200 Years of Paper Making

Papermaking has been the economic backbone of Lee, Massachusetts, as well as other towns along the Housatonic River, for more than 200 years. At one time, there were 25 paper mills in Lee.

The first successful American paper from wood pulp was made here, along with many other industry firsts. In 2008, Schweitzer Mauduit, the largest local employer of paper makers, closed the doors of its four Lee mills, and Mead Westvaco closed one, leaving only one mill running. It is still running.

The Eagle Mill on the Housatonic River in Lee, Mass. The mill closed in 2008, after making paper for more than 200 years.

Archeology of the Eagle Mill

Over its 200 year life, as the technology of paper making changed, so did the Eagle Mill site on the banks of the Housatonic. Below, the evolution of the building complex is revealed in 9 phases, each displayed in a different color, in general progressing from West to East.

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19th Century Paper Making

Workman standing next to coal fired boiler used to make steam for the paper machine.