Alvah Crocker visits the area. The initial stages of an Industrial Community

Alvah Crocker, (1801-1874) prominent railroad man and paper-maker from Fitchburg, MA, ventured to our area in 1864 to view the falls and the non-operational barge canal. His thoughts quickly turned to establishing a manufacturing city like those of Lawrence, Lowell and Holyoke, MA. These cities were prosperous and “grew-up” prior to the Civil War when investors and capital were abundant.

Crocker was not so fortunate as his plans are post-Civil War. The capital was not as easily attained following the war. However, undaunted, he met with men of wealth and foresight and moved forward with his scheme to attract industry to the area by offering inexpensive hydropower that was made by harnessing a portion of the Connecticut River.

Beginning in 1866, the construction of a dam at the falls and the reintegration of the old barge canal would channel the river flow to future mill sites along the bedrock spine that divides the Connecticut River and the soon-to-be “improved” canal, Crocker and his band of capitalists moved forward.

His development concept was to sell mill sites along the power canal to potential and targeted companies and to sell building lots to those who would come to labor in the mills.

The dam construction begins in 1866 along with the canal lengthening and widening. The canal improvements are completed in 1916.

Alvah Crocker click HERE to learn more.

From the (Greenfield) Gazette & Courier.
May 9, 1870.