National Geographic : 1951 Jan
Manchester Mills Tell the Story of the City That Refused to Die Begun in 1810, the Amos keag Manufacturing Company became the world's largest gingham mill. Soon after World War I silk and rayon captured the market and women refused to wear ging ham. Amoskeag failed to con vert. Then labor troubles de veloped. Finally, the market crash and depression finished off the company. Manchester, New Hamp shire, thousands of its wage earners out of jobs, faced ruin. A citizens' committee, raising funds, bought the enormous property, split it into smaller enterprises, and saved the city's economy (page 116). Today some 120 businesses occupy floor space in the old buildings. They make every thing from soup to worsteds. Rayon, too, has now come to Manchester. This air view shows the enormous mills stretching out of sight along the Merrimack. Canals that formerly brought water power still thread be tween the plants, but electric current is now more impor tant. Quadrangles of com pany dwellings (right) today are private housing. In pioneer times Amoskeag Falls (out of the picture at upper left) drew throngs of Indians and settlers every spring to spear or net salmon, shad, sturgeon, alewives, and lampreys. Dams and pollu tion long ago drove migratory fish from most of the river.