Amoskeag Manufacturing Company

Amoskeag, or Namaskeak, is said to mean “great fishing place.” It was hereabouts that the Sachem Wannalancet resided. Tradition says that his tribe, when at war with the Mohawks, concealed their provisions in the cavities of the rocks in the upper part of these falls.

Henry David Thoreau

The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company was a textile manufacturer which founded Manchester, New Hampshire. From modest beginnings in near wilderness, it grew throughout the 19th century into the largest cotton textile plant in the world. At its peak, Amoskeag was unrivaled both for the quality and quantity of its products. But with great size came an inability to adapt. In the early 20th century, the business failed in changing economic and social conditions.

In May 1807, Samuel Blodget completed a canal and lock system beside the Merrimack River at Derryfield. His enterprise allowed boats traveling between Concord and Nashua to bypass Amoskeag Falls, opening the region to development. Blodget envisioned here “the Manchester of America,” a water-powered textile center comparable to the Industrial Revolution English city he had recently visited. The name stuck, and in 1810 Derryfield was changed to Manchester. That same year, Benjamin Prichard and others incorporated the Amoskeag Cotton & Woolen Manufacturing Company. 

 Amoskeag Manufacturing Company entry in Wikipedia

Aspiring along the Merrimack

Social Media Documentary

Manchester, New Hampshire sits at a place in the Merrimack River where there are falls and rapids. This part of the river had supported native peoples for some thousands of years. In the late eighteenth century, Samuel Blodgett had the dream of building a canal and transforming the small village of Derryfield into a mill city that might rival Manchester, England. In rather short order – not without setbacks and false steps – mills began to spring up. Before the mid-century mark Henry David Thoreau would travel through the new Manchester and describe bugeoning mills and city life. One consequence of prosperity was the founding of a public library in 1854.

Our aim within the Amoskeag Triptych project is to examine and present the interweavings of the river, the mills, and the library – the sense of place and space. There exist already numerous resources on the mills and the library, the native people and the immigrants, the marvelous and the sad entwined in such growth and change. We provide ways of gathering together images and stories, of documenting people and place, affording mechanisms for thick description.

Within this small testbed we currently have a few images and a few videos as test pieces. They are not presented as complete pieces.

Merrimack River

The Merrimack, or Sturgeon River, is formed by the confluence of the Pemigewasset, which rises near the Notch of the White Mountains, and the Winnipiseogee, which drains the lake of the same name, signifying “The Smile of the Great Spirit.” From their junction it runs south seventy-eight miles to Massachusetts, and thence east thirty-five miles to the sea. I have traced its stream from where it bubbles out of the rocks of the White Mountains above the clouds, to where it is lost amid the salt billows of the ocean on Plum Island beach.

Henry David Thoreau