Cotton Memory

New Hampshire's Amoskeag Mills

A giant of American cotton manufacturing, the Amoskeag Mills of Manchester, New Hampshire were founded in 1809 on the banks of the powerful Merrimack River. By World War I the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company was the largest textile company in the world, employing over 17,000 people across 30 buildings. They turned out 50 miles of cloth an hour. Unrivaled in its quality and quantity of product, Amoskeag introduced the manufacture of gingham to the United States and wove such American icons as the denim for Levi Strauss & Co. Employer of countless immigrants, by 1916 there were 28 languages spoken among its workforce. During the Great Depression the company experienced growing losses. In 1936, the Merrimack overflowed its banks and flooding did extensive damage to the mills. In December of that year, Amoskeag Manufacturing Company went bankrupt and closed. Some of the Amoskeag mills continued operation under the ownership of other companies. In 1975, they wove their last yard of cotton.

To see the remaining Amoskeag buildings as they look today, take a look at this 2015 video of a drive through the millyard:

Images (clockwise from upper left): Amoskeag workers gathered in millyard, ca.1880, from the collection of the Manchester Historic Association, Manchester, NH, via Wikimedia Commons; Amoskeag Millyard and Merrimack River, 1911 postcard from panorama photograph taken in 1903 by Alphonso H. Sanborn, from Wikimedia; Weave Room Workers, Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, from a ca.1910 postcard, posted by New Hampshire Public Radio ; Video, Drive through Amoskeag Millyard, 2015, by Paul Cormier, on Retro Spectrum, YouTube; Cotton laundry, .

Posted on July 15, 2016 .