Erving — Industries
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
Manufacturing is the chief interest of the town, and in this department the most important enterprise is carried on at Miller's Falls by the Miller's Falls Company, controlled principally by Greenfield capitalists. The works, which are extensive, are located on Miller's River, opposite Miller's Falls village, in Montague and employ about 150 hands in the manufacture of saws and small hardware of various descriptions, brace-bits being a special feature. The company was organized in 1868, and the location of the manufactory at Miller's Falls in that year gave that locality its first substantial growth. The capital invested in buildings and stock aggregates $185,000. The fine water-power gained at this point from Miller's Falls is controlled by the Miller's Falls Company, whose dam and canal were constructed in 1868. There are numerous advantageous mill-sites, and in time they will doubt less attract in no small degree the attention of manufacturers and capitalists.
Messrs. J. E. Stone & Sons are engaged to a considerable extent in the manufacture of piano-cases, piano-legs, and billiard-table legs and frames on Miller's River, about a mile east of Erving village Their works occupy ground in both Erving and Wendell, the dividing line being the river. They give employment to 40 persons, and have about $75.000 invested in the enterprise. The firm of J. E. Stone & Sons continues the business originated by Washburn, Stone & Co. upon the same site in 1851.
Wm. B. Washburn & Co., employing 15 men and a capital of $100,000, have been engaged at Erving Centre since 1850 in the manufacture of lumber, door-sash, pails; etc., of which they produce yearly wares to the value of $20,000. At the same point Washburn,* Eddy & Co., organized in 1859, having a capital of $10,000, and employing 15 men, manufacture annually about $20,000 worth of sash and doors.
The Wasburn and Heywood Chair Cornpany, organized in 1870 with a capital of $40,000, manufacture annually the value of $50,000 cane- and wood-seat chairs. Seventy-five men find employment in this establishment, which has been since its foundation the most important industry at Erving Centre, Noah Rankin has been engaged at Erving village since 1860 in manufacturing chairs. He employs 15 men, and produces $25,000 worth of chairs annually.
The agricultural interests of Erving are not very important. Tobacco and small grains are grown to a limited extent; and grazing-lands provide for the production of considerable butter and the raising of stock, to which pursuits the agriculturists are chiefly devoted. The farms numbered 42 in 1875, the dwelling-houses 155, and the taxable acres in 1878 amounted to 8811.
The total assessed valuation of the town is $289,128, of which $55,887 is personal and $233,241 real estate. The total tax is $7700.50, or at the rate of about .026. The State census of 1875 reports the value of manufactured products in Erving for that year at $272,145, and the capital employed therein at $292,225. The same report gives the value of agricultural products for that year as $34,210.
There are several saw-mills in the town, and the manufacture of lumber, as well as of railroad-ties and telegraph-poles, is carried on to a considerable extent.
* Ex-Gov. W. B. Washburn, of Greenfield.