Located on the east bank of Royal River's "Third Falls," Yarmouth Paper Company operated from 1865 to 1870, when it burned to the ground.
In 1872, the wooden buildings shown in the photograph were erected and began producing soda pulp for paper production. It was the first mill of its kind in New England.
When G.W. Hammond and S.D. Warren purchased the mill in 1874, they renamed the operation Forest Paper Company and quickly began the construction of new, modern brick buildings to keep up with the rapidly changing times.
Soon, the majority of the structures on Forest Paper Company's 10 acres of property were constructed of brick and these wooden buildings were put out of commission or torn down.
The soda process, invented in 1854, used poplar wood, pre-barked and shipped in four-foot long logs. They were then sliced into small chips, cleaned, and put into large digesters that pressure-cooked the chips.
Once the digesters were full, soda or lye was put in at high heat to reduce the chips to pulp.
The pulp was then strained or dried and sent off to papermakers all over the world. Yarmouth's Forest Paper Company soon became famous for its quality product.
The production of soda pulp required many steps and procedures, not to mention vast amounts of chemicals. Many of these steps produced byproducts.
These Forest Paper Co. employees were in charge of the massive boiler room that heated large furnaces dealing with such byproducts.
In this case dissolved wood components called "black liquor" were boiled down and evaporated until it was the consistency of molasses then burned at high temperatures until it turned into "black ash" eventually used as landfill in Yarmouth.
The spur tracks laid down below these men's feet allowed the transportation of wood as well as black ash from one building to another at the Forest Paper Co.
Judging by the state of their clothing, these men were likely assigned the task of managing black ash, which was a byproduct of pulp production.
Machine room workers, Forest Paper Co., Yarmouth, ca. 1900
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Yarmouth Historical Society
By 1911, Yarmouth's Forest Paper Co. was the largest mill of its kind in the world. Producing nearly 80 tons of pulp per day, the company made a lasting reputation for its quality product and shipped pulp to foreign countries like Mexico, England, and Japan.
The pulp could be shipped out either as heavy wet material or as pressed dried rolls to be used in the production of paper.
The machine room that these men worked in was designed to produce the large pressed and dried rolls of soda fiber.
When the mill closed in 1923 some of this equipment was moved to other mill locations, but a lot of it was scrapped.
The mass amounts of poplar wood and the rail cars that dropped it all off sit idle for a moment so these 28 workers at the Forest Paper Co. could pose for a photograph.
During the Yarmouth mill's most prosperous years, the company employed upwards of 250 men and had a payroll of $150,000.
According to an employee's hour/day book the typical wage for a day's work between 1903 and 1910 was $1.50 per 8-hour day, or 18.75 cents per hour.
After the turn of the century, Forest Paper Co. took about 35,000 cords of poplar wood from these mountains, later to be used for pulp production.
Sitting between the Royal River and East Elm Street, trestles and tracks were built to transport the four-foot logs to the mill.
The Grand Trunk Railroad was essential in establishing a shipping and receiving facility on site.
Forest Paper Company's office employees focused on the planning that was required to keep Yarmouth's paper mill on its feet.
Pictured are, standing, from left, Frederic E. Gore, chemist; Raoul Gerourd, electrician; A.H. Thomsley, draftsman; and Frederic A. True, paymaster.
Seated, from left, are Edgar H. Wilson, bookkeeper; George W. Hammond, agent; and William Merrill, script.
View of Royal River, Forest Paper Co., Yarmouth, ca. 1900
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Yarmouth Historical Society
When George W. Hammond put a stake in the Forest Paper Company, he invested more and more each year to keep up with the rapidly growing industrial fever.
Every month or so a new office or chimney was being constructed, like these on the West bank of the Royal River. Bridges and spur tracks for the Grand Trunk railroad or company trolleys sprawled the 10 acres of property that the Forest Paper Company held in Yarmouth.
Before the mill closed in 1923, there were 10 buildings on the riverside property.
Forest Paper Company Chimney Construction, Yarmouth, ca. 1900
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Yarmouth Historical Society
As Forest Paper Company's business increased, a need for faster production and larger quantities emerged and the plant expanded.
During the late nineteenth century, Yarmouth's meetinghouse steeple and Forest Paper Company's chimneys were seen from miles around, serving as navigational landmarks.
The need to renovate old structures and construct new ones within Forest Paper Company's 10 acres proved to be endless.
A shift from waterpower to steam, and then to electricity made new equipment and facilities necessary.
The men pictured, holding saws, hammers, and levels, may have been part of the construction crew at Yarmouth's largest mill.
Among the group are William Greely, John Coombs, and Edward Humphrey.
Charles Gustavus Gooding, a native of Yarmouth, and a talented photographer, took this photo of the mill that shows the mountains of poplar logs to the left and the Royal River to the right.
Gooding made a reputation as a photographer by 1861, specializing in all types of photography, including landscapes photos like this one.
Pulp production continued strong summer and winter of the 51 years of Forest Paper Company's existence.
Production at the Forest Paper Co. was constant. Employees worked on rotating shifts, with work continuing 24 hours a day.
Forest Paper Co. dumped large quantities of byproducts -- especially black ash -- into the Royal River. It became clear that a better disposal system was necessary for the waste.
At the turn of the 20th century, Forest Paper Co. acquired land known as Shaw's Grove, where it began depositing most of the black ash waste.
In some spots, like this one, the black ash is over 20 feet deep.
Brickyard Hollow in Yarmouth, where the library stands, is a former swamp that was filled with black ash.
In 1923, after 51 years of operation, Forest Paper Co. closed due to new, more efficient paper production methods.
Five years later, the president of Yarmouth's Chamber of Commerce, Walter E. Fels, brought hopes of the American Industrial Co. occupying the old mill location. The Philadelphia-based company was supposed to employ 70 men and produce folding boxes and heavy, stiff cardboard boxes, but the plan was never put into effect.
In 1931, three years after the mill was expected to reopen, nearly all of the mill's buildings burned, erasing its silhouette from this landscape.
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