Extracts from a Recent Account by a Reporter for the Baltimore Sun.
From all indications, Harper’s Ferry, after lying as dead for twenty-five years, will have its old time prosperity returned to it, and in a few years will be more prosperous than ever.
When in operation the mills will be owned and managed by a company of three men, who are Messrs. Thos. H. Savery, president, John F. Quigley, vice-president & general manager, and Wm. Luke, secretary and treasurer. Mr. Wm. A. Luke is the superintendent. All of these men are practical paper mill men, and understand the business thoroughly.
The property on the Potomac owned by the same people is even more valuable than that on the Shenandoah. Draughtsmen are at work on plans for building a pulp mill of the same size and capacity of the one nearing completion on the Shenandoah, and also an immense six-machine paper mill, it being the intention of the gentlemen interested to use the product of both these pulp mills in the manufacture of paper. It is estimated that the cost of the entire plant when finished will be between $800,000 and $1,000,000, and in the opinion of experts; will be the finest and most valuable of its kind in the United States, with the exception of the one at Holyoke, Mass., where it cost $4,000,000 to develop the water power alone.
The Shenandoah river is dammed at a point one mile above the mill by a cribwork dam, 18 feet wide and 1300 feet long, which, running diagonally across the river, turns the water into the canal, or headrace, which, running down to the mill, forms a lovely lake, in some places over 300 feet wide, which has very little current. The lake will be used for boating, and will be called Lake Quigley, in honor of Mr. John F. Quigley, the designer and constructor of the mill, and general manager.
The company has contracted with Hon. Henry G. Davis for its supply of spruce and poplar wood, which will come from points along the line of the West Virginia Central Railroad. It will be delivered in four feet logs somewhere along the river, and will be floated down to the mill, going under the main floor, to which it will be elevated by an endless chain belt. When the wood has gone through the various processes for reducing it to pulp; this pulp will be elevated to the main floors by fan pumps, where it will be screened, and afterward made in bundles of 100 pounds each for shipment. It has been and will be the policy of the company to make its purchases in West Virginia, and employ the peole of Harper’s Ferry as far is possible, which, even in the short time since operations have been in progress, has resulted in producing a marked change in the appearance of the town.
Harper’s Ferry, that pretty little town, so picturesquely situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers; and in the basin formed by the Maryland, Loudon, and Bolivar Heights, was before the civil war a happy, busy manufacturing town, but since has been practically a dead one. New life, however, has been infused into it by the erection of a pulp mill near the site of the old United States rifle factory, on the Shenandoah, and in the spring of 1888 will be further enlivened by the erection of an immense six-machine paper mill, in addition to another pulp mill near the site of the former United States musket factory, on the Potomac. In 1794 the Government of the United States bought the property for almost nothing, and in 1795 spent millions in improving it by the establishment of an arsenal for the manufacture of small arms, which were used extensively in the war of 1812-14. The development of the water power alone cost $376,000
The town was amongst the first to feel the effects of the late war, and was alternately captured and held by troops of both armies, and was almost ruined by them. The rifle and musket factories, upon which depended the prosperity of the place, shut down and afterwards were entirely abandoned.
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