over $681,000 in unpaid taxes (D. McGuire, 1982, pp.B1-B2).

In October of 1981, the Columbia Mills site and its 110 acres were sold to Columin Development Corporation of Pulaski based on a Quit Claim deed (D. Dayger, 1982). The buyer indicated potential land use would be used for residential development, including a high rise apartment building that overlooked the park, and debris from the factories would be used to fill the swap area behind the factory (Syracuse Post Standard, 10/17/1981) although the actual details of transaction were not made public and Columin Development was initially acting in a salvaging capacity.

A series of fires since the plant’s closing had left some concerned about potential health problems for the community. “There had been rumors of toxic waste storage either left behind by Columbia Mills or moved there by a third party. Ms. Norfleet [county legislator for Minetto] stated she had gone over the entire property ‘thoroughly with county health officials’ and had found no evidence of toxic material” (A. Robson, 1981).

It was very traumatic to go there and find the windows all broken and the foreman houses bulldozed into the basements.  The streets were kind of abandoned.  I made me very unhappy.  I took you kids to show you where I grew up and it was gone.

(K. Wheeler, Audio Autobiography, 1997)

Many complaints continued to be issued by the citizens of Minetto claiming that hazardous chemicals still remained at the mill site. In August of 1982, DEC representatives revisited the site and claimed “… the wastes appear to pose no imminent health hazard” (D. McGuire, 1982, pp.B1-B2). However, an Environmental Protection Agency representative indicated that abandoned materials were noted in a December visit, “He estimated there were 120 to 150 barrels of undetermined wastes and 600 to 800 50-pound bags of starchy material used during factory operations to stiffen paper” (pp.B1-B2). The Columin Development Corporation still had 6 and a half buildings yet to demolish and the county had decided to wave the back taxes due since Columbia Mills pulled out of the area.

As the salvage operation was winding down, Columin representative Richard Champney offered “to continue the work and seek a buyer for the property. In return he requested that the town and county waive all back taxes and provide him with a clear title to the property” (D. Dayger, 1982). Town representatives reluctantly agreed to the deal, however the company defaulted on their tax payments and property ownership reverted back to a joint agreement with the town and the county (H. Davis, 1984).

The site was plagued with multiple instances of fire and vandalism as the town wrestled with finding another potential buyer and liability concerns arose in lieu of the property’s current state. By April of 1983, a Wolcott-based developer, D.R. Fitzmaurice, announced some interest in the property as a potential development site for a senior citizen’s complex, a shopping mall and a medical center (C. Parker, 1983).

In March of 1984, Oswego County officials ordered another study of the former mills site. This time, however, Calocerinos & Spina Consulting Engineers of Liverpool indicated the “… site contained a large amount of waste in barrels, bags, tanks and the soil, some which was toxic” contradicting the 1982 DEC report (H. Davis, 1984). By this point the estimated cost of cleaning the location escalated to $1.1 million (1984).

1987 – Dump Removal (DiRenna, F., 1987)

Finally in 1986, the Columbia Mills site began to be cleaned. Environmental Technology, Inc. was selected for the job, which ultimately was paid for by Columbia Mills (M. LeBoeuf, 1986). Hazardous materials were gathered in specific areas and sent for further testing. In the mean time, fencing was being installed to secure the area. By October of 1987, the chemicals were finally removed from the site in their entirety (F. DiRenna, 1987).

Since then, the town has taken control of the site. “[Town Supervisor Reuel] Todd stated that he had walked through the entire Columbia Mills site with contractor John Pritchard, and obtained an estimate of $272,500 for the complete demolition and cleanup of the mill. That would be reduced by $81,500 if one building, said to be in good condition, were allowed to remain” (C. Parker, nd).

Based on a couple of visits in July of this year, it appears that this is where the story remains today. Below is a link to some images I captured earlier this year:

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References

2 firms sign pollution pact. (1972, February 20). Syracuse Post Standard, n.p.

(1908). Advertisement.  American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, 26(5), 90. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://books.google.com

Blissert, J. H. (1981, October 17). Columbia Mills site sold. Syracuse Post Standard, p.1.

Blissert, J. H. (1982, August 20). State official at forum on Columbia Mills site. Syracuse Herald Journal, n.p.

Cadwell B. Benson dies suddenly this afternoon. (1915, January 1). Oswego Times, p.10.

Churchill, J. C., Smith, H. P., & Child, W. S. (1895). Alanson Sumner Page. Landmarks of Oswego County, New York (pp. 11-13). Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason & Company.

Columbia Mills department will be shut July 11. (1949). unknown, n.p.

Columbia Mills employees going to offer blood. (1943, June 9). Oswego Palladium Times, n.p.

Columbia Mills exhibit attracts wide attention. (1943, June 17). Oswego Palladium Times, n.p.

Columbia Mills general offices to Syracuse. (1948, November 7). Oswego Palladium Times, n.p.

Columbia Mills Incorporated. (1959, December 22). Financial and operating highlights during its financial crisis and recovery [Report]. Columbia Mills Incorporated.

Columbia Mills’ gross business for 1964 exceeded $7 million. (1964, January 26). Oswego Palladium Times, p.20.

Columbia to close Minetto mill. (1977, April 20). Oswego Palladium Times, p.1.

Davis, H. (1984, July 13). Toxic waste may be at Columbia Mills. Syracuse Herald Journal, n.p.

Dayger, D. (1982, March 11). Board airs questions about Columbia Mills. Valley News, n.p.

DiRenna, F. (1987, October 6). Columbia Mills – cleanup vital step toward return to tax rolls. Valley News, n.p.

Maclead, A. (Director) (1989, August 10). Everything for the windows. Washburn Wisconsin Historical Society. Lecture conducted from Washburn Wisconsin Historical Society, Washburn.

Factory has been pledged 98 percent. (1942, November 5). Syracuse Herald Journal, n.p.

James S. Diment made manager of Columbia Mills. (1941, July 8). Oswego Palladium Times, p.3.

LeBoeuf, M. (1986, January 7). Columbia Mills cleanup begins. Valley News, n.p.

McGuire, D. (1982). Decisions, decisions. Syracuse Post Standard, pp. B1-B2.

(1898). Minetto. n.d. Oswego Daily Times, n.p.

Minetto Fire Department: The history of our department. (n.d.). CNYfire.net. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://www.cnyfire.net/minettofd/History/tabid/515/Default.aspx

Minetto Shade Cloth Plant One of Great Industries of Country. (1907, November 17). Oswego Daily Times, n.p.

(1908, May 20). Minetto Shade Cloth plant passed into hands of Columbia Shade Cloth Company this afternoon. Oswego Daily Times, p.1.

(1905). Minetto Shade-Cloth Company Will Now Sell Direct. American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, 23(3), 68.

(1908). New shade cloth addition at Minetto. American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, 26(7), 64. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://books.google.com

(1908). Not afraid of the anti-trust law. American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, 26(6), 64. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://books.google.com

Parker, C. (1983, April 21). Negotiations begin on Columbia Mills site. Valley News, n.p.

Parker, C. (n.d.). Town officials undecided as mills deadline nears. Valley News, n.p.

(1905). Recently withdrawn from the big combine known as Columbia Shade-Cloth Company. American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, 23(4), 79.

Robson, A. (1981, October 20). Columbia Mills: Minetto eyesore coming down!. unknown, n.p.

Sanborn Map Company. Columbia Mills Inc. Minetto plant, inetto, New York [map]. 1:150′. 1923.

Town of Minetto known for its fine hostelries. (1976, July 1). Oswego Palladium Times, p.12A.

Town of Minetto, Oswego County, NY. (n.d.). RootsWeb.com Home Page. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyoswego/towns/minetto/index.html

3 COMMENTS

  1. Your article contains a picture of my great grandfather Harry Rodgers’ home on Crown St. He was the Company fire chief in the 1920’s. Thank you so much for this unexpected find.

  2. This is wonderful (found on random search) tho I have not read it yet! My dad worked at the mill for 20+ years and retirement funds were embezzled (?) He is turning 80 this year and gets like $28.00 / month from all those hard years of work and surviving three heart attacks too !

  3. I was born in Fulton in 1955 and lived in Minetto for 17 years attending Minetto School and OCHS in Highschool. I have fond memories of the town and in particular Columbia Mills which was the heartbeat of that community until we moved in 1974. Thank you for all the photos and bringing back fond memories of a Huck Finn Childhood…Barrel rafting on the Mill Ponds and Bullfrog hunting…wild strawberry picking along the tracks, and running out to the Mainline to see Freight cars switched for the factory, getting the engineer for the Mill Switcher to blow his horn as he went by is epic. Thank you very much!

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