National Geographic : 1951 Jan
116 Fingers Reweave Errors of Mechanical Looms: Pacific Mills, Lawrence, Massachusetts Fluorescent tubes lit this sewing room so brilliantly that the photographer took the picture without auxiliary lighting. These highly skilled operators, catching up threads, make invisible repairs. Americans in the War of 1812, retaken by the Americans later in the same war, and turned over to the New Boston Artillery Company (page 135). This company now meets once a year, and exists to protect and preserve the cannon. Its captain told me he had fired it on V-E Day. Valley Towns Once Indian Settlements All the larger communities in the Merri mack Valley are imposed on Indian villages or fishing stations, the more important ones near falls in the river. It is estimated that eight to ten thousand Indians lived in the val ley prior to the smallpox epidemics of the early 17th century. They and the white set tlers who displaced them depended to a large extent for food upon fish caught at the falls. As late as 1760 2,500 "odd shad fish" were "caught out of the River Merrimack" in a sin gle draught, according to a local newspaper. An early name for what is now Manchester was Derryfield, and it was said that at one time enough lampreys, known as "Derryfield beef," were salted down in a single season to equal 300 head of cattle. But as the various falls on the Merrimack were turned to the use of industry, alewives, eels, shad, and salmon disappeared. At Manchester we begin to encounter those giant mills that have so long characterized the lower reaches of the river valley. On both sides of the river for one and a half miles are several score mill buildings, often several rows deep (page 111). Until its col lapse in 1936, these were owned and operated by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, at one time the largest textile plant in one concentration in the world. Entirely aside from its manufacturing plants, the company owned $2,000,000 of as sessed property, including 721 tenements. It owned water rights far up the river, a steam system, a power system, and a water system.